(CBS New York/CBS Local) — The New York Jets open up their season at home against the AFC East rival Buffalo Bills. It will be a matchup of second-year quarterbacks — Sam Darnold for the Jets and Josh Allen for the Bills. Selected early in last year’s draft, both players have had a year to mature. Each showed promise in the rookie season, and each faces higher expectations this season, as their teams add pieces to create winners.
“This matchup and this year, I think we’re going to see great things,” according to Larry Hartstein, senior analyst at SportsLine. “These are great young talents that are going to continue to develop.”
The Jets will trot out an amped-up offense that includes former Pittsburgh Steelers running back La’Veon Bell and ex-Washington Redskins receiver Jamison Crowder. The Bills’ weapons now include receiver Cole Beasley from the Dallas Cowboys and John Brown from the Baltimore Ravens.
While the Jets added more firepower to their offense, they will also have to face a tougher defensive unit. “The key to this game is the Buffalo defense, as Hartstein sees it. “Ten out of 11 starters returning. The only guy missing, they replaced with a number nine-overall pick.”
That pick was Ed Oliver, the rookie defensive tackle out of Houston, who is strong and fast enough to make some noise in the middle of the line. He will slide into a defense that’s been playing together for awhile now and looks poised to take the next step. He showed flashes in the preseason and should fit in nicely as the season progresses. “This is their third year in the same system,” says Hartstein. “I think this is going to be a real big game for the Buffalo D.”
Darnold and the Jets, slightly favored, as the oddsmakers see it, have their work cut out for them in Week 1.
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