|First meeting||September 11, 1960|
Titans 27, Bills 3
|Latest meeting||October 25, 2020|
Bills 18, Jets 10
|All-time series||Bills, 65–56|
|Postseason results||Bills, 1–0 |
(1981 AFC Wild Card)
|Largest victory||Jets: 42–3 (1979)|
Bills: 37–0 (1989)
|Longest win streak||Bills: 10 (1987–92)|
Jets: 6 (2009–12)
|Current win streak||Bills, 2|
|Locations of the Buffalo Bills and New York Jets|
The Bills–Jets rivalry is a rivalry between the Buffalo Bills and New York Jets in the National Football League. Both of these teams play in the same division (AFC East) and as a result, play two scheduled games each season. Both represent the same state, New York, with the Bills having their primary fan base in Upstate New York, and the Jets in the New York City area.
This rivalry is fueled primarily by the differences between New York City and the rest of New York State, but also by the Bills being the only team physically located in New York due to the Jets and their NFC counterparts the Giants playing their games in the New Jersey suburbs of New York City. However, the two teams have rarely been successful at the same time, and as such, their rivalry usually lacks the intensity that is present in other rivalries, such as the Bills' rivalry with the Dolphins and the Jets' with the Patriots. There have only been four seasons in which both the Bills and Jets finished with winning records. Regardless, the two teams share a bond due to this seeming inability to field winning teams simultaneously, having been the two NFL teams coached by Rex Ryan, and their long histories playing twice yearly against one another going back to the first days of the AFL.
The Bills lead the overall series, 65–56. The Bills also won the only postseason meeting, defeating the Jets 31–27 in the 1981 AFC Wild Card round.
1960–99: Early History
There were a handful of memorable games in the early history of this rivalry. During the Jets' Super Bowl winning year in 1968, the Bills defense intercepted Joe Namath five times, including three pick-sixes, as Buffalo upset the Jets 37–35 for its only win that year. In 1973, O.J. Simpson eclipsed Jim Brown's rushing yards record to surpass 2,000 yards in a 34–6 Bills win. Eight years later, the teams played their only playoff game together. In the 1981 AFC Wild Card game, the Bills had a 24–0 lead early in the game, but the Jets came back, cutting their deficit to 31–24. A late game interception of Richard Todd sealed the win for the Bills, however.
In the quarterback-rich 1983 NFL draft, the Bills selected quarterback Jim Kelly whereas the Jets famously passed on Dan Marino in favor of Ken O'Brien. This led to a period of dominance by the Kelly-led Bills over the Jets in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
The Jets and Bills played two regular season games with playoff implications in the 1990s. The 1993 season saw the Jets failing to secure a playoff berth by losing a game to the Bills via three missed field goals. In 1998, the Jets secured their first ever AFC East division title by beating the Bills.
As the 2000s approached, Buffalo collapsed from a perennial Super Bowl contender to one of the worst teams in the league, while the Jets maintained a level of success, making the playoffs 5 times despite a period of dominance by the Tom Brady-led New England Patriots. However, the Bills finally ended their league-leading playoff drought in 2017, while the Jets have yet to return to the playoffs since last qualifying in 2010.
In 2008, the Bills were coming off a 5–1 start, but lost 8 of their remaining ten games to finish 7–9 and out of the playoffs. Two of those losses came against the Jets; the latter included a J. P. Losman fumble returned for the Jets' game-winning touchdown as the Bills were trying to run out the clock.
In 2009, Mark Sanchez threw 5 interceptions to the Bills defense, losing a game in overtime for the Jets in which they rushed for 318 yards. Later that year, the Jets rematched the Bills in Toronto as part of the Bills Toronto Series, in which the Jets avenged their loss with a 19–13 win that kept their playoff hopes alive.
During the 2013 NFL draft, the Bills and Jets once again selected quarterbacks with their early picks. EJ Manuel was picked by Buffalo in the first round while Geno Smith was chosen in the second round by the Jets. Ultimately, neither quarterback panned out and both were gone from their teams after 2016.
The 2015 offseason saw some notable personnel swaps between the teams. On January 12, Rex Ryan was hired as the head coach of the Bills. Ryan had spent the previous six seasons as the head coach of the Jets. In addition, the Jets hired former Bills head coach Chan Gailey as their offensive coordinator and traded for former Bills starting quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick who later became their own starter. The Bills also added former Jets Percy Harvin and IK Enemkpali, the latter one day after he was released for breaking Geno Smith's jaw in a locker room altercation. The Bills won both games in 2015, knocking the Jets out of playoff contention with their second win. Tensions arose during the first game on Thursday Night Football when both teams were still in the hunt for a playoff spot, especially after Ryan made Enemkpali a team captain for that game.
2018–present: Sam Darnold vs. Josh Allen
In the 2018 NFL Draft, the Bills and Jets each traded up in order to select a highly touted quarterback. This resulted in Sam Darnold landing with the Jets 3rd overall and Josh Allen being selected by the Bills 7th overall. Allen and Darnold met on the field for the first time as rivals on December 9, 2018, with both having missed the first Bills–Jets match-up that year due to injury. The Bills jumped to an early 14–3 lead under Allen, but the Jets fought back with good special teams play to set up short fields and tied the game at 20 by the fourth quarter. After the Bills scored a field goal to retake the lead with just over two minutes to go, Darnold led a game-winning drive for the Jets, including a 37-yard pass to Robby Anderson to set up the go-ahead touchdown run by Elijah McGuire.
On September 8, 2019, the Bills overcame a 16–0 third quarter deficit and four turnovers to beat the Jets 17–16 at MetLife Stadium on opening day of the season. The Jets unraveled after losing linebacker C. J. Mosley to injury and were also hampered by ineffective placekicking from Kaare Vedvik. The momentum would carry over as Buffalo wound up making the playoffs while New York was unable to overcome a 1–7 start, despite both teams being expected to be competitive that year. Having clinched a playoff spot by then, the Bills rested several starters during the week 17 rematch, which the Jets won 13–6.
The second Bills–Jets matchup of the 2020 season was noteworthy as the then-winless Jets held a potent Bills offense out of the endzone, but Buffalo still prevailed 18–10 thanks to six field goals by rookie kicker Tyler Bass. Not only did the Bills sweep the yearly series, but the franchises had nearly exact opposite years with the Bills finishing 13–3 but the Jets just 2–14 to begin the new decade, continuing a long tradition of the two teams being unable to be simultaneously successful. Allen had his best season thus far with a 107.2 passer rating and 37 touchdowns, while Darnold had his worst with a 72.7 rating and just 9 touchdowns in 12 games.
Bills RB O. J. Simpson rushing against Jets in 1973
Bills RB Joe Cribbs runs against Jets in 1981 Wild Card game
Jets RB Thomas Jones runs for a long touchdown against Bills in 2009
|Buffalo Bills vs. New York Jets Season-by-Season Results|
1960s (Bills, 11–9)
1970s (Tie, 10–10)
1980s (Bills, 10–9)
1990s (Bills, 14–6)
2000s (Jets, 11–9)
2010s (Jets, 11–9)
2020s (Bills, 2–0)
Summary of Results
Connections between the teams
The most notable connection between the Bills and Jets has been Rex Ryan, who carried over many of his staff from the Jets when he was hired as the Bills' head coach.
|Name||Position(s)||Years on Bills||Years on Jets|
|Rex Ryan||Head coach||2015–16||2009–14|
|Mike Pettine||Defensive coordinator||2013||2009–2012|
|David Lee||Quarterbacks coach||2012, 2015–16||2013-14|
|Chan Gailey||Head coach/Offensive coordinator||2010–2012||2015–2016|
|Anthony Lynn||Running backs coach/Offensive coordinator||2015–16||2009–14|
|Dennis Thurman||Defensive backs coach/Defensive coordinator||2015–16||2008–14|
|Rick Dennison||Offensive coordinator/Offensive line coach||2017||2018|
|Gregg Williams||Head coach/Defensive coordinator||2001–2003||2019–2020|
Several players have been members of both teams during their careers, including:
|Name||Position(s)||Years on Bills||Years on Jets|
|Brad Smith||Wide receiver/Kickoff returner||2011–13||2006–10|
|Aaron Maybin||Linebacker/Defensive end||2009–10||2011–12|
|David Nelson||Wide receiver||2010–12||2013–14|
|Percy Harvin||Wide receiver||2015–16||2014|
|Andre Roberts||Wide receiver/kick returner||2019–present||2018|
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