After more than seven months of waiting, the NFL is back for what promises to be another thrilling season.
The action kicked off on Thursday with a shock win for the Detroit Lions over the Kansas City Chiefs and continued on Sunday with a full slate of contests across the league.
Thirty teams have taken the field, but one of the most highly anticipated Week 1 matchups hasn’t happened yet.
On Monday night, future Hall of Famer Aaron Rodgers will make his New York Jets debut against divisional rival and AFC East juggernaut Buffalo Bills.
Bills vs. Jets date, start time, location
Monday, September 11, 8:15 p.m. ET.
MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey
How to watch
In the US, you can watch Monday night’s game on ESPN, ABC, ESPN+ or ESPN2. Coverage of games all season will be shown on the NFL’s ‘NFL+’ platform. Fans outside of the US can also follow the action via the NFL’s Game Pass on DAZN.
Rodgers’ first time in ‘Gotham Green’
Aaron Rodgers’ New York Jets career fittingly begins under the lights. Fresh off the docuseries “Hard Knocks” and a buzz-worthy offseason, all eyes will be on Rodgers as he begins a new era wearing a slightly different shade of green.
This offseason, the veteran quarterback was traded to the Jets after spending 18 seasons with the Green Bay Packers, the team which originally drafted him. At 39, the four-time NFL MVP brings a wealth of experience to this new-look Jets team. However, it’s widely accepted that Rodgers’ best days are in the rearview.
Last season, he threw for 3,695 yards, 26 touchdowns, and 12 interceptions, and set career lows in quarterback rating (41.3) and passer rating (91.1).
In his best season (2011), Rodgers threw for 4,643 yards, 45 touchdowns and just six interceptions with a 122.5 passer rating. He led the league in nearly every offensive category, winning the Super Bowl and his first MVP award after a nearly perfect season.
Regardless of Rodgers’ decreased numbers, fans hope his arrival will usher a new and improved edition of Jets football. The team finished the 2022 season with a poor 7-10 record and a fourth-place finish in the division, missing the postseason for the 12th year in a row. Will Rodgers be the one to turn things around?
Bills seek another winning season
While the Jets are looking to end a 12-year playoff drought, the Bills are looking to win the division for the fourth straight season.
The team is among the Super Bowl favorites again this year, coming off an excellent 2022 campaign that ended with a disappointing loss to the Cincinnati Bengals in the divisional round.
On Monday, the Josh Allen-led squad is tasked with spoiling Rodgers’ debut and setting the tone in the AFC East.
It’s worth noting that a Monday night brawl could be the perfect time to do so, considering Allen’s winning history on the primetime stage. He’s won 11 out of his 14 games in the primetime window, and three of five on Monday night.
In those five Monday night games, he averaged 302 passing yards per game and a 119.7 passer rating, and threw 16 passing touchdowns to just a single interception. If history repeats itself, Bills fans can count on Allen to rise to the occasion.
Hamlin’s return to play
Monday’s opener also marks Bills safety Damar Hamlin’s return to regular season football after suffering a cardiac arrest on the field in January.
The 25-year-old collapsed after making a tackle, taking a shot to the head and chest area. Medical professionals performed CPR on Hamlin when he lost his pulse and he needed to be revived through resuscitation and defibrillation. He was on a ventilator for days and spent over a week in a Cincinnati hospital.
It was later determined that Hamlin’s cardiac arrest was caused by commotio cordis, which can occur when severe trauma to the chest disrupts the heart’s electrical charge and causes dangerous fibrillations (or abnormal heartbeats). He was fully cleared to resume football activities in April, and by August was a full participant in preseason contests.
Hamlin’s inspirational journey captured the attention of sports fans across the world, and his celebrated return on Monday will surely be met with emotion and admiration from fans of both sides.