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How Can the Jets Slow Down Bills' Stefon Diggs?

Jets Country on FanNation logo Jets Country on FanNation 12/8/2022 Daniel Kelly
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After facing Justin Jefferson last week, things won't get any easier for New York's defensive backs this time around against Stefon Diggs

Last week New York got the second-leading receiver in the NFL, Minnesota's Justin Jefferson, and this week they go up against the league's third-leading receiver, Buffalo's Stefon Diggs. 

That's not all these two receivers have in common either. 

They were in essence traded for each other too. 

Once upon a time Diggs was part of the famed "Minneapolis Miracle." This was the 27-yard throw from then Vikings' quarterback Case Keenum to Diggs, which he took the rest of the way as time expired beating the Saints in the playoffs back in 2018. 

I still hear about that play from my 14-year old son Nathan, who is a big Minnesota fan and was a big fan of Diggs, back when he played there. 

Diggs was traded to Buffalo a little over two years later in the spring of 2020 for the first-round pick Minnesota then used to select Jefferson in the draft that year. 

Since being with the Bills, Diggs has been the team's leading and go-to receiver and he's never looked back. 

Now, the Jets must face this red-hot gamebreaker again after these two teams faced each other a little over a month ago on November 6. 

In that game, the Jets held Diggs in check, after he caught a big opening play 42-yard pass from Bills' quarterback Josh Allen.

It was on that play Diggs gave Jets' rookie cornerback Ahmad Gardner a couple quick "Welcome to the NFL moves," before taking off down the sideline and making the catch.

All told that day, Diggs ended up with 5 receptions for 93 yards and no touchdowns, which was a pedestrian type day for him and ended up being his third-lowest catch total on the season. 

Good job Jets defense. 

Now, New York will need to do it again if they have any hopes of going into Highmark Stadium in Buffalo and pulling out a win against the AFC East leaders. 

What's the best way of stopping Diggs?

That's not possible. 

What's the best way of slowing him down? 

That too is a tough question. 

I went back and evaluated Diggs this season against TEN (9/19), NYJ (11/6) and NE (12/1) and honestly, there's not much he can't do. 

For my money, he's the best receiver in the game. 

Why?

Diggs looks so smooth and crafty running his routes. He destroys defenses at all three levels (short, medium and deep) and he has such a knack for creating separation and getting open. 

Every scout should be required to watch game film of Diggs before going out and grading other receivers, so they understand what the standard looks like. 

I'm not kidding. He's that good. 

Diggs makes it look easy, which is what all the great ones do. 

It starts with his dependable hands and high level of concentration. 

Diggs is tough short range because he's so determined to pick up additional yardage after the catch. 

In the intermediate route level he's difficult to defend because he knows how to set corners up, he runs such polished and unique looking routes, and he has the ability to make quick changes of direction. 

He's a problem deep because he knows how to shake coverage and how to get behind it. 

The thing that caps it off is the synergy which exists between him and his quarterback, Allen. 

How do the Jets slow him down this week?

My 40 years of being around the game knows only two ways: 

  1. Lock up Gardner on him on every play and throw away the key. 
  2. Put bracket (high/low) coverage on him, which New York did once the last time around and it worked. This coverage features a defensive back on both sides of him shadowing him wherever he goes like two pieces of bread on a sandwich. 

Outside of that, it's going to be tough. 

Diggs looked sensational against New England last week on his seven catches (nine targets) for 92 yards and a touchdown. 

The Patriots had super tight coverage on him on a number of those routes, but he still managed to make the grabs. 

He also was getting more physical than usual with corners and more demonstrative too after making the plays in this game, which isn't a good sign for opposing defenses.

Diggs has always been good, but now it seems like the Jets are catching him when he is peaking, which isn't the best news New York can get on the front page.

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Follow Daniel Kelly on Twitter (@danielkellybook). Be sure to bookmark Jets Country and check back daily for news, analysis and more.

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