Buffalo Bills (4-4 SU, 4-4 ATS) vs. New York Jets (5-3 SU, 4-3-1 ATS)
NFL Week 10
Date/Time: Thursday, November 12, 2015 at 8:25PM EST
Where: MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, New Jersey
TV: NFL Network
by Scott, NFL Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: BUF +3/NYJ -3
Over/Under Total: 43
Thursday Night Football features an AFC East matchup, with the Buffalo Bills coming to MetLife to face the New York Jets. Both teams had wins on Sunday, coming off the short week for this Thursday night affair. The Bills beat the Miami Dolphins, 33-17, once again showing the things that allowed them to start the season well. At 4-4, they look for what would really be a big win against their division rivals. The Jets beat the Jacksonville Jaguars, 28-23, on Sunday, ending a two-game losing streak and pushing their record to 5-3. Both teams are in a decent position to make a move in the second half of the season, with a win this week being absolutely critical.
After two straight losses, the Jets were in danger of squandering a 4-1 start to the season. The win against the Jaguars at home was key. The Jets were (and still are) facing injuries, with QB Ryan Fitzpatricks non-throwing hand hurt and Brandon Marshall also nursing an injury. But both were effective on Sunday, with Fitzpatrick throwing two touchdowns and efficiently running the offense, while Marshall caught a touchdown pass. Running back Chris Ivory continued to struggle, with 26 yards on 23 carries, though he did score two touchdowns. Eric Decker caught a TD pass with 79 yards receiving. It was a game where some order was restored. They got a nice 44-yard reception from previously-quiet TE Jeff Cumberland. The Jets were able to record 4 turnovers, including a muffed punt. Suffering a bit through injuries, the Jets were able to pull off the well-earned win.
The Jets were fortunate on Sunday, both in catching some breaks and by the fact that they were playing the Jaguars. Against better teams, they may not be so fortunate; as they relied on the Jaguars mistakes as much as anything they did right. The Jaguars actually outgained the Jets offense by nearly 150 yards, as the Jets defense continues to struggle a bit. But the Jets defense was at least able to come up with some big plays, with 6 sacks on Bortles and 4 turnovers. On one hand, we can only be so critical of a team that has surpassed last seasons win total by the midway point of this season. At 5-3, this can go one of many different ways for the Jets. Lets just say 6-3 is a lot better than 5-4. The Jets should be gunning hard for a win. If the Jets are going to make a substantial move, however, the defense is going to need rediscover its previous form. And that might not be that easy.
As the Jets arrive at this critical point in the season, the injury bug threatens to throw the season sideways. In addition to Fitzpatrick and Marshall being banged up, the O-line is now suffering, with center Nick Mangold leaving the game on Sunday with a neck injury. G Willie Colon is hurt. Corner Antonio Cromartie left Sunday with a thigh injury, as safety Dion Bailey is banged up. Kicker Nick Folk suffered a quad injury in pre-game warm-ups, with P Ryan Quigley having to take over place-kicking duties. Its a tough time to be facing the short week. Theyre dug in at MetLife Stadium for their second straight home game, knowing how big this game is for them. This Thursday is a real fork-in-the-road moment for the Jets.
Buffalo also really needed a win on Sunday and just in the nick of time, we started to see some of the things that that had the Bills looking good at times earlier in the season. After missing a few games with a strained knee, Tyrod Taylor was back in there as starting quarterback, efficiently completing 11 of 12 throws for 181 yards and a TD, while adding some nice runs. Speaking of running, the Bills ground game was phenomenal on Sunday, with a pair of 100-yard rushers in rookie Karlos Williams and LeSean McCoy, who combined for 3 touchdown runs. And WR Sammy Watkins, who had seen his season decimated with injuries, stepped up with a huge performance on Sunday with 168 yards receiving. If the Bills can continue running the ball, with the pass-game operating as smoothly as it did on Sunday, this offense could go places. For most of the season, they have been operating at less-than-full power, but it looks like the offense is getting healthy again and if McCoy and Watkins can become consistent contributors, that will be big for the Bills.
On Sunday, Buffalo did allow 300 yards to Dolphins QB Ryan Tannehill. But once again, the Bills were able to make up for their porosity with some big timely plays. This defense can be exploited from time to time, giving up a lot of yards in spots. But as they showed in giving up just 17 points to the Dolphins on Sunday, they can come up with plays to prevent the opposing offenses from having a feeding frenzy. On Sunday, this defense batted balls in the red zone, disrupted Tannehill for most of the day, and buckled down when it was most needed. They will make mistakes at times and they can undermine themselves with penalties, but look for more big plays and clutch stops to bail them out.
The Bills looked a bit different with Taylor in there on Sunday. Maybe its a chemistry thing, but for whatever reason, the run game and the offensive line seem better with Taylor at the helm. For the Bills, this is a pivotal game, as joining the 5-loss club this early in the season could be too much to overcome. If the Bills look to make a big move this season, this is a win they absolutely need.
Fans should anticipate an entertaining AFC East matchup on Thursday Night Football this week. Both teams should approach this game with utmost urgency. Im of the feeling that Buffalo has lucked out by being on the good side of the injury cycle, as key guys are back in circulation, while the injury crisis with the Jets is something that could resonate badly on the short rest week. Im going with Buffalo.
Scott’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Im betting on the Buffalo Bills plus 3 points.
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