New York Jets (2-8 SU, 2-7-1 ATS) vs. Buffalo Bills (5-5 SU, 4-6 ATS)
NFL Week 12
Date and Time: Monday, November 24, 2014 at 7:00PM EST*
Where: Ford Field, Detroit*
by Scott, NFL Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: NYJ +4.5/BUF -4.5
Over/Under Total: 39
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*Note: Game time and location has changed since the betting preview was written.
On Sunday afternoon in an AFC East battle, the New York Jets meet the Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium. The Jets are 2-8 and in the throes of an awful season. But they beat the Steelers coming into their bye week and enter this game well-rested and with some recent success in their minds. They will be facing a Bills team that has lost two games in a row to fall to 5-5. Last Thursday, the lost to the Miami Dolphins, 22-9.
These division rivals met on October 26, with the Bills hammering the Jets in East Rutherford, 43-23. The Bills scored 20 unanswered points in the second half to pull away. Bills QB Kyle Orton was sizzling, with 4 TD passes, with rookie WR Sammy Watkins having a huge game. Meanwhile, Michael Vick was 18-36 with a pick. So after a 20-point loss at home, why are the Jets mere 4.5-point underdogs against the Bills, who are now at home?
The Bills have visibly slowed down, especially on offense. The honeymoon is over with Kyle Orton, who is reminding people why he was such a forgotten entity until recent weeks. Watkins isnt firing on all cylinders. Injuries on both sides of the ball are beginning to resonate. Theyre without CJ Spiller and Fred Jackson has been banged up for weeks. Corner Leodis McKelvin is also out after suffering a fractured ankle in the loss to Miami.
The Bills are a bit deflated after losing consecutive games after a promising 5-5 start. The offense has languished, scoring a paltry 22 points in their last two games and one lone touchdown. The Bills will stick with Kyle Orton at QB after two bad outings in a row. He looked great in leading the Bills to 3 wins in 4 games, but hasnt been moving the offense all that well in recent weeks. With such crippling injuries to the offense, its no wonder.
The Jets orchestrated a nice win over the hot-and-cold Steelers before going into their bye. They tore into Pittsburgh in the first half, getting out to a 17-0 lead. The Steelers were never able to recover. Vick was capable, slinging a pair of TD passes. Midseason acquisition Percy Harvin is seeing an increased role, something that was almost certainly addressed in the bye week. They ran the ball well and if they can keep playing like that, the Jets could conceivably finish strongly in 2014.
At the same time, it was just one win and the Jets still have a lot of work to do. Leading into the win over the Steelers, the Jets had lost 8 in a row. Four of their last 5 losses were by at least 14 points. Most of their closer losses were earlier in the season, but it actually appeared that the Jets were getting worse. The win over the Steelers throws a different light on it, but this is a team that has spent the bulk of the season getting their clock cleaned. The head coach is a lame duck. Whoever is under center is just keeping the seat warm for the next guy to come along. But theyre still trying, there is abundant talent on defense, and maybe they can keep the momentum rolling against a sliding Buffalo team.
The Jets are actually pretty good in the run–both in creating and stopping it. At 2-8, its unclear how much that counts for, as they are still near the bottom in most major offensive categories. But they should be able to create some drives against Buffalo, while forcing Orton to take to the air more than he would normally like. And theyre not that bad against the pass, ranked mid-pack at 15th.
If looking for silver lining, the Jets just held a powerful Pittsburgh offense to 13 points. Against Denver, they had the ball late and looked to tie the game, before a pick-six spoiled their comeback bid. And theyre the only team to give New England a run for their money since the Pats caught fire, losing a 27-25 game, when the Jets missed a two-point conversion that would have tied the game. In other words, the Jets may be bad, but theyre not as bad as their record would indicate or what people are generally making them out to be.
One should expect a robust Buffalo effort this week. Expect their robust pass-rush (39 sacks) to flummox Vick and force him into making mistakes. They wont be taking the Jets for granted, either because theyre a two-win team or because they already beat them handily a few weeks ago. They cant afford to, in desperate need of a win after floundering a bit following a great start to the season. Now we see if the Bills are capable of becoming contenders or if theyre simply a team that has made some improvements.
This has the look of a potential trap. Gutturally, the urge may be to take the Bills at home against a Jets team that a few weeks ago, was in the midst of a horrendous spinout. But perhaps Buffalo has hit a bit of a wall in their own right. I dont see the points coming that easy for the Bills this week in what should be a close game where picking a winner is difficult. Ill take the points.
Scott’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Im betting on the New York Jets plus 4.5 points.