New York Jets (10-5 SU, 8-5-2 ATS) vs. Buffalo Bills (7-8 SU, 7-7-1 ATS)
NFL Week 17
Date/Time: January 3rd, 1:00 PM ET
Where: Ralph Wilson Stadium
TV: CBS locally, Direct TV Sunday Ticket
by Jeff Hochman, Professional Handicapper, jhsportsline.com
Point Spread: NYJ -3/ Buff +3
The Buffalo Bills will look to end the season with its second consecutive victory, when AFC East division rival New York Jets invades Ralph Wilson Stadium. Last Sunday, the Jets defeated the Patriots in overtime 26-20 as 3-point home underdogs. They outgained New England by 144 yards and have won the stats in six out of the past seven games. The Jets have won five games in a row, but still haven’t clinched a playoff birth. The Bills defeated the Cowboys 16-6 as 6.5-point home chalk last Sunday. Buffalo outgained Dallas by 105 yards and have won the stats in four of their past five tilts. The Bills should be focused on ending the season at .500, which would be a minor accomplishment after Rex Ryan guaranteed a playoff birth before the season started.
On paper, it sure looks like the Jets should win this game rather easily. The Jets will bring in the better offense, defense, special teams, red-zone efficiency, and time-of-possession stats. The Jets are ranked 8th in yards per game, 11th in passing yards, 11th in rushing yards, and 10th in points per game. On the flip side, the Bills are ranked 11th in yards per game, 27th in passing yards, 1st in rushing yards, and 12th in points per game. The Jets are allowing just 81.5 rushing yards per game and have allowed over 100 rushing yards only three times this season.
The Bills defeated the Jets 22-17 as 2.5-point road underdogs back in week 10. LeSean McCoy rushed for 112 yards on 19 carries. Ryan Fitzpatrick had one of his worst performances of the season. He completed 15-of-34 passes for 193 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. Ryan has enjoyed a career-year throwing for 3,724 yards with 29 touchdowns and just 12 interceptions. He’s completing just under 61% of his throws with a quarterback rating of 91.2. The Jets also rushed for over 100 yards in the first meeting. Chris Ivory had 99 yards and Fitzpatrick added another 30. With both teams looking to run the ball, the Under could be a solid play. However, McCoy is listed as questionable with a torn MCL. He is most likely going to miss this game, but has not been officially ruled out.
This lined opened at Jets minus -1. With 78% of the bets backing the Jets, this line has jumped to minus -3. This could be a game where the “sharps” and public are backing the same team. The Jets outgained Buffalo 318-280 in the week 10 loss. The Bills are coming off a physical game against the Cowboys, while the Jets are coming off a huge revenge victory against New England. The Jets need to win this game to clinch a wild card spot. I would expect a top-notch effort from the road team. The Las Vegas NFL power rankings has the Jets ranked at No. 9 with a power index of 22.5. The Bills are ranked No. 12 with a power index of 21.5. The Odds-makers believe these two teams are rated closer than the public would assume. Despite the Jets winning three more games, the odds-makers think this game should be closer to the opening line of Jets minus -1. It’s a tough game to predict as the Bills are not completely healthy at the running back position.
The Jets are 13-6 ATS in their last 19 games in week 17. The Bills are 15-33-3 ATS in their last 51 games following a SU win. Buffalo is the most penalized team in the league by far. These teams normally don’t win back-to-back games this late in the season. The Jets are 7-1 SU and 5-2 ATS when playing a team with a losing record this season. Check the weather conditions as we get closer to game day. If you see windy conditions, I would pass the game.
Jeff’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread:New York Jets -3
Rex Ryan and the Bills will be motivated, playing against his former team with a chance to knock them out of the playoffs. Lets take the Jets as a light play who needs the game in a big way. They also have same season revenge from that week 10 loss at home. NFL teams are just 12-25 ATS after playing the Dallas Cowboys in the month of December. The Jets might win this game and not cover the three points, so proceed with caution.
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