New York Jets (5-4 SU, 4-5 ATS) vs. Denver Broncos (4-5 SU, 4-5 ATS), 8:20 p.m. EST, NFL Week 11, Thursday, November 17, 2011, Sports Authority Field at Mile High, Denver, Colorado, TV: NFL Network
by Scotty L, NFL Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: NYJ -4/Denv +4
Over/Under Total: 41
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The New York Jets travel to Denver to take on the Broncos on Thursday night in a key AFC matchup. Both teams have a lot on the line in this game. The Jets have alternately been impressive and mediocre, now needing this win to avoid falling to .500 on the season. Denver, with a pair of consecutive wins, are only 4-5, but still in the thick of the AFC West, now led by Oakland, who is only 5-4.
Broncos QB Tim Tebow has certainly caught his share of flack, which now seems unwarranted in light of his 3-1 record as a starter. That mark is even more impressive as he has managed it with a team that looked bound for doormat status at 1-4. Sure, Tebow looked ragged in a 45-10 home loss to Detroit, but in wins against Miami, Oakland, and Kansas City, Tebow has gotten the job done.
Against the streaky Jets, the Broncos should expect more resistance than they saw against the inconsistent Chiefs on Sunday. The Jets opened 2011 with a pair of victories, before dropping 3 straight games. They answered with 3 straight wins before the disheartening 21-point home loss to the Pats on Sunday. At 5-4, they are now in a position where they need to make a move. Taking a loss at Denver will not necessarily spell disaster for them, but it would put a significant dent into their hopes, not to mention their public image.
One of the big questions in this game will be how Tebow responds playing against a good New York defense. We saw how Tebow played against Detroit and those forecasting a similar struggle this week might be on to something. But Tebow has a knack of finding a way to win, even if he is struggling. One wouldnt expect a 3-1 starter to have a 44.8% completion rate, nor would they expect a QB with such a low percentage to have 7 touchdowns against only 1 pick. With Tebow, his 3-1 record is what speaks loudest amongst all his stats.
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So while Tebow might struggle against the Jets secondary, he is likely to have some success on the ground. Not only can he run the ball (48-320-2), but he can depend on a resurgent Willis McGahee, now on pace to match his totals from his heyday of 2004-07, before injuries compromised his effectiveness. Speaking of which, a hamstring injury forced him to leave the game early against Kansas City on Sunday, so this short week isnt going to be doing him or the Broncos any favors. Lance Ball filled in nicely, however, so not all is lost.
The Jets looked awful on the road this year, losing their first 3 in a visiting role, before thumping the Bills 27-11 two weeks ago. Still, coming to freezing Denver on a short week is no picnic. The Broncos have a nice head of steam and perhaps more hope than a typical 4-5 team, with the division race as tight as it is in the AFC West. This season in the NFL has shown that public perception means very little. Many of us have been stubborn in acknowledging that a lot of teams are simply not playing according to their billing–both good and bad. The notion here is that the Jets are better, but at the betting windows this season, such notions have proven to be costly.
Scotty Ls Pick to Cover the Point Spread: The Jets are banged up, the Broncos are playing well and playing in thin air off a short week spells disaster for NY. I absolutely love the Broncos Thursday night!
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