New York Jets (6-6, 6-6 ATS) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-11, 4-7 ATS), Week 14 NFL,
Raymond James Stadium Tampa, F.L. Sunday December 13th, 1:00PM Eastern
By Jay Horne of Predictem.com
Point Spread: Jets -3/Bucs +3
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The New York Jets have bounced back to win two consecutive games including a 19-13 victory over the Bills this past week to climb back to the .500 mark on the year. In fact, the Jets at just 6-6 are still very much in the AFC East Division race considering the Patriots were taken down against and stand at 7-5 on the year. The entire division is still up for grabs, but the question is who is going to take it?
The Jets definitely have a shot, but this weekends trip to Raymond James Stadium has got to be a must win. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have struggled all year with just 1 victory throughout the season. The Bucs did play Carolina fairly well last week, but just could not get the ball in the end zone despite 469 total yards on offense. However, the Buccaneers have some momentum to build on from the offensive side of the ball and they will attempt to crush the Jets chances of the postseason this Sunday.
Rookie QB Josh Freeman has finally gave the offense some type of spark or ability to move the chains. Freeman threw for 321 yards which was the most out of any of the 3 quarterbacks that have shared time under center this season. Still, Freeman choked down towards the goal line throwing 5 interceptions without a single touchdown. The Buccaneers out gained Carolina 469 to 309 which should have equaled a victory. However, the offense just could not score any points leading to their demise.
This week Tampa Bay will try to establish more success through the air, but it will be against the NFL’s best pass defense. The Jets have allowed just 167 yards per game. Still, the Buccaneers running game with Cadillac Williams who is hardly reliable likely in more respect to the Tampa Bay offensive line rather than Williams. However, the Buccaneers passing offense got some help from WR Antonio Bryant last week catching 5 passes for 113 yards becoming just the 2nd player on the team to have over 100 yards receiving in a single game this year. The other is WR Kellen Winslow who remains the most consistent target. Both wide receivers will have to find a way to get open against the talented Jets secondary and hope Freeman can avoid the interceptions.
The Jets on the other hand will try and control the temp of the game by relying on running back Thomas Jones along with help from the defense. When Jones runs the ball well, the Jets control the clock and therefore their defense is plenty strong to hold off all challengers. It is when the defense is consistently on the field, they do not hold up well. One interesting fact to prove the importance of ball control is that the Jets are 5-1 this season when winning the time of possession battle which is pretty staggering. Actually, it is pretty simple in how the ball control really helps their defense. In games the Jets do not win the time of possession the defense is allowing 26 points per game. In games Jets control the clock they are allowing a shockingly strong 8.6 points per game. Plain and simple, ball control will be key.
The reason that the Buccaneers do not appear to stack up well in this game is because of the way they match up against the run. Tampa Bay owns the 3rd worse rush defense in the NFL allowing 160 yards per game. This gives Jones the opportunity to keep the ball moving on the ground and the Jets to win the all important time of possession. Rookie QB Mark Sanchez has struggled a bit during the 2nd half of the season which led to that tough stretch of games where the Jets lost 6 of 7 and was also banged up last week spraining his PCL. (He is listed as OUT for Week 14.) Kellen Clemens will take the reigns at QB.
Jay’s Pick: Take TB to win straight up.