It’s an all AFC East divisional showdown late Sunday afternoon as the Bills travel to the Big Apple to take on the Jets. If there is something to be taken from both of these teams first two games in 2013, it may just be that they both aren’t as bad as first anticipated. Nobody gave either team much of a chance, but both teams could easily be 2-0 thus far. This game also signifies an exciting match-up of rookie quarterbacks as E.J. Manuel duels with West Virginia’s Geno Smith. Both youngsters have shown glimpses of their abilities through their opening games, but going against tough defenses today may make their offensive numbers lessen just a bit. This game also marks the opportunity for Geno Smith to show the Bills brass they were wrong for passing on him in the first round of the draft, instead choosing Manuel. There are plenty of storylines heading into this one, and it should be a tightly played affair between the two bitter rivals. Points will be at a premium, and read on below for our official game thoughts and wager.
Bills at Jets Betting Odds:
Buffalo Bills +3 (-130)
@ New York Jets -3 (+110)
Over 39 (-105)
Under 39 (-115)
Betting odds provided by Bovada.lv
Bills at Jets Pick:
Picking a winner in this game is like confidently selecting heads or tails in a coin toss. The result is too tough to call. Both squads are quite evenly matched and this game will be close throughout. However, where I see value in this all-AFC East divisional clash is in the total markets. Both the Jets and the Bills have looked pretty solid on defense in the opening two weeks of this season, and I see no reason for that to change in Week 3. Add in the fact that both defenses will be facing rookie quarterbacks that are prone to making mistakes and committing turnovers, and the Under 39 points on Sunday seems like something worth heavily considering.
Ultimately what I see occurring is each team nullifying each other’s strengths. The Bills are great at running the football. Between C.J. Spiller, Fred Jackson, and even E.J. Manuel, Buffalo has a knack of moving the chains with their feet. Against the Jets though that will not be easy. Rex Ryan’s run defense enters Week 3 fourth in the league, allowing just 59.5 yards per game. Watching how Spiller and Jackson maneuver around the tough Jets front-seven will be intriguing, but I’d side with New York shutting them down. Even through the air, the Bills will likely face heavy resistance. Although E.J. Manuel has been quite accurate and efficient with his arm through his first two games, facing the Jets will be a different story. The rookie out of Florida State is facing a strong Jets’ secondary, and New York’s pass defense has allowed opposing quarterbacks to only complete 48.6 percent of their passes. And oh yeah, the Jets are fresh off a solid outing against Tom Brady and that lethal Patriots attack. Laugh all you want at the Jets but this defense is finally playing up to their potential, and the Bills will struggle mightily to move the ball on Sunday.
When the Jets possess the ball, expect more of a stalemate. Geno Smith is alright, but is ultimately just slightly better than Mark Sanchez. The Jets have struggled to move the chains with regularity thus far, but they could try their luck with a ground-and-pound strategy from Chris Ivory and Bilal Powell. Though the Bills aren’t as bad at defending against the run as they were in 2012, they still struggle in that regard. Expect the Jets to utilize the run game frequently on Sunday afternoon, in turn killing the clock and limiting overall game points.
Expect solid defensive outings from both teams on Sunday. Both quarterbacks will struggle moving the ball through the air, and the best options will be running plays. It’s also E.J. Manuel’s first ever start away from home, and expect an adjustment to be made. Ultimately I think the Jets will squeak out a victory because of their running game, but the stronger wager is on the Under. Points will be at a premium at MetLife Stadium, and consider a low-scoring affair.
PICK = Under 39 (-115)