The New York Jets will travel to Ralph Wilson Stadium in Buffalo on Sunday for a crucial matchup with the Bills. It feels a little weird saying the Bills are in a crucial game, but it is what it is folks. Believe it or not, the Buffalo Bills have certainly let it known that they are for real. The Jets are still looking to get back to their forte, as they have been gashed on defense, something we haven’t seen in the Rex Ryan era until now. Also, with many expecting Mark Sanchez to take a huge step forward, it seems he is going backwards. Nevertheless, the Jets and Bills are still in the thick of things in the division. With the Patriots looking a little discombobulated, the division is open for all three teams to win.
Last week many people were expecting the Bills to have a down week. There were plenty of people that thought the Redskins were in a good position to pick up the cover. A theme that resonated was the Bills played their best football before the bye week, and they couldn’t possibly keep up at this pace. Some handicappers thought the trip to Toronto was going to have an impact, or Ryan Fitzpatrick was going to regress because of his new contract. In the end, though, the Bills easily covered the 4.5 by a score of 23-0. The victory was never in doubt, as the Redskins failed to get on track offensively with John Beck under center. Even though the Bills were playing the offensively challenged Redskins, the biggest surprise was the fact that the Bills pitched a shutout. They limited John Beck to only 208 yards passing, and also picked him off twice in the win. Even more impressive, the Redskins leading rusher Ryan Torrain ran for 14 yards. Even with the solid performance on defense, the Bills still rank 26th in the NFL in total defense. They were second last prior to their game with the Redskins, so this is still a unit that isn’t very good regardless of what they did against the Redskins. The Bills allow 265 yards passing a game (24th), and 120 on the ground (20th). In other words, keep things in perspective; while they limited the Redskins offense, they are still subpar. The offense and defense are complete opposites of each other. Fred Jackson keeps putting up excellent numbers, and has the Bills as a top-5 rushing team this season. Jackson has run wild on defense this year for an average of 103 yards a game. In total, he has rushed for 721 yards with 6 touchdowns. Jackson has an excellent opportunity against a Jets defense that has been suspect.
I think there’s still a consensus among NFL fans that the Jets defense is elite. However, they have failed to live up to that billing this year. For a team that prides itself on a stout defense, it is unbelievable that they are surrendering 126 yards a game on the ground (25th). Furthermore, on average the Jets are allowing 21.7 points a game. But the problem with the Jets is when they’re on the road. If you take a look at their road splits, they surrender 32.7 points a game with 166 yards rushing. The Bills have been a scoring machine at home, averaging just over 412 yards with 31.5 points. It has been a balanced attack that is getting the job done. The player the Jets really need to watch out for, though, is Fred Jackson. If he has a big day it is going to be tough for the Jets to win. The Jets offense has been anemic as okay on the road. They are putting up an average of 281.3 yards and 20 points. The number could be higher if it isn’t for the Ravens shutting their offense down several weeks ago.
Jets vs. Bills Spread, Line and Betting Odds:
New York Jets +1
@Buffalo Bills -1
Over 44 (-110)
Jets vs. Bills Pick:
Historically the Jets have had the Bills number as of late. They are 5-1 against them in recent meetings; however, hasn’t everyone in the league had the Bills number recently? For the purpose of this game, I believe it’s a misleading stat. They are two completely clubs from just a season ago, so don’t try and get too caught up in that. One stat that should jump out at you, however, is their over/under numbers. The Jets have gone over the number five times this season (5-2), and the Bills with six (6-1). Also, the Jets have surpassed the posted total in every road game this year.
It may feel a little weird taking an over in a Jets/Bills game; however, you have to realize these are different teams. The Bills defense significantly jumped up in the NFL defensive rankings thanks to a solid performance against the Redskins. However, it is the Redskins after all, and while the Jets aren’t great either, they are a team that can take advantage of a poor defense. The only game they haven’t scored more than 20 points was against the Baltimore Ravens. I expect some points to be put up from both sides in this one.