Week 11 of the 2011 NFL campaign kicks off with its weekly Thursday match-up featuring an angry New York Jets squad travelling to the Mile High City to take on Tim Tebow and the Denver Broncos. This is an intriguing game as both sides are well-aware a victory would be a crucial boost to their late-season playoff push. The Jets are coming off a disappointing loss last week at home via Tom Brady and the Patriots, while Denver is 3-1 with Tebow playing under center, despite their unconventional approach on offense of late.
This game will be a bigger test than usual for Tebow as it’s expected that he’ll have to do without running back Knowshon Moreno in this one, while his starting back Willis McGahee is also questionable to suit-up Thursday evening. McGahee has had a resurgence of late in Denver and if he is unable to go for the Broncos, it will leave a huge void to fill and force Tebow to throw much more than he’s been accustomed to. On the other side of the football, the Jets will be without their change-of-pace running back in LaDanian Tomlinson who is currently nursing a hamstring injury. New York hasn’t gotten the production they’ve wanted this season out of Shonn Greene, but will have to rely heavily on the big man if they’re to move the football on a stout Denver run defense.
Jets vs. Broncos Spread, Line and Betting Odds:
New York Jets -6 (-105) @
Denver Broncos +6 (-115)
Over 40 (-110)
Under 40 (-110)
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Jets vs. Broncos Pick:
To put it mildly, the Jets are simply a desperate team entering Denver on Thursday night. After a humiliating defeat by their divisional rivals from New England last Sunday, the Jets must rebound in yet another primetime showdown. Facing off against a team with minimal confidence in their quarterback, and having to deal with key absences in the backfield, I like the Jets chances on Thursday night. Rex Ryan is as bitter as anyone right now and will have his team primed and ready to shut down Denver’s run-heavy attack. The Jets have immense capabilities to be better on defense, and better against the run in particular, and they’ll show it Thursday night.
Expect New York to change looks and confuse Tebow in all situations, and force the former Florida Gator into a variety of uncomfortable situations. This entire Tebow saga is getting a tad carried away, and it spilled over to odd comments from Denver head coach John Fox this week in stating if he were to adopt a normal offense, Tebow would be “screwed.” Not exactly a ringing endorsement for your team’s starting quarterback.
Tebow only attempted 8 passes last week, finishing an abysmal 2-8 on attempts. Against the likes of Cromartie and Revis lurking in the Jets secondary, you can bet Denver is going to want to employ its ground and pound attack as much as possible. However, Ryan defenses traditionally thrive at stopping these sorts of tactics, and though they’ve been inconsistent in that regard thus far, as the games increase in importance, look for New York to get its swagger back on defense.
Undoubtedly this unique style employed by Tebow and the Broncos is a handful to prepare for, akin to the ‘Wildcat’ formation from three seasons ago. Considering the fact the Jets must face this coming off a very short week only complicates matters, but this a mean and angry Jets defense that will punish Tebow when he looks to get outside and run. Tebow is a big man and a powerful, elusive runner, but this Jets squad will not roll over and watch him take off the way weak defenses have with Denver in the past few weeks.
Expect a boring game for the secondary of the Jets, as Tebow does not have the ability right now to pick apart a defense with his arm. If McGahee cannot play and relieve some of the burden facing Tebow, third-stringer Lance Ball will be forced to step in as the replacement, and will endure a malicious Jets defense that will crush what is a predictable and run-heavy offense.
If you like old-school, smash-mouth football this is definitely the game for you. Both teams love running the football, and the defensive fronts’ of both teams better be ready. Expect the difference in this one to come down to the quarterbacks and their respective play-making abilities. Unlike Tebow, the Jets have Mark Sanchez who will rebound after last week’s poor performance and lead his squad to a much needed Week 11 victory. The Jets will rush with Greene likely up to 25 times, and this will nicely set-up play action attempts in which New York can hit its talented wide-outs Plaxico Burress and Santonio Holmes.
Sure Tebow has led his team to an impressive 3-1 record, but it remains wildly misleading as all wins have come against soft defenses. This is his stiffest test to date, and expect the Jets to make him seem wildly ineffective. The spread opened with the Jets installed as 4-point favourites, but has since moved to 6 after heavy public action on Gang Green. Don’t worry about the line movement too much, as the Jets will rebound with a comfortable win led by a dominant defensive performance in what expects to be a low-scoring affair.