The final week of the regular season is here, and we have a number of games which can go in vastly different directions. Week 17 is tough from a handicapping perspective, as many clubs with nothing to play for will choose a cautious approach in a bid to protect assets.
There’s a handful of games in which we can expect both sides to be going all out, as well as several in the middle which could easily go one way or the other. That’s the situation at hand for the early afternoon tilt between AFC East rivals up in Buffalo.
The Bills have wrapped up the 5th seed in the AFC Playoffs. Starters are expected to see at least some time, but exactly how much remains to be seen. Meanwhile, the Jets are on the hunt to close out the year strong after what has been a trying campaign.
So how’s all of that going to translate onto the field on Sunday? Read on as we figure that out, starting with the way the oddsmakers see things.
New York Jets vs. Buffalo Bills, 1 PM EST, Sun. Dec.29, CBS
Betting odds provided by: Sportsbetting.ag
Jets vs. Bills Pick:
The Jets were home last Sunday playing host to the Pittsburgh Steelers. They walked on the field as 3-point underdogs as the visitors were fighting for a playoff spot. New York is in the midst of a lost season, but they still managed to match the intensity level. The defense shut down the Steelers as the club walked off the field with a 16-10 win.
On Saturday, the Bills took a trip to New England to square off with the Patriots. They were 6.5-point underdogs at kickoff, but they went toe-to-toe with the defending champs and went to the half tied up at 10-10. New England had more in the tank after the break and exited with a 24-17 win, but a big takeaway from the game was that Buffalo can unquestionably hang with the big boys.
It was a disastrous start to the season for the Jets. The team started off 0-4, and Sam Darnold went down with a case of mono. The skid was stopped with a surprising blowout win of the Dallas Cowboys, but another three losses followed to drop the team to 1-7. Despite the season being lost, the club hasn’t thrown in the towel. The Jets are a solid 5-2 over their last seven games.
A 3-0 start to the season made some observers perk up and take notice of the Bills. However, the team still wasn’t being taken seriously in most circles. An impressive win over the Cowboys on Thanksgiving Day changed that. Buffalo enters this game having won four of its last six. They’ve locked up a playoff berth in the competitive AFC and will enter the playoffs as a team no one wants to play.
Adam Gase took over as head coach for the Jets, and the offense was expected to move forward under his leadership and with the signing of Le’Veon Bell. That hasn’t happened, but the product on the field has been better over the second half of the season. The defense has done an excellent job against the run, but there remain kinks to work out in the passing game.
Darnold missed three games all together as he battled mono. For the season, he has 20 total TDs versus 12 picks. Bell hasn’t been used effectively in his new digs with a rushing line of 229/748/3 and receiving output of 61/425/1. Jamison Crowder and Robby Anderson are the top two targets. Jamal Adaams has been the impact player on defense, but there are also rumblings that he’ll be gone in the offseason.
The Bills do not have an offense that strikes fear into the hearts of opponents. That said, the unit is effective and is a great complement to the stout defense. The offense puts up just enough points, while the other side of the ball is strong enough to keep opponents in check. It’s not flashy, but it’s a formula which has translated into a 10-win campaign thus far.
Josh Allen had some struggles earlier this season, but he has put it together down the stretch. For the season, he has accounted for 29 total TDs versus nine INTs. Devin Singletary leads the backfield at 151/775/2, while John Brown paces the pass catchers at 72/1,060/6. Tremaine Edmunds tops the defense with 113 tackles, while Tre’Davious White has been stellar in the secondary with six picks.
Buffalo leads the all-time series over New York by a margin of 63-55. Earlier this season, the Bills picked up a 17-16 road win over the Jets in come from behind fashion. Last season, the teams split two meetings with the road side winning both times.
For the season to date, the Jets are 6-9 against the spread and 7-8 on the Over/Under. The Bills are 9-4-2 ATS and 4-11 on totals.
Since the 2017 season, New York is 3-16 straight-up as a road underdog and 6-12-1 ATS. Buffalo is 11-2 overall as a home favorite over that span and 7-5-1 ATS.
This game is meeting of two franchises at very different stages. The Bills are a team on the ascent and playing well as they head to the postseason. For the Jets, another offseason with lots of questions is looming.
However, we can throw that out the window for this game. Buffalo is expected to play starters for at least a little while, but they have nothing at stake here and no chance of improving their playoff positioning. Meanwhile, New York will be looking to close out a challenging season on a high note.
A Bills team with something to play for gets the job done, but a squad that won’t necessarily be going all in is vulnerable in this spot versus a Jets team which has played much better over the second half of the season. Jets plus the points is the call as we look for an outright upset.