Thursday Night Football features an AFC East battle between the Buffalo Bills and the New York Jets. Both teams are jockeying for second place in the division behind the New England Patriots, but the real storyline lies in former Jets, now Bills head coach Rex Ryan returning to New York since being fired after the conclusion of last season. Both teams have looked consistently inconsistent through nine weeks, but Rex’s homecoming may be just enough to push the Bills past the Jets, who the point spread is favoring at -2.5.
Thursday Night Football: Buffalo Bills vs. New York Jets
Point Spread: Jets -2.5 Over/under: 43 Date: Thursday, November 12, 8:25pm ET Location:MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ
Receiver Sammy Watkins has been MIA from the roster for Buffalo for most of the season and his eight catches on eight targets for 168 yards and a touchdown accounts for 92 percent of Tyrod Taylor’s 181 yards passing on the day. That type of production won’t go unnoticed, as Watkins is likely to be covered by the Jets Darrelle Revis. With Watkins likely to be blanketed, Taylor will need to find his other receivers or hope that running back LeSean Mccoy can suit up or they could have issues moving the ball.
Last year, Buffalo had one of the best defenses in the league, but this year, they’ve slipped to a middle of the pack ranking, allowing an average of 353 total yards of offense per game. Most of that yardage is coming through the air. They’ll need to throw a wrench into the -2.5 favored Jets well-balanced attack, forcing a revived Ryan Fitzpatrick into a few mistakes. If they can slow down the passing attack, the Bills should be successful in stuffing Chris Ivory as they currently rank 5th in the league at stopping the run.
New York Jets
With Todd Bowles in his first year as head coach, the Jets offense has come alive due to Fitzpatrick’s unexpected efficiency and Brandon Marshall’s arrival at receiver to help complement Eric Decker. They’ve been spreading the ball around and could find some favorable match-up’s against the Bills sometimes spotty secondary play. They’ll need Chris Ivory to get going early to help wear down Buffalo’s front four.
The return of Revis to the Jets in addition to a handful of rookies making an impact has the Jets back to being one of the best overall defenses in the league. With McCoy’s status undetermined, the +2.5 underdog Bills may have to force the ball through the air, which would play right into the Jets hands. Taylor was favoring Watkins, but with Revis one of the best in man-to-man coverage, his favorite target may not be open. New York’s defense could makes Buffalo’s night miserable.
Thursday Night Football Prediction
Ryan is trying to play down his return to New York, but the Bills will be fired up after a solid win against the Dolphins last week. They’ll head into this game certain it can go either way. Unfortunately, the Jets have the slight upper hand and a way to shut down their best offensive weapon in Watkins.