It was not a good first week for the AFC East as three of the four teams lost but one other division team will add a victory on Thursday night as the New York Jets visit the Buffalo Bills.
The game is currently a pick’em on Sports Interaction NFL odds and the Jets are slight -115 favourites on the moneyline. In a new Thursday twist this year, you can live stream this game on Twitter.
New York Jets vs. Buffalo Bills
Point spread: pick’em
Date: Thursday, Sept. 15, 8:30 p.m. ET
Location: New Era Field, Buffalo
New York Jets
Gang Green played well enough to win against a very good Cincinnati team in Week 1, but the visiting Bengals pulled it out 23-22 in one of a record four games to be decided by one point on the opening weekend. The Jets trailed 20-16 entering the fourth quarter but got two Nick Folk field goals, the second with 3:23 left, to take the lead. However, Cincinnati’s Mike Nugent hit the winning 47-yarder with 54 seconds to go. New York had closed as a 1-point favourite on NFL odds.
On the positive side for the Jets in that game, they had seven sacks of Andy Dalton even though they were without Pro Bowl defensive end Sheldon Richardson, who was suspended for one game. He will play Thursday. Richardson had 35 tackles and five sacks with two forced fumbles in 11 games last year. Also on the positive side in the loss was the performance of running back Matt Forte, the team’s big free-agent acquisition this offseason from Chicago. He rushed for 96 yards on 22 carries and led the team with 59 yards receiving (on five catches).
As for the negatives? Star cornerback Darrelle Revis was absolutely blown up by Bengals No. 1 receiver A.J. Green. Dalton completed 10-of-10 targets to Green against Revis for 152 yards and a touchdown. That’s a perfect QB rating of 158.3. Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick also wasn’t particularly good, completing 19-for-35 for 189 yards, two TDs and a pick.
Few coaches in the NFL entered this season on a hotter seat than Buffalo’s Rex Ryan, who was reportedly told by ownership that he would be fired if the Bills didn’t end the NFL’s longest active playoff drought. That makes this a must win because since 2007, just seven of 75 teams (nine percent) have made the playoffs after losing their first two.
The Bills were inept offensively in their Week 1 13-7 loss in Baltimore. They had just 160 total yards and 11 first downs. QB Tyrod Taylor threw for 111 yards on 22 attempts. LeSean McCoy had a TD and 58 yards on 16 carries, but Buffalo, a run-first team, had only 65 total yards on 24 carries.
Then there’s top Bills receiver Sammy Watkins, who had four catches for 43 yards in the loss. He broke his foot this offseason and had surgery. That foot is apparently causing Watkins serious pain, although it hasn’t been re-broken. It’s possible that Watkins could have to be shut down for weeks if it continues, but he says he’s playing Thursday. Keep an eye on that. If the Bills don’t have Watkins to spread the field, they are in trouble. In addition, starting left tackle Cordy Glenn is dealing with an ankle injury and very questionable for Thursday. Not what you want to hear as a Bills fan against that excellent Jets defense.
The Bills did sweep the Jets last year in a pair of 22-17 decisions even though Buffalo didn’t reach 300 yards of offense in either game. The teams met Week 17 in Buffalo and the Jets would have been a wild-card team with a victory, but Ryan, their former coach, got the last laugh. Fitzgerald had one of his worst games of the season, completing just 16-for-37 for 181 yards and three interceptions. The Bills dominated time of possession in both wins.
The NFL’s Color Rush is back on Thursday nights this year. Last year, the Jets wore all green and the Bills wore all red in their Thursday night matchup, making it difficult for color-blind viewers. So the Jets will wear all white this time, but the Bills will still be in all red.
Jets vs. Bills Prediction
The Jets have the better roster, but home teams generally have a big advantage in these quick turnaround Thursday games. Buffalo has covered the point spread in five straight meetings but has some key injuries. Go with New York and the under despite the total being the smallest on the board. The under is 4-1 in the past five meetings in Buffalo.