The New York Jets and Buffalo Bills meet in this AFC East rivalry match-up. The Jets seem like they would rest starters, but there is a possibility that they can get the fifth overall seed in the AFC playoffs over the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The early spread on this game is Jets (-2) Here are some of the key aspects of the game and what to watch out for when betting. Stats from NFL.com and ESPN. All lines from Cooper’s Picks.
#1: Divisional Game
All of the Week 17 games feature divisional games and rivalries. These teams have more familiarity with each other and know tendencies. Therefore, these games are often unpredictable.
#2: Playoff Implications
The New York Jets clinched a playoff birth with the Washington Redskins upset of the Jacksonville Jaguars. Currently, they’re a sixth seed and will most likely stay that way. The only way that the Jets can elevate themselves to a fifth seed is if the Baltimore Ravens defeat the Cincinnati Bengals, the Pittsburgh Steelers get upset by the Cleveland Browns, and the Jets defeat the Bills. All these teams play at 1:00 P.M. Therefore, the Jets are playing for the miniscule possibility of advancing themselves from a six seed to a five seed.
#3: Regular season match-up
The Jets dominated the October match-up, 38-14. This was probably the most complete game that the Jets have played this season, as Mark Sanchez and Brad Smith both threw for touchdowns. The Jets ran for nearly 280 yards as LaDanian Tomlinson and Shonn Greene both eclipsed the 100 mark.
The Bills enter this match-up with twelve players on IR, including five linebackers and three receivers. David Nelson is also questionable, so the Bills have injury issues on both sides of the ball.
The Jets are healthier than most teams, but they do have some critical issues for this match-up. Mark Sanchez is expected to rest for this game to ready himself for the playoffs. Eric Smith, Trevor Pryce, and James Ihedigbo are also questionable as of 12/27.
#5: New York Jets Rushing Offense
The Jets strength is running the football (6th). The Bills weakness is stopping the run (32nd). The Jets exploited this with 273 rushing yards in the October meeting.
The Jets have a sixteen point advantage in turnover ratio, -12 to +4. The Bills mark is tied for the second worst in the NFL only behind the Jacksonville Jaguars (-13).
#7 Recent History
With the exception of 2008, the Bills have won at least one regular season meeting since 2003.
The Jets current stance on Mark Sanchez should tell you of Rex Ryan’s mentality for this game: They’re going to take great precautionary measures for the starters that do play. Ryan is happy that they’ve clinched a playoff birth, but he isn’t gambling on a scenario that would give him the fifth seed.
The Bills have improved since their last meeting. They were 0-8 during the stretch that they first played, and they’ve went 4-3 since then with losses to the Patriots and Steelers (in overtime).
I’d expect the Bills to go all out in their regular season finale, and I wouldn’t expect the Jets to win without going all out. They didn’t beat the Miami Dolphins going full strength in their last home game, so I don’t see them winning with Mark Brunell or Kellen Clemens in a mop-up game.
Against the Spread: – Buffalo Bills (+2)
Straight: – Buffalo Bills
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Cooper’s Picks, December 29, 2010.
Stats NFL.com, December 29, 2010.
Injury Reports, Covers.com. December 29, 2010.