My choice to be the first coach fired this season was Buffalo's Rex Ryan at +1000 when that prop was out at BetOnline, and he might be gone after this game if the Bills are stomped at home by the rival New York Jets on Thursday night to fall to 0-2.
I don't want to make any grand proclamations after one week, but the AFC East already looks over. The Patriots were able to go to arguably the NFC's best team, Arizona, and win on Sunday night without Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski and two starting offensive linemen. Now I tend to think they will be 4-0 when Brady returns from suspension and probably have at least a two-game lead in the division because every other East team lost in Week 1. The Pats are -350 to win the East again, with the Jets at +650, Bills at +850 and Dolphins at +900. To be fair, New York, Buffalo and Miami all could have won.
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Not that the Jets need any more motivation here against their former head coach in Rex Ryan, but the Bills were the reason New York missed the playoffs last year. If the Jets had just beaten the Bills once, they would have been in. But Buffalo won a pair of 22-17 decisions, including at home in Week 17 to eliminate the Jets from a wild-card spot. Jets QB Ryan Fitzpatrick decided to have perhaps his worst game of the year at the worst time, completing just 16 of 37 for 181 yards and three picks. Buffalo held the ball for nearly 40 minutes.
You can see this game on CBS, the NFL Network and, in a new twist this year, streaming live on Twitter.
Jets at Bills Betting Story Lines
New York played quite well in Week 1 but lost to 23-22 to a very good Bengals team, albeit one that was missing Pro Bowl tight end Tyler Eifert and top linebacker Vontaze Burfict. Nick Folk had given the Jets a 22-20 lead on a 23-yard field goal with 3:23 left, but Mike Nugent won it on a 47-yarder with 54 second to go. The Jets allowed a ton of passing yards by Andy Dalton, and Darrelle Revis was absolutely torched by A.J. Green, but that defense had seven sacks. That unit played without suspended defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson, one of the better players at his position in the NFL. He'll be back here.
Running back Matt Forte had a nice Jets debut, rushing 22 times for 96 yards and leading the team with 59 yards receiving on five catches. So much for being past his prime. My concern about the Jets this year was that Fitzpatrick was going to regress after a career year, and he wasn't great vs. Cincinnati, completing 19-for-35 for 189 yards, two TDs, a pick and a rating of 77.0.
Ryan's teams historically have struggled on offense, and that was the case in Week 1 as Buffalo lost 13-7 in Baltimore. Bills QB Tyrod Taylor was a pleasant surprise last year and earned himself a big new extension in training camp, but he was 15-for-22 for just 111 yards against Baltimore. LeSean McCoy rushed 16 times for 58 yards and a TD, but the Bills totaled only 67 yards on 24 attempts. This team is going nowhere without a running game.
There are conflicting reports on Bills top receiver Sammy Watkins. He broke his foot in the offseason and had surgery but played Week 1 and had four catches for 43 yards. Apparently that foot is really causing him major discomfort. It's not broken again, but he might have to be shut down for quite a while if the pain continues (so say some reports). As of now, Watkins says he's playing on Thursday. The Bills need him as they have a pretty weak group of pass-catchers otherwise. Buffalo could be without starting left tackle Cordy Glenn here after he left Week 1 with an ankle injury that also bothered him in camp. I don't have high hopes for this offense.
Jets at Bills Betting Odds and Trends
At 5Dimes , the game is a pick'em with a total of 40. So no moneyline. On the alternate lines, the Jets are -1 (-103) and the Bills -1 (-103). Last year, New York was 2-3-2 against the spread on the road and 3-4-0 "over/under." Buffalo was 5-3 ATS at home and 4-4 O/U.
The Jets are 6-2-1 ATS in their past nine vs. the AFC East. They are 1-4 ATS in their past five after a loss. The Bills are 4-0-1 ATS in their past five vs. the AFC East. They are 8-3 ATS in their past 11 following an ATS loss. The under is 5-2 in the Jets' past seven on Thursday. The under is 12-5 in Buffalo's past 17 at home. The under is 4-1 in the past five meetings in Buffalo. The Jets have failed to cover the past five in the series.
Free NFL Picks: Jets at Bills Betting Predictions
The clubs have split the past 20 games in the series. By the way, this is one of those Color Rush games. Buffalo managed to sweep last year despite not reaching 300 total yards in either game. This one is tough because I think the Jets are better and the Bills are banged up, but these quick turnarounds do favor the home teams usually. The heavy early lean is on New York. I'll go with the Jets and the under even though it's a low total.
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Read more articles by Alan Matthews
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