Free NFL Picks: Jets at Bills Odds for Week 11
by Alan Matthews - 11/13/2013
I'm well aware that the unbeaten Kansas City Chiefs visit the Denver Broncos in the game of the week on Sunday. However, I'll be focusing on the Broncos, no doubt, next week when they visit New England in another Peyton Manning-Tom Brady matchup, so I'm not going to do Denver now. Really, the second meeting between the Chiefs and Broncos is likely to be more important anyway.
So let's look at the most surprising team in the AFC, the J-E-T-S, Jets, Jets, Jets. I was definitely not high in the Jets this season. Their wins total had dropped each season since 2010, and I fully expected the franchise's worst year since going 4-12 in 2007 under Eric Mangini. Back then the team was so desperate it signed Brett Favre for the following season. Sure, the Jets had some good defensive players going into 2013 (even after trading Darrelle Revis), but they looked terrible on offense. Rookie Geno Smith was lost in the preseason and was only going to start because of a season-ending (and Jets-ending) injury to Mark Sanchez. There was no true No. 1 receiver, running back or tight end.
Yet here New York is at 5-4 entering Week 11 and holding down the final playoff spot the AFC, which is incredibly weak after the current Top 5 playoff seeds. There's no reason New York can't return to the playoffs, which would all but force the team to give Rex Ryan a contract extension. If the Jets win in Buffalo on Sunday to get to 6-4, I could see them finishing at least with nine wins. They finish at Baltimore (loss), vs. Miami (win), vs. Oakland (win), at Carolina (loss), vs. Cleveland (win), at Miami (50-50). Nine wins should be plenty for that last wild-card spot.
As for Buffalo, the Bills will continue the NFL's longest playoff drought, but overall the franchise seems pointed in a solid direction under first-year coach Doug Marrone. Kudos to Marrone, too, for saying this week that he won't be asking the fans for patience and that he feels an urgency to turn the franchise around immediately. It won't happen this year as the Bills have lost five of six and are in their usual last-place spot in the AFC East. However, a good finish and momentum heading into 2014 is possible. After this week the Bills are on a bye and have just one game against a team with a winning record: Week 17 at New England when the Patriots may have nothing to play for.
Jets at Bills Betting Story Lines
The Jets are a very up-and-down team. For example, in their past two home games they have beaten New England and New Orleans, two potential Super Bowl clubs. New York also has played pretty lousy on the road, losing 49-9 in Cincinnati in the most recent away game and 38-13 at Tennessee. The lone road win was a Monday night surprise -- at the time -- in Atlanta, a game that crushed many people in their survivor pools. In fact, New York is the second team in NFL history to alternate wins with losses through its first nine games since the NFL expanded to 16 games in 1978. The 2005 Patriots changed their alternating win one, lose one with a victory in Week 11 against the Saints (following a Week 10 victory at Miami).
The Jets, who enter off their bye, are struggling to throw the ball, ranking 26th in passing at 202.2 yards per game. Smith has failed to complete 56 percent of his passes in three of his past four games and has one TD and five picks. He will get No. 1 receiver Santonio Holmes as well as tight end Kellen Winslow back this week. Holmes missed the past five games with a hamstring injury, and Winslow was suspended the past four. In Week 3, Holmes set a career high with 154 yards against the Bills, including the game-winning touchdown (69 yards) in the fourth quarter. The final in that one was 27-20. Winslow has 17 catches for 169 yards and two scores this year. The bad news is leading receiver Jeremy Kerley is out with a dislocated elbow suffered against New Orleans. He has 28 catches for 347 yards and two scores.
New York is going to be run-heavy regardless as it is up to No. 9 in the league in rushing at 129.0 yards per game. The Jets battered the Saints for 198 yards on 36 carries. Former Saint Chris Ivory had 139 yards, his second game in the past three with 100. The other? That upset of New England. The Bills are No. 22 in rush defense.
Buffalo is even worse throwing the ball at 192.2 yards per game and is No. 7 in rushing at 140.7. It hasn't scored more than 17 points in a three-game losing streak. The Bills had only 227 total yards in last week's 23-10 loss at Pittsburgh. Their rookie QB, E.J. Manuel, completed 22 of 39 passes for 155 yards with a TD and a pick in his return after missing a month with a sprained right knee. Top Bills receiver Stevie Johnson left that game with a groin injury. He's very iffy for Sunday, and with the bye up next the Bills might sit him. Rookie second-round pick Robert Woods sat out last week with an ankle and is likely out again. Wideouts T.J. Graham and Marquise Goodwin would start if both are out. They have combined for 26 catches, or as many as Woods and 15 less than Johnson.
Jets at Bills NFL Week 11 Betting Odds and Trends
At Bovada, the Bills are one-point favorites with a total of 41. New York is 6-3 ATS (2-2 on road) and 6-3 “over/under” (3-1 on road). Buffalo is 5-5 ATS (4-1 at home) and 6-4 O/U (2-3 at home). The Jets are 1-4 ATS in their past five against teams with a losing record and in their past five road games against teams with a losing home record. The Bills are 6-2 ATS in their past eight after a loss. They have covered five of their past seven in the division. The over is 6-1 in the Jets' past seven overall. The under is 6-1 in the Bills' past seven after an ATS loss. The Jets are 4-1 ATS in their past five in Buffalo. The under is 4-1 in those five.
Free NFL Picks: Jets at Bills Betting Week 11 Predictions
If you tune into this game, you likely will be seeing the Defensive Rookie of the Year in Buffalo linebacker Kiko Alonso, a second-round pick out of Oregon. He has 99 tackles (second in NFL), four picks, two sacks and a fumble recovery. In the Week 3 loss at the Jets, Alonso had eight tackles and an interception. The Jets put up 513 yards, and Smith was 16-of-29 for 331 yards with two TDs and two picks. Buffalo stayed close because New York had two turnovers and a whopping 20 penalties. New York was the first team to get called for that many penalties and win since the Cleveland beat Chicago in 1951 with 21 Browns flags.
Everything points to the Jets here: off the bye, getting two key receivers back while the Bills could be down their top two receivers. Plus, C.J. Spiller still doesn't appear 100 percent. That said, Buffalo has played pretty darn well at home this year. The Bills beat Baltimore and Carolina there, should have beaten New England and could have beaten Cincinnati and Kansas City. So I like Buffalo and the under in what may be the lowest-scoring game of the week.
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