NFL Thursday Night Football Picks: Buffalo Bills at New York Jets

Buffalo Bills at New York Jets
Thursday, November 2, 2017, 8:25 pm Eastern, TV: NFL Network
MetLife Stadium – East Rutherford, New Jersey
Opening Line: Buffalo -3 1/2
Current Line: Buffalo -3 (-120)
Opening Total: 42
Current Total: 42 1/2
Opening Money Line: Bills -175 / Jets +155
Current Money Line: Bills -170 / Jets +150

The Jets host the AFC East Thursday night.

The 5-2 Buffalo Bills are one of the biggest surprises in the NFL as we approach the midpoint of the season. They are a half game behind the 6-2 New England Patriots in the AFC East. Buffalo hasn’t made the playoffs since 2000. The Bills travel to AFC East rival the 3-5 New York Jets Thursday.

Buffalo leads the series 61-53 against New York. The Bills have won six of the last eight games against the Jets including 21-12 at home in the season opener back in September. The Jets won both meetings last year.

Buffalo is coached by Sean McDermott. The Bills have road losses at the Carolina Panthers 9-3 and Cincinnati Bengals 20-16. Buffalo has home wins over the Jets 21-12, Denver Broncos 26-16, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 30-27 and Oakland Raiders 34-14 last week. The Bills also have a road win over the Atlanta Falcons 23-17. Buffalo was a 2 point favorite against Oakland and the total was 47. The Bills are 5-1-1 ATS and the total is 3-4 this season.

New York is coached by Todd Bowles. The Jets have lost three straight games after a three game winning streak. New York has home wins over the Miami Dolphins 20-6 and Jacksonville Jaguars 23-20 in overtime, and a road game at the Cleveland Browns 17-14. New York has road losses at the Bills 21-12, Oakland Raiders 45-20, and Miami Dolphins 31-28, plus home losses to the New England Patriots 24-17 and Atlanta Falcons 25-20 last week. The game between the Jets and Falcons was played in heavy rain and was back and forth with no team leading by more than five points. Atlanta was a 6.5 point favorite and the total was 43.5. The Jets are 5-2-1 ATS and the total is 4-4 this season.

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Buffalo is outscoring teams 22-16 this season. The Bills are #3 in points allowed. Buffalo averages 303 total yards per game including 179 passing and 125 rushing yards. The Bills are #25 in total offense, #29 in passing and #8 in rushing. On defense, Buffalo is allowing 347 total yards per game, including 266 passing and 80 rushing yards. The Bills are #3 in rush defense and #29 in pass defense. Buffalo is 47/111 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 40/100. The Bills have forced 13 sacks and have allowed 19 this season. Buffalo is +14 in turnovers with two defensive touchdowns.

Quarterback Tyrod Taylor has completed 63.8% of his passes for 1,343 yards with 8 touchdowns and 2 interceptions, along with 44 carries for 175 yards and a touchdown. He has been sacked 19 times.

Running back LeSean McCoy has 137 carries for 521 yards and 3 touchdowns, along with 38 catches for 242 yards. Mike Tolbert has 44 carries for 178 yards and a touchdown, along with 7 catches for 31 yards.

The Bills acquired receiver Kelvin Benjamin just before Tuesday’s trade deadline from the Carolina Panthers for draft picks. There is a small chance he could be activated Thursday. Benjamin had 32 catches for 475 yards and 2 touchdowns for the Panthers. Tight end Charles Clay has 20 catches for 258 yards and 2 touchdowns. He is out with a knee injury. Receiver Jordan Matthews has 15 catches for 193 yards and a touchdown.  Nick O’Leary has 10 catches for 170 yards. Zay Jones has 10 catches for 115 yards. Deonte Thompson has 5 catches for 112 yards. Andre Holmes has 11 catches for 97 yards and 3 touchdowns. Brandon tate and Logan Thomas each have a touchdown catch.  Four defensive players and two offensive linemen are all listed on the injury report.

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New York is being outscored 23-20 this season New York is #21 in scoring and #22 in points allowed. The Jets average 308 yards per game including 212 passing and 96 rushing yards. On defense, the Jets allow 361 total yards per game including 233 passing and 128 rushing yards. New York is #26 in total defense and  #27 in rush defense. The Jets are 47/117 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 45/115. New York has forced 11 sacks and allowed 25 this season. The Jets are -1 in turnovers and has allowed a defensive touchdown.

Quarterback Josh McCown has completed 70.5% of his passes for 1,840 yards with 12 touchdowns and 7 interceptions, and also has 21 carries for 57 yards and 2 touchdowns. He has been sacked 25 times.

Running back Bilal Powell has 74 carries for 316 yards and two touchdowns along with 18 catches for 140 yards. Elijah McGuire has 48 carries for 207 yards and a touchdown, plus 5 catches for 55 yards.  Matt Forte has 43 carries for 164 yards, plus 25 catches for 203 yards.  He is probable with a knee injury.

Receiver Robby Anderson has 27 catches for 435 yards and 3 touchdowns. Jermaine Kearse has 29 catches for 342 yards and 4 touchdowns. Jeremy Kerley has 22 catches for 217 yards and a touchdown. He faces a likely four game suspension for performance enhancing drugs and is questionable pending an appeal. Austin Seferian-Jenkins has 31 catches for 203 yards and 3 touchdowns. Four other receivers are out indefinitely for the Jets. Eleven defensive players are listed on the injury report.

Buffalo is 4-0-1 ATS after allowing less than 90 rushing yards, 5-1-1 overall, 4-1 after a straight up win and a cover, 5-2-1 after allowing more than 250 passing yards, 8-17 after allowing less than 15 points, 2-5 after rushing for more than 150 yards, 1-3-1 in November, 1-4 against AFC East teams, 1-5-1 in week 9, and 0-4 against teams with losing home records. The Bills are 6-2 ATS against the Jets recently. While five of the last six games overall have gone under the total in this series, five of the last seven games in New York between the teams have gone over the total.

New York is 7-0 ATS against teams with winning road records, 5-0 at home and on fieldturf, 5-0-1 overall, 4-0-1 against AFC teams, 3-0-1 after a cover, and against teams with winning records, 3-1-1 after a straight up loss, and against AFC East teams, and 2-7 in November. The underdog is 4-1 ATS in this series and the home team is 8-3 ATS.

New York is also somewhat surprising in that many thought they would not win a game before the season started. They have been in every game except one, but are battling a ton of injuries. I like Buffalo to win a close low scoring game to sweep the season series over New York.

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