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

Buffalo Bills at New York Jets
Thursday, November 12, 2015, 8:25 pm Eastern, TV: NFL Network
MetLife Stadium – East Rutherford, New Jersey
Opening Line: New York -3 1/2
Current Line: New York -2 1/2
Opening Total: 44 1/2
Current Total: 42 1/2
Opening Money Line: Jets -140 / Bills +120
Current Money Line: Jets -135 / Bills +115

The New York Jets host AFC East rival the Buffalo Bills Thursday night.
The New York Jets host AFC East rival the Buffalo Bills Thursday night.

The 5-3 New York Jets and 4-4 Buffalo Bills renew their rivalry Thursday night in East Rutherford. Both teams find themselves behind the 8-0 New England Patriots and ahead of the 3-5 Miami Dolphins in the AFC East. Both the Jets and Bills are in contention for the Wild Card spots in the AFC midway through the season.

This rivalry gains added intensity as former Jets’ coach Rex Ryan was fired by the team last year and hired by the Bills as their new coach this season. These two original AFL rivals have been playing since 1960. Buffalo leads the series 58-51 against New York. The Bills have won four of the last five against the Jets including three straight. Buffalo won both meetings last year 43-23 in New Jersey and 38-3 in Detroit. That game was moved from Buffalo to Detroit because of a severe blizzard in the Buffalo area. The two teams will play in Buffalo in the regular season finale January 3.

Buffalo has a home win over the Indianapolis Colts 27-14 and last week against the Dolphins 33-17, plus road wins over the Dolphins 41-14 and Tennessee Titans 14-13. The Bills have home losses to the New England Patriots 40-32, New York Giants 24-10 and Cincinnati Bengals 34-21, plus a loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars 34-31 in London.

The Bills were 4 point favorites against the Dolphins and the total was 44. Buffalo took a 19-7 lead into halftime. Miami cut the lead to 19-14 early in the third, but Buffalo would score two touchdowns to put the game away. Miami only managed a field goal for the rest of the game to make the final 33-17. Buffalo is 4-4 ATS and the total is 5-3 ATS this season.

New York is coached by Todd Bowles. The Jets have home wins over the Cleveland Browns 31-10, Washington Redskins 34-20, and last week against the Jaguars 28-23, a road win at the Colts 20-7, and a win over the Dolphins 27-14 in London. New York has a home loss against the Philadelphia Eagles 24-17, and road losses at the Patriots 30-23 and at the Oakland Raiders 34-20.

New York was a 7.5 point favorite against Jacksonville and the total was 42. The Jets led 14-10 at halftime. New York would expand the lead to 21-13 by the end of the third. Jacksonville kicked another field goal to pull within 21-16. However, the Jets would score a touchdown with 2:41 left to take a 12 point lead. The Jaguars scored 25 seconds later to make it 28-23. Jacksonville didn’t recover the onside kick but forced a New York punt. The Jaguars took over at their own 8 with 54 seconds left. However, an interception ended hopes of a comeback. It was the fourth Jacksonville turnover of the game. The Jaguars had 436 total yards to just 290 for the Jets. New York is 4-3-1 ATS and the total is 5-3 this season.

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Buffalo is outscoring teams 26-24 this season. The Bills are #8 in scoring. Buffalo averages 351 total yards per game on offense including 209 passing and 142 rushing yards. The Bills are #20 in total offense, #29 in passing and #2 in rushing. Buffalo allows 354 yards per game on defense, including 260 passing and 94 rushing yards. The Bills are #6 in rush defense but #24 against the pass. Buffalo is 42/112 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 41/110. Buffalo has forced 13 sacks and allowed 23 this season. The Bills are +1 in turnovers. Buffalo has two defensive touchdowns and has allowed two as well this season.

Quarterback Tyrod Taylor missed two games with a knee injury, but returned against Miami last week. E.J. Manuel started in his place. Taylor has completed 71.8% of his passes for 1,278 yards with 10 touchdowns and 4 interceptions, and also has 41 carries for 231 yards and 2 touchdowns. Taylor is listed as probable. Manuel has thrown for 561 yards with 3 touchdowns and 3 interceptions along with 15 carries for 58 yards and a touchdown.

Running back LeSean McCoy has 94 carries for 416 yards and 2 touchdowns, along with 13 catches for 130 yards and a touchdown. He is probable with a shoulder injury. Karlos Williams has 51 carries for 336 yards and 5 touchdowns, along with 5 catches and a touchdown. He missed three games with a concussion but returned last week against the Dolphins. Boobie Dixon and Daniel Herron could get some carries. Cierre Wood is out for the season with a knee injury.

The Bills are banged up at receiver. Percy Harvin (hip) and Marquise Goodwin (ribs) are both on injured reserve. Tight end Charles Clay has 35 catches for 356 yards and 2 touchdowns.Watkins has 19 catches for 315 yards and three touchdowns. He is probable with an ankle injury.  Harvin had 19 catches for 218 yards and a touchdown, along with 31 rushing yards. Robert Woods has 26 catches for 295 yards and 2 touchdowns. Chris Hogan has 20 catches for 235 yards and 2 touchdowns.  Four defensive players are listed on the injury report.

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New York is outscoring teams 25-20 this season. The Jets are #11 or better in both categories. New York averages 366 total yards per game including 251 passing and 115 rushing yards. The Jets allow 323 total yards per game including 243 passing and 81 rushing yards. New York is #4 in total defense and leads the league in rush defense. New York is 53/122 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 45/122. New York has forced 17 sacks and allowed 9 this season. The Jets are +7 in turnovers.

Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick has a thumb injury that will eventually require surgery. His is listed as probable though. Fitzpatrick has completed 61.8% of his passes for 1,790 yards with 13 touchdowns and 7 interceptions, along with 30 carries for 124 yards and a touchdown. Geno Smith came in against the Raiders after Fitzpatrick suffered the injury, but Fitzpatrick played the whole game against Jacksonville. Smith threw for 265 yards with 2 touchdowns and an interception, along with 2 carries for 34 yards.

Running back Chris Ivory has 138 carries for 544 yards and 6 touchdowns, along with 14 catches for 120 yards and a touchdown. Bilal Powell has 38 carries for 129 yards, along with 15 catches for 89 yards.He is questionable with an ankle injury. Zac Stacy has 31 carries for 89 yards and a touchdown, along with 9 catches for 65 yards.

Receiver Brandon Marshall has 54 catches for 730 yards and 5 touchdowns. He is questionable with a toe injury.  Eric Decker has 36 catches for 472 yards and 6 touchdowns. Jeremy Kerley has 15 catches for 145 yards and 2 touchdowns. Quincy Enunwa has 8 catches for 94 yards.  Tight ends Jace Amaro and Zach Sudfeld are both on injured reserve. Four defensive backs are listed on the injury report. Kicker Nick Folk is out 4-6 weeks with a quad strain. The Jets worked out four kickers on Monday but haven’t signed one yet as of Tuesday afternoon.

Buffalo is 4-0 ATS on fieldturf, 4-1 against AFC East teams, 8-3 after allowing more than 350 total yards, 7-3 after gaining more than 350 total yards, 2-5-1 in week ten, 5-13 after a straight up win of more than 14 points, 6-19-1 after a straight up win, and 0-4 after a cover. The over is 5-2 in this series recently and the last five games in New Jersey between the teams have gone over the total. The Bills have covered 4 of the last 5 games against the Jets.

New York is 4-0-1 ATS against AFC East teams, 5-1-1 after allowing more than 350 total yards, 4-1 after failing to cover, 4-1-1 after a straight up win, 7-2-1 against AFC teams, 5-2 in Thursday games and at home, 7-3-1 overall, 2-7 after allowing more than 250 passing yards, and 1-6 in November. The home team is 5-1 ATS in this series recently.

Buffalo is finally getting healthy with the return of Taylor, Williams and Watkins. New York struggled against Jacksonville, but has a strong defense. I think this will be a low scoring game and I like the Bills to steal a road win against a division foe.

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