How Good are the Jets
Wayne Root: How Good are the Jets?
I spent a lot of time talking to you early in the season about the New York area NFL teams. So, you know WAYNE ALLYN ROOT is really geared up for this week's Thursday night game matching the Buffalo Bills and the New York Jets. (I'll talk about the NY Giants in a couple of days to get you ready for their big game Sunday against the New England Patriots). To me, the biggest question right now about the Thursday nighter is "just how good are the Jets?"
The Jets are 5-3 in the standings...looking at 6-3 if they win as field goal favorites over the Bills. That would make them a virtual lock already for a Wildcard spot in the AFC because the rest of the schedule is fairly light...and most of the other Wildcard threats are around the .500 mark. Having a 6-3 record on the way to 10-6 or 11-5 sounds great. But, are the Jets really that good?
I don't think they are. Imagine a team that's basically 7-9 caliber...but they face a schedule that's entirely 4-12 caliber teams. They're going to seem like a juggernaut because of that one-year schedule quirk. It's not quite that extreme for the Jets in 2015. But...this just isn't an 11-5 type team!
In this year's schedule rotation...
*The Jets drew the AFC South, the worst division in the NFL
*The Jets drew the NFC East, another bad division
*The Jets drew a "last place" schedule, getting them games with Cleveland and Oakland in the AFC
That plus their six divisional games (two games apiece vs. New England, Buffalo, and Miami) accounts for their 16 games.
Their wins so far are over Cleveland (2-7), Indianapolis (4-5), Miami (3-5), Washington (3-5, and Jacksonville (2-6). Both Indianapolis and Miami were playing worse at the time than those records would suggest because of turmoil on the sidelines. It's been a GIFT schedule!
Their losses so far are to New England (current Super Bowl favorite with an 8-0 record), Philadelphia (4-4), and Oakland (4-4).
That's pretty much a 7-9 team if you think about it. The Jets can't beat anyone at .500 or better, but they beat teams who are worse than .500.
Buffalo enters the game at 4-4 themselves...which is right on the target. The Jets will enjoy home field, and some "revenge" against their former head coach who wore out his welcome with the franchise. So...this could be the first victory for NYJ this season against an opponent that's currently at .500 or better. (Of course, the Bills would fall below .500 if they lose!) I might be on the Jets Thursday even if I'm realistic about where they stand in the big picture.
In a down year in the AFC...and across the NFL frankly...the Jets are likely to sneak into the playoffs where they would be clear underdogs in any meeting with New England, Cincinnati, or Denver. I wouldn't like their chances against Pittsburgh if Ben Roethlisberger is healthy by mid-December. As a native New Yorker, it's fun for me to see the team in the hunt. In January, they'll be the hunted and will need to play great defense and enjoy a few breaks to last more than one game.
A quick comparison for this Thursday nighter...
DEFENSE: The Jets have the better defense...which is clearly a slam against former coach Rex Ryan! Todd Bowles has done a great job on this side of the ball, his specialty. Granting it's come against a soft schedule...the Jets have allowed only 5.1 yards-per-play this season while earning 19 takeaways. Buffalo's pretty good on defense...but the Jets are on the short list of elite stop units.
OFFENSE: Buffalo is better here, averaging 5.7 yards-per-play to just 5.4 for the Jets. The ground attack has been impressive...with the Bills near the top of the league in rushing yards per game. Tyrod Taylor is a threat with his legs at quarterback, but still has to figure out how to move the chains on command.
On the whole...these are pretty even teams. The Jets use the "great defense-game manager at quarterback" approach to compete every week. Buffalo has to make a few more plays on offense because the defense isn't quite elite. The market sees the teams as even given that the pointspread is right on the traditional value of home field advantage.
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See you in a couple of days to talk about the other Gotham team...the G-men...as they prepare for the Patriots. This particular November is one of the greatest sports betting months I've ever seen in terms of opportunity. I hope you won my PINNACLE plays with me last week on Nebraska outright over Michigan State, and Indianapolis outright over the Denver Broncos.
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