The New York Jets put together one of their most productive bye weeks in recent memory. By not playing, they tightened their grip on the final playoff spot in the AFC. It sounds comical but it is true. The Tennessee Titans, who hold a tie-breaker over them, lost to the previously win-less Jacksonville Jaguars and then fell again last night to the Indianapolis Colts. At 4-6, with road trips still left to Denver and Indy, they seem to be out of the mix, especially with starting quarterback Jake Locker suffering a season ending injury.
San Diego? They seemed feisty but after losing to Denver, they dropped to 4-5 and with another game left in Denver and two games against the still undefeated Chiefs. You can just about write them off at this point. Miami is in full circus mode. Their offensive line is a mess and they just let Greg Schiano beat them. At 4-5 they aren’t dead but a rally from doesn’t seem likely.The Jets primary threats at this point are likely Baltimore and Cleveland. Both teams currently sit at 4-5. Cleveland has an enormous game with Cincinnati this week which could potentially open up the AFC North race, while the Ravens face off against the Bears before hosting the Jets in a critical game next week.
The table is set for the Jets. Their final seven games have their challenges but they are manageable. There is no excuse for a loss this week in Buffalo. The Bills will be without their top two wide receivers, Stevie Johnson and Robert Woods and have a rusty EJ Manuel under center. They have a golden opportunity to seize control of the 6 seed race and potentially get right back into the AFC East race if New England stumbles in Carolina.
In-house, the Jets got better over the bye week. Their best overall wide receiver and tight end are back on the active roster, Santonio Holmes and Kellen Winslow Jr. The veterans will give quarterback Geno Smith two needed reliable targets down the stretch. They also added Ed Reed to the back end of their defense, which was a savvy, low-risk move with the potential to pay big dividends.
It should be reiterated that nobody expects Reed to be his vintage Hall of Fame self. The Jets don’t need that. They have two competent starters at safety. What the Jets do need is a situational weapon to improve their ball-hawking and create occasional big plays, which I think Reed is capable of at this point. Forget the off field value, which is plentiful. Reed brings more value to the Jets safety rotation than Jaiquawn Jarrett and Josh Bush, without question.I know “this is the JETS” and you can never be too comfortable heading into a game or allow yourself to have high expectations. Yet, let’s call it what it is. Looking at the AFC right now and looking at both the Jets roster and remaining schedule, they should be a playoff team.
But how about this Sunday? Let’s crack into the 12 Pack…
1. Chris Ivory is going to run for 100 yards for the second straight game and also score his second touchdown the season.
2. EJ Manuel will throw for less than 200 yards, be sacked three times and have two turnovers.3. Geno Smith will throw for 210 yards, rush for 30 yards, throw one touchdown and have one turnover.
4. Santonio Holmes will have three receptions in his return to the line-up, so will Kellen Winslow Jr.
5. Muhammad Wilkerson will have his ninth sack of the season. Quinton Coples will grab a sack as well.
6. Stephen Hill will have two receptions for 35 yards.
7. CJ Spiller will have less than 70 yards of total offense.
8. Fred Jackson will have less than 70 yards of total offense.
9. Nick Folk will knock through two more field goals and remain perfect on the season.
10. Ed Reed will have at least one notable play in his Jets debut and play a total of somewhere between 20-25 snaps.
11. David Nelson will have four receptions in his return to Buffalo, including a few key first downs.
12. The Jets will beat the Bills 20-7, led by a dominant performance from their defense.