Expect a very low-scoring game from MetLife Stadium as Jacksonville visits the Jets, with New York not sure who its QB is. The Jets opened as -2.5 on NFL odds with a total of 40, but that may change.
Jags' Bradley Safe For Now
We had our second NFL coach fired this season Tuesday in Arizona's Ken Whisenhunt as he joined former Dolphins coach Joe Philbin on the unemployment line. I'm not sure if Jacksonville's Gus Bradley would still be employed right now had his Jaguars (2-5) not beaten injury-ravaged Buffalo 34-31 in London in Week 7. That was the first NFL game streamed live on Yahoo. Jacksonville jumped out to a 27-3 lead thanks to a Chris Clemson 6-yard fumble return for a score and Telvin Smith's 26-yard interception return for a TD.
The Bills fought back to take a 31-27 lead with just over five minutes left when a Blake Bortles pass was returned 44 yards for a touchdown. But Bortles hit Allen Hurns for a 31-yard winning score with 2:16 remaining. It was a very ugly game with five total turnovers; the Jags forced four and also had four sacks. Bortles finished 13-for-29 for 182 yards, two scores and a pick. Rookie T.J. Yeldon carried 20 times for 115 yards and a touchdown.
As with all teams who play in London, the Jaguars thus come off their bye week so they should be fairly healthy. Although it doesn't seem like receiver Marqise Lee will make his return this week from a hamstring injury. He hasn't played since Week 3 against New England. He has missed eight games because of injuries since the Jaguars drafted him in the second round in 2014, largely because of hamstring issues. The Jaguars are also sticking with rookie kicker Jason Myers even though he has missed three extra points this season, including one vs. Buffalo.
Don't laugh, but with how sad the AFC South is, the Jaguars could win the division. They are just a half-game behind leaders Indianapolis and Houston. After the Jets, the Jags face just one team currently with a winning record: Atlanta in Week 15. They face the lousy Titans twice still.
Jacksonville is 3-4 against the spread on NFL odds and 5-2 'over/under.'
Fitzpatrick, Smith Or Petty?
Most sportsbooks don't have a line on this game yet because, as of this writing, it's completely up in the air who will start under center for the Jets. In last week's 34-20 loss in Oakland, starter Ryan Fitzpatrick suffered ligament damage in his non-throwing (left) hand. It will require surgery eventually but Fitzpatrick may be able to put it off until after the season, and he hasn't been ruled out yet. Handing the ball off and taking snaps under center would be a potential problem.
Former starter Geno Smith replaced Fitzpatrick against the Raiders and played pretty well, completing 27-for-42 for 265 yards, two TDs and one pick. But he suffered a left (non-throwing) shoulder injury. Smith hasn't been ruled out, either, but Coach Todd Bowles said the Jets are preparing to suit up without either quarterback. Thus rookie Bryce Petty, a fourth-round project out of Baylor, might get the call. The team might also sign a free agent like Matt Flynn, who was with the team in camp. But any new QB wouldn't be expected to start, even over the rookie Petty. It's also not clear yet if receiver Brandon Marshall, who is having a big season, will play. He is dealing with toe and ankle injuries.
The Jets had the NFL's best defense for a while there but it has fallen apart the past two weeks in allowing 34 points to the Raiders (not really understandable) and 30 the week prior to New England (very understandable). Guys not named Darrelle Revis are struggling in pass coverage. The Jets' blitz also isn't getting much pressure as the team hasn't forced a turnover in the past two.
New York is 4-2-1 ATS on NFL picks and 4-3 O/U.
New York won in Jacksonville 17-10 on Dec. 9, 2012 -- New York's final victory that season. Shonn Greene (no longer with Jets) and Bilal Powell combined for 155 yards rushing. Mark Sanchez (now with Eagles) was 12-for-19 for 111 yards. Chad Henne was the Jags' starting QB that day and was 21-for-43 for 185 yards and two picks. The Jets have won two straight in the series overall.
NFL Free Picks: I think either Fitzpatrick or Smith will play. If that's the case, give the points. If it's Petty, I'd take them. Go 'UNDER' regardless. The Jags are 6-2 ATS in their past eight vs. the AFC. The Jets are 5-1 ATS in their past six at home. The 'UNDER' is 4-1 in the Jets' past five in November.
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