According to the NFL odds, all three teams from the Empire State are expected to finish around .500 this year. Which member of this threesome will outperform the others?
The 2014 season was largely forgettable for football fans in the State of New York. Okay, technically the New York Giants and New York Jets are based in New Jersey. And the Buffalo Bills played one of their eight regular-season games in Canada. Never mind all that; the Bills put the kibosh on the Toronto Series, and all three teams expect better results in 2015.
The football odds agree for the most part. At press time, the Bills and Giants are looking at a total of 8.5 regular-season wins for 2015, while the Jets are a small step behind at 7.5 games. Which of the three Empire State clubs will rule the roost this year? Ah, probably the Giants. But let's look at all three teams anyway.
The G-Men (6-10 SU, 7-9 ATS last year) have easily been the most successful franchise of the three. They've won two Super Bowls in the Tom Coughlin-Eli Manning Era, upsetting the New England Patriots both times. So it's been very strange indeed to see Big Blue finish under .500 in back-to-back seasons. Injuries had quite a lot to do with it; the Giants were fifth in the league last year in man games lost, and seventh in 2013. Getting a full season out of WR Victor Cruz (86 catches, 10 TDs in 2012) would be nice. Former Patriots RB Shane Vereen (4.1 yards per carry, 52 catches) should help, too.
Leonard Part 6
It's been slim pickings for the Jets (4-12 SU, 6-9-1 ATS) ever since they made back-to-back AFC title games in 2009 and 2010. But a complete front-office overhaul seems to have put Gang Green back on the right track. New GM Mike Maccagnan has 25 years of scouting experience under his belt, and new head coach Todd Bowles was named 2014 Assistant Coach of the Year for his work as defensive coordinator with the Arizona Cardinals. As for the team itself, there's a ton of new talent on the hoof, including this year's No. 6 overall pick, DE Leonard Williams from USC, whom many draftniks had at the top of their charts.
The Bills (9-7 SU and ATS) finally finished above .500 for the first time since 2004, but has the organization taken a step back since Kim and Terrence Pegula bought the team last year? They lost head coach Doug Marrone to a contract loophole and hired Jets castoff Rex Ryan, although it's difficult to blame Ryan for what happened in East Rutherford. And this year's QB competition boils down to EJ Manuel, Matt Cassel and Tyrod Taylor, after Kyle Orton decided to retire with one year left on his contract. But hey, at least the Bills don't have to play in Toronto anymore – until they move the whole franchise north, that is.