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Submitted by Jim Hurley on Wednesday, November 11, 2015 at 7:00 AM

It was already going to be a fun game to watch because Rex Ryan was making his first return trip to the Meadowlands as the new coach of the Buffalo Bills. Todd Bowles and the Jets…fans of both teams…and pretty much any football fan in the tri-state area had this game circled before the season started.

But…NOW…it’s also a huge game in the Wildcard race. Neither the Bills nor Jets have a legitimate chance of chasing down the New England Patriots at the top of the AFC East unless Tom Brady gets hurt. The Pats are that much better than everyone else. At least one…and possibly both of Thursday’s rivalry entries could end up playing in January as Wildcards…


AFC Wildcard Standings (top 2 teams qualify)

NY Jets 5-3

Pittsburgh 5-4

Buffalo 4-4

Oakland 4-4

Houston 3-5

Kansas City 3-5

The Jets currently lead the field thanks to some surprisingly bad records for perennial contenders like Baltimore and San Diego. A win here would push them to 6-3…putting them in GREAT shape to earn at least one of the two berths. But…there’s room for TWO at the top…and Pittsburgh’s become a big question mark with the latest Ben Roethlisberger injury. Plus, Oakland is far from a sure thing to stay in the hunt given their inexperience at head coach and quarterback. Houston? They’re not playing well enough to scare anybody. Buffalo would also be in great shape with a win…and both teams will stay in the discussion for at least a few more weeks no matter what happens.

So, what’s going to happen? Let’s see what JIM HURLEY’S key indicator stats have to say about this week’s Thursday night game on the NFL Network…


Won-Lost Records (Strength of Schedule)

Buffalo: 4-4 (#22 ranked schedule according to Sagarin)

NY Jets: 5-3 (#17 ranked schedule according to Sagarin)

The Jets have the better record against the slightly tougher schedule. Though, Buffalo lost their starting quarterback for awhile…which is a meaningful extenuating circumstance. At full strength…a pair of competitive teams with their new head coaches.



Buffalo: 5.7 on offense, 5.4 on defense

NY Jets: 5.4 on offense, 5.1 on defense

Both teams are at +0.3 in differential. The Jets have the better defense, though both are decent. Buffalo has the better offense, though neither are particularly explosive. Basically…Wildcard material once you consider strength of schedule. Championship material? Hard to see that.


Turnover Differential

Buffalo: +1

NY Jets: +7

The Jets have done a much better job of earning takeaways. They lead the category 19-12, and that’s doing the heavy lifting in the overall differential. For now…you’d have to say that Bowles is the better defensive mind! Against a slightly tougher schedule, the Jets are winning yards-per-play defense and impact plays. If you believe that defense is a tie-breaker in evenly matched rivalry games…that edge is going to the hometown Jets so far.


Market Performance

Buffalo: 4-4 ATS

NY Jets: 4-3-1 ATS

Both are playing slightly better than was expected in the Preseason. But the markets have largely been in synch with each so far. Both teams got on the map early with statement-making victories. That alerted oddsmakers who made fast adjustments.


Current Line: NY Jets by 3, total of 43
The opener of Jets -3.5 was bet down to the key number of three. It will be interesting to see what happens between now and kickoff around that vital spread. Our numbers are showing a slight neutral field edge to the Jets. But, home field advantage in divisional games is often only worth 2.5 points rather than three. And, it’s not like Rex Ryan is oblivious to the impact of game conditions on the players. Could be a real treat for sports fans…a Thursday nighter that’s a big deal in the playoff picture featuring teams who hate each other!

JIM HURLEY is certainly looking forward to it. His New York area sources are unsurpassed when it comes to finding winning information. You can purchase the “right” play here (side or total) plus great game-day releases every night with your credit card. If you have any questions about extended service, call us in the office at 1-888-777-4155 during normal business hours between now and Thursday’s kickoff. Include the NBA with any football package to magnify your winnings!

Coming up in the NOTEBOOK…

*College Football TV Preview…#3 Alabama at #20 Mississippi State

*NFL Sunday Night TV Preview…Arizona at Seattle

*NFL Monday Night TV Preview…Houston at Cincinnati

*NFL Thursday Night TV Preview…Tennessee at Jacksonville

Hey! Enjoy Buffalo/NY Jets because next Thursday’s NFL game is going to be Tennessee/Jacksonville! OUCH! Great stuff this weekend though as Alabama tries to avoid a letdown at a very dangerous site. And then Sunday night’s game is a budding rivalry in the NFC West featuring the new kids on the block from Arizona visiting two-time defending conference champion Seattle.

Big games…big money…with the biggest name in football handicapping…JIM HURLEY!


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Jim Hurley on twitter @vsm_hurley

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