NY Jets (-3.0) 21 Buffalo 14
Neutral Site: Toronto
Buffalo has played better under interim coach Perry Fewell, as the Bills have out-gained their opponents 6.5 yards per play to 4.7 yppl in his two games leading the team. The offensive increase is most likely just random positive variance, although the decision to make Fred Jackson the #1 running back over Marshawn Lynch last week was a good move given that Jackson has averaged 4.1 ypr and Lynch just 3.1 ypr this season.
Buffalo quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick has had a couple of good games in succession since returning to the starting role, as he's hit Terrell Owens for big plays in consecutive weeks.Fitzpatrick, however, is still 0.3 yards per pass play worse than average for the season (5.8 yppp against teams that would allow 6.1 yppp to an average quarterback) and he's much worse than that for his career, so it's likely that the last two weeks are a fluke. Fitzpatrick will certainly have a tougher time maintaining his hot streak against a Jets' secondary that is the NFL's best now that CB Lito Sheppard is healthy again and playing opposite of the league's best cornerback Darrelle Revis.
In 4 games with Sheppard starting the Jets have yielded just 4.1 yppp to quarterbacks that would combine to average 6.1 yppp against an average defense), so I don't expect much from the Bills' pass attack in this game and the mediocre running of Jackson won't be enough for the Bills to mount much of an offense.
New York, meanwhile, should be able to run the ball well against a soft Buffalo run defense (5.0 ypr allowed) and Sanchez has improved since WR Jerricho Cotchery returned from injury to join Braylon Edwards and give Sanchez to solid wideouts to throw to. Sanchez is still worse than average on a yards per pass play perspective in the 4 games with both Cotchery and Edwards (6.5 yppp against teams that would allow 6.6 yppp) and he's averaging 1.5 interceptions per game, although he's thrown 1 or fewer picks in 7 of the 11 games. Buffalo defends the pass well (5.6 yppp allowed to quarterbacks that would average 6.2 yppp against an average defense) and the Bills have intercepted 20 passes in 11 games, so Sanchez needs to be careful. There is no need not to be careful with the Jets' ground attack likely to work well in this game (4.9 ypr projected).
My math model favors New York by 6 1/2 points on this neutral field in Toronto and that makes them a pretty solid play at -3 points, although it's a bit risky given the possibility for multiple interceptions by Sanchez against a ball hawking Bills' secondary. The Jets have a 54.3% chance to cover based on the historical performance of my math model, so I'll lean with New York minus the points.
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