JETS (0-1) AT BILLS (0-1), 8:25 p.m.
TV: Ch. 2, NFL; Radio: ESPN (98.7)
Jets by 1 1⁄2; O/U: 40
The last time the Jets traveled to Buffalo, the goal was simple: Win and you’re in the playoffs. Tonight, 256 days later, it’s as follows: Don’t win . . . and you’re in big trouble.
Usually I would laugh at anyone suggesting a Week 2 game is a must-win, but in this case, I’m buying it. If the Jets fall to 0-2, this season’s Week 17 matchup with Buffalo won’t have playoff implications. The Jets’ next five games are against the Chiefs, Seahawks, Steelers, Cardinals and Ravens. Add two games against the Patriots and you might as well cue the Jim Mora “Playoffs?!” video.
If Jets fans are still reading, here’s the good news: They’re not going to be 0-2. The Jets will get revenge from last season’s sweep, which included a Thursday night defeat.
Based on their rosters, and Week 1 performances, the Jets are the more talented team. They should’ve beaten the Bengals, but were done in by a blocked field goal, missed extra point and some big giveaways on Revis Island. What stood out to me most was the Jets’ relentless defensive line. It’s rare that a team can lose a game in which it has seven sacks. More good news: An already dominant D-line gets back Sheldon Richardson Thursday night.
The Ravens gave Tyrod Taylor fits in Week 1, limiting him to 111 yards passing and 11 yards on five carries. I expect the Jets’ front seven to have just as much success, if not more. They have an added advantage in that they can watch tape from their two meetings from last season and make the necessary adjustments.
If the Jets can frustrate Taylor and limit big passing plays (we’re looking at you, Darrelle Revis), they’ll win. Revis’ pride, plus Sammy Watkins’ hurting foot, is another reason to favor the Jets.
The Bills opened as 2 1⁄2-point favorites and the line quickly dropped. Now the Jets are favored, and I expect the line to increase before kickoff. Sorry, Rex Ryan, but your former team is better than your current team, and it will show Thursday night.
The pick: Jets
BOB GLAUBER: Jets
TOM ROCK: Bills
KIMBERLEY A. MARTIN: Jets