There’s no game I hate more this week than Jets-Bucs, and not from a viewing standpoint. I think that both teams have opportunistic defenses, but the matchup of Kellen Clemens and Josh Freeman doesn’t really have any solid metrics to measure out a good game by the numbers. Tampa is looking for just its second win of the season, while the Jets need to keep winning and count on some Miami losses to stay in the playoff hunt. This could be a vengeance game for Clemens, who’s lost the starting job to an imported Brett Favre and rookie Dirty Sanchez. Yet the Jets are hardly a bet worth taking on the road.
Let’s crunch the numbers first. The Jets are 8-15 SU on the road, and just 3-6 ATS in their last 9 games. They’re also just 2-3 ATS on the road this season, and have a backup quarterback in the wings and a depleted offense and defense thanks to injuries. The only things that travel well for the Jets are their vaunted pass defense (3rd in the league) led by Darrelle Revis and Thomas Jones, who leads the best road rushing offense in the league. Surprisingly, the Jets rank 1st overall with 188.2 rush yards on the road.
Tampa has been miserable all season, and plenty of that has to do with the enduring of growing pains with rookie quarterback Josh Freeman. Yet against the betting line they’ve gone 3-2 ATS in their last 5 games despite a 1-4 SU record. At home, they’re 1-8 ATS in their last 9 games and winless against the Jets in their past five games in the series. Yet none of that takes in to consideration the fact that Tampa plays pretty damn well at home, and that the crowd rallies behind them whenever they gain momentum.
New York Jets (6-6) vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-11) >> Join Now to Bet!
Sunday, December 13th --- Raymond James Stadium, Tampa --- 1:00pm EST
NFL Betting Line: NYJ -3 (37)
The dark horse x-factor in this game is Antonio Bryant, who has shown flashes of brilliance this season. He makes remarkable catches, and fantasy owners of his sternly remember his incredible performances last December. In the last two games he has 8 catches for a blistering 207 receiving yards and a touchdown. In the last four games of last season, Bryant averaged 128-yards per game and had four touchdowns. He’s poised to relive those glory days, but will have to deal with the best coverage man in all of football with Revis getting the call again on Sunday.
Freeman had a bad game against New Orleans in Week 11, throwing three picks and completing just 51.5 percent of his passes. He bounced back with a stellar performance against the Falcons the following week with a line of 20-of-29 , 250 yards and 2 touchdowns. It’s very tough to get a read on Freeman, but the guy hasn’t put together two terrible games yet.
However, this game comes back to Clemens, who is simply not a reliable player at all. He hasn’t played a full game of football in two years, and his last game was an overtime stinker against Kansas in 2007 where he went 13-of-25 for 115 yards and a score. Excuse me if I’m not titillated by those facts.
The Jets can play serious football, but they just haven’t proven it down the stretch. Injuries and a backup quarterback have me plenty worried about the Jets…more so than I’m worried about Freeman and the Bucs.