‘Thursday Night Football’ to Help Determine AFC Playoff Picture

Posted on: December 22, 2022, 03:08h. 

Last updated on: December 22, 2022, 01:04h.

The NFL’s Week 16 Thursday Night Football game has two AFC teams looking for ways to sneak into the postseason. The Jacksonville Jaguars head north to visit the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium, where wind and possibly rain could impact performances.

Jacksonville Jaguars
Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Doug Pederson celebrates with QB Trevor Lawrence (16) after the Jags beat the Dallas Cowboys in OT. They face the New York Jets on the road on Thursday in a crucial game with playoff implications for both teams. (Image: Associated Press)

Jacksonville (6-8) played smart in their most recent game, overcoming a few issues to grab a 40-34 win over the Dallas Cowboys in overtime. That was good enough to put them one game behind the Tennessee Titans, the leaders of the AFC South, with four wins in their last six games.

On the other hand, things haven’t been going so well for the Jets. They’re now 7-7 after racking up five losses in their last seven games – one against the Detroit Lions – but are still right behind the Miami Dolphins and LA Chargers in the AFC playoff race.

Jags Hope to Bring the Heat

Jacksonville’s offense has become a more synchronized unit as the season has progressed. Thanks to the talents of running back Travis Etienne and receiver Zay Jones, the Jags have been able to pull off some impressive plays.

  Jaguars Jets
Moneyline +105 -125
Spread +2 (-110) -2 (-110)
Over/under O37.5 (-105) U37.5 (-115)
  Courtesy of DraftKings  

Jones has accumulated 415 receiving yards across his last five games. Etienne has been a consistent driving force, picking up 1,155 yards on the ground and pulling in 27 passes.

QB Trevor Lawrence has found his rhythm, as well. His rookie season last year after being the top draft pick was fraught with errors, but he’s improving this year.

Last Sunday against the Cowboys, Lawrence threw for 318 yards and he’s picked up almost 1,700 yards in the last six games. To that, he has added 14 TDs, and his success has been enough to put him at the top of the list in passer rating with 111.2.

The Jags’ offense is sixth in the NFL in terms of total yards, averaging 377 per game. However, the defense has had a few issues recently. Stopping an aerial attack has been difficult, which the Jets will take advantage of on Thursday.

Jets Content in Own Backyard

The Jets have lost three in a row, and their seven losses on the season put their playoff chances in jeopardy. New York is in last place in the AFC East, but a win against the Jags and a combination of results from the New England Patriots and Miami would put them back in contention.

The Jets’ defense has been holding its own lately. It gave up just 20 points in consecutive games against the Buffalo Bills and Lions, despite the breakdown at the end of the Lions contest.

The defense ranks in the top five in both total yards and passing yards allowed. Sauce Gardner, the cornerback who has become an unstoppable rookie, has dominated repeatedly, picking up two INTs and batting down 16 passes.

The all-time series between these two is tied at 8-8, but New York won the last meeting, 26-21 at home. With another home game coming, they’ll look to pull ahead in the series. But it won’t be an easy victory.

The sportsbooks couldn’t have this game more evenly matched. Recent improvements made by the Jags give them the nod in what should be an exciting game to watch.

These two teams have a history of seeing the total going over, and tonight’s over/under might be a little low. The over has hit for the Jags in four of their last five, and four in a row. When on the road, the over hit in eight of the past nine games.

The Jets have seen the under in more than a few of their games. Thursdays have been an exception, however, with the over going 5-1 for their Thursday Night Football matchups.

In the Jags-Jets series, the over has won in five of the last five games. Backing the over here makes sense for a little Christmas bonus.