I’m trying not to overthink the whole “short rest” thing. After all, the Broncos have had only a few more hours to prepare than the Jets have, and I just don’t understand how spending a few hours in the air on a chartered plane could significantly hurt a team’s chances. That said, our pal Joe Fortenbaugh relays this crazy tidbit:
Over the previous 15 seasons, teams that had to travel 1,500-plus miles to play a midseason Thursday game on super-short rest have gone 0-10 against the line and straight up, losing by an average of 19.7 points a game.
It so happens that the Jets are travelling 1,600 miles to play a midseason Thursday game against a very tricky and unorthodox offense and an increasingly aggressive defense. So count me as concerned.
Losing to the Patriots might have been a good thing for the Jets’ chances this week. I figure they’d be more likely to accidentally overlook the Broncos following a big win against a rival in prime time, but now New York might be a little more panicked. And let’s face it: they’re still a much better team than Denver.
The Broncos’ run-oriented veer offense has confused three of their last four opponents just enough that they’ve been able to have success in the Tim Tebow era, but the last time Tebow faced a front seven as strong as New York’s, the Broncos were crushed by the Detroit Lions. They’ve yet to face a defense this good, and it’s highly unlikely Tebow will be able to rope-a-dope the Jets and their experienced corners. And without Knowshon Moreno and with Willis McGahee less than 100 percent, it won’t be easy to run on a defense that ranked third in the league in 2010 and has looked just as strong in recent weeks.
So I like the Jets, but I just can’t see New York winning big under these circumstances. The Broncos defense has been stellar as of late, recording 12 sacks in the four games since Tebow took over. Against a Jets team that had some protection issues Sunday night against New England, Von Miller and Elvis Dumervil should be big factors.
The Broncos should keep it close, but the better team should prevail.
GLS prediction: Jets 24, Broncos 20