NEW YORK JETS (4-5) AT TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS (2-6)
SERIES HISTORY: 12th regular-season meeting. Jets lead series, 10-1. The Bucs' lone win came in 1984, when they beat the Jets 41-21 in Tampa. It was John McKay's final game in his nine-year run with the Bucs, and the final game for Lee Roy Selmon. The Bucs essentially let the Jets score late in the game in a failed attempt to get James Wilder the NFL record for most yards from scrimmage in a season. Since then, the Jets have won eight straight against Tampa Bay. The last meeting was an 18-17 Jets win in the 2013 season opener. Five of the Jets' last eight wins against the Bucs have been by four points or less.
KEYS TO THE GAME: The Buccaneers have an atrocious pass defense; they allow 272 yards per game, third worst in the league, and have a league-low eight sacks. That should give Jets quarterback Josh McCown plenty of time to survey the field and find Robby Anderson, Austin Seferian-Jenkins and Jermaine Kearse for big gains. McCown is an AFC-best 70.4 percent passer (193 of 274) this season.
Defensively, the Jets could give their old quarterback fits if they continue the stellar pass rush they showed in a win over the Bills last week. Ryan Fitzpatrick, in for an ailing Jameis Winston, is still mobile at 34 years old, but not as mobile as Tyrod Taylor, and the Jets befuddled the latter by blitzing on 75 percent of his dropbacks. Also, in 17 games Fitz has played the last two seasons, he has turned the ball over 20 times and fumbled another eight that his team recovered. As such, the key for Tampa Bay will be trying to get the football out of Fitzpatrick's hands.
Fitzpatrick will do a better job than Winston at checking the football down to his running backs and tight ends. He nearly threw for 300 yards and three touchdowns in a mop-up role a few weeks ago at Arizona.
MATCHUPS TO WATCH:
--Jets RG Brian Winters vs. Bucs DT Gerald McCoy. The Bucs don't have much of a pass rush, but the five-time Pro Bowler McCoy is generally their biggest disruptor at the line of scrimmage. He has just two sacks and one pass batted down this season, but he could give trouble to Winters, who has struggled with penalties this season. Winters didn't practice Wednesday, but he is expected to play Sunday.
--Bucs WR DeSean Jackson vs. Jets CB Morris Claiborne. It's unclear whether Claiborne, the Jets' best cover man, will return after missing Thursday's game against the Bills due to a foot injury. If he does, he'll likely spend a lot of time chasing the speedy Jackson around the field. The 30-year-old signed with the Bucs in the offseason and has 27 catches for 422 yards and two touchdowns in eight games. He'll likely see more targets, with Mike Evans suspended for this game.
PLAYER SPOTLIGHT: Buccaneers WR Chris Godwin. He had an outstanding offseason and training camp. But, with a logjam at receiver, he has played mostly on special teams. Until now. With Mike Evans suspended, Godwin will replace him in the lineup. The Bucs likely will feature DeSean Jackson and tight ends Cameron Brate and O.J. Howard, but the Jets had better not lose track of Godwin.
FAST FACTS: Jets QB Josh McCown started 11 games for Tampa Bay in 2014. He has six TD passes and one INT for a 112.8 rating in his past three games. He is aiming for his fourth game in a row with a 100-plus rating. ... Jets RB Matt Forte ran for two touchdowns in the win over Buffalo, his first two scores of the year. It was his first game with two rushing touchdowns since Week 8 in Cleveland last season, and it was his first home game with multiple scores on the ground since 2014 against the Bucs. In four career meetings with the Bucs, he has 527 scrimmage yards (131.8 per game) with four TDs. ... Jets WR Robby Anderson had a TD catch in Week 9. He aims for his fourth game in a row with a receiving TD. ... Jets TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins played 18 games for Tampa Bay (2014-16) and recorded seven TD catches. ... Jets LB Jordan Jenkins had two sacks and a forced fumble in Week 9, his first career multi-sack game. ... Jets LB Demario Davis is the only NFL player with 70-plus tackles (75) and 3-plus sacks (3.5). ... The Buccaneers have lost five straight for the first time since 2014, when Josh McCown was their quarterback. They went 2-14 that season and used the No. 1 overall pick on Jameis Winston. ... Buccaneers QB Ryan Fitzpatrick spent two seasons with the Jets (2015-16) and had a team-record 31 TD passes in 2015. This will be his first start since Week 17 of last season, when he led the Jets to a 30-10 victory over the Bills. Fitzpatrick will be starting a game for his seventh team, tying Chris Chandler and Gus Frerotte for the most all-time. ... Bucs WR DeSean Jackson has 16 receptions for 332 yards (110.7 per game) and a TD in his past three games vs. the AFC East. ... Bucs TE Cameron Brate aims for his third game in a row at home vs. AFC with a TD catch. Since 2016, he leads NFL TEs with 12 receiving TDs.
PREDICTION: Both Fitzpatrick and McCown have a little more incentive this week facing their old teams, but McCown has better talent around him.
OUR PICK: Jets, 27-16.