New York Jets vs. Denver Broncos: Prediction, preview, pick to win

By The Sports Xchange
Bilal Powell and the New York Jets face the Denver Broncos on Sunday. Photo by Terry Schmitt/UPI
Bilal Powell and the New York Jets face the Denver Broncos on Sunday. Photo by Terry Schmitt/UPI | License Photo




KICKOFF: Sunday, 4:05 p.m. ET, Sports Authority Field at Mile High. TV: CBS, Greg Gumbel, Trent Green, Jamie Erdahl (field reporter).

SERIES HISTORY: 35th regular-season meeting. Broncos lead series, 18-15-1. The Broncos have won four of the last five. The most historic meeting was on Jan. 17, 1999, when the Broncos won 23-10 in the AFC Championship Game in John Elway's final home game.

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KEYS TO THE GAME: Possession was nine-tenths of the law for the Jets in their win over the Chiefs last week, as they called 49 running plays and held the football for 42:49, countering the Chiefs' big-play ability with time-consuming marches bolstered by a 65 percent success rate on third downs.


They will try to replicate that against a Broncos defense that buckled against the run last week without Derek Wolfe and Domata Peko.

Despite the team's struggles, Denver's defense remains stout, as it allows 296 yards per game, which is the fifth fewest in the league. Still, the Broncos allow the second-most points (26.3 per game), which means their offense usually gives up a short field.

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The Jets average just 17.4 points on the road, compared to 25.5 at home. If the Jets can take their air show on the road, they should be in business.

Denver showed potential early in its loss to Miami when it came out running the football, but got away from it after being stuffed for no gain on its fourth snap following three handoffs to C.J. Anderson that picked up 21 yards -- all of which got six yards or more.

For the Jets' defense, it's all about getting interceptions. Broncos quarterbacks have thrown 14 interceptions during their eight-game losing streak, including nine from current starter Trevor Siemian. The Jets have 10 interceptions, but none the last two weeks. They have to break that skid to win.



--Jets RBs Bilal Powell and Matt Forte vs. Broncos' front seven. Forte and Powell combined for 106 yards on 33 carries last week as the Jets pounded away at the Chiefs, running the ball 49 times. Denver's defensive line will play the rest of the season without the injured Derek Wolfe and could be without nose tackle Domata Peko for this game. With Wolfe and Peko out last week, the Broncos allowed Miami's Kenyan Drake to rush for 120 yards, including a 42-yard touchdown gallop in the third quarter that effectively put the game out of reach.

--Broncos QB Trevor Siemian vs. Jets' secondary. New York has just one interception in its last five games, but at one point in the season was on a pick tear, intercepting nine passes in Weeks 3-7. Siemian has thrown three interceptions in each of his last two starts -- last week at Miami and in Week 8 at Kansas City -- and has a 5-to-11 touchdown-to-interception ratio since Week 3.



--Out: LB Bruce Carter (groin)

--Questionable: RB Matt Forte (knee), G Brian Winters (abdomen, ankle)



--Out: G Ronald Leary (back), QB Paxton Lynch (ankle)

--Questionable: DE Adam Gotsis (illness), DT Domata Peko (knee), WR Emmanuel Sanders (ankle)

PLAYER SPOTLIGHT: Jets WR Jermaine Kearse. He had a bit of a midseason slump but has really stepped up his game the last two weeks, with 16 catches for 262 yards and a touchdown. He and Robby Anderson are the first Jets to have back-to-back 100-yard receiving games since Don Maynard and the late George Sauer in 1967. Kearse has a career-high 51 catches, and his 677 yards are eight shy of a career-high. His five touchdowns are tied for a career-high.

FAST FACTS: Jets QB Josh McCown threw for 331 yards and ran for two scores in Week 13. He is tied for the lead among NFL QBs with five rushing TDs. ... RB Bilal Powell leads New York with 502 rushing yards. His 4.88-yard average per carry since 2016 is the second-highest in the NFL (minimum 200 rushes). ... RB Matt Forte has a rushing and receiving TD in eight consecutive seasons, tied for fourth-longest streak in NFL history. ... WR Robby Anderson caught eight passes for 107 yards last week, his second straight 100-yard game. He also has six touchdowns in his past six games. ... Denver RB C.J. Anderson had 110 scrimmage yards (67 rushing) last week. In his past 10 games at home, he has 883 scrimmage yards and seven TDs. ... WR Demaryius Thomas aims for a third straight home game with a TD. He caught 10 balls for 124 yards and a TD in the last meeting and has scored in two of the past three games vs. the Jets. ... LB Von Miller had two sacks in the last meeting and has 3.5 sacks and five tackles for loss in the past two vs. the Jets. ... CB Aqib Talib returned an interception for a TD in the last game vs. New York and has three interceptions in his past two games against the Jets.


PREDICTION: The Jets are 1-4 on the road (the win at Cleveland), but the Broncos can't stop shooting themselves in the feet.

OUR PICK: Jets, 27-13.

--Chris Cluff

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