Monday Night Football Preview: Two Helpings of Football
It's a scenario we are normally only blessed with once a year. Mother Nature being a mean, spiteful beast has given us a pair of games on Monday night over which we can drool instead of being productive during the day.
One of these games involves two very interesting teams in the New Orleans Saints and the Baltimore Ravens. The other involves a team that hasn't made the playoffs since 1999 in the Buffalo Bills and a team that hasn't been above .500 since 2010 in the New York Jets. Minor difference in the two match-ups.
New York Jets vs. Buffalo Bills
Can Kyle Orton Exploit the Jets' Secondary?
Back on October 26th, the Jets couldn't handle The Neckbeard. Kyle Orton threw for 238 yards, 4 touchdowns, and no interceptions on just 17 attempts. This aided the Bills in a 43-23 throttling of the Jets that brought Buffalo to 5-3 on the year and 3-1 in Orton's four starts.
Things have not gone as swimmingly since then. The Bills have scored 22 points in two games, losing both to fall back to .500 on the year. Orton has averaged 5.19 yards per attempt while throwing just one touchdown. A re-match with Gang Green couldn't have come at a better time.
Since taking over for E.J. Manuel, Orton has been about as average as humanly possible. Of the 31 players that had dropped back at least 200 times entering Week 12, Orton ranked 21st in Passing Net Expected Points (NEP) per play, a metric we use here at numberFire to track quarterback efficiency.
Overall, Orton has a Passing NEP of 10.74 on 248 drop backs. Through his 137 drop backs, Manuel had a Passing NEP of -0.05, so it does seem like the quarterback change was positive for the team in the short run. But will that translate into success tonight?
As Orton showed earlier, the Jets' pass defense hates happiness. They rank 22nd in Adjusted Defensive Passing NEP per play, which is adjusted for strength of schedule. You can see all of the rankings on our power rankings page. They have allowed 25 touchdowns to just 3 interceptions. They are morphing opposing quarterbacks into Aaron Rodgers on a weekly basis.
Our projections don't exactly see that happening this week, though. Orton is slated for 274.20 yards on 39.36 attempts (6.97 yards per attempt) with 1.73 touchdowns and 1.04 interceptions, according to our projections. It's not going to lock Orton into the Hall of Fame, but that could be more than enough to top New York's juggernaut offense.
Can the Jets' Offense Get Anything Going?
On its face, this looks like it should be more of the same for the Jets. They rank 24th in offense in our power rankings, and the Bills rank seventh in defense. The one thing the Jets do well (they rank second in Adjusted Rushing NEP per play), the Bills shut down (they rank sixth in Adjusted Defensive Rushing NEP per play).
At the same time, the similar games section of the Game Projection tells a different story.
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