West Coast Movers
San Francisco, CA - The New York Jets appeared to be clicking after back-to-back emotional victories gave them their longest win streak in more than four years.
A letdown last week, however, has left the door wide open in the AFC East.
After missing an opportunity to truly take control of the division, the Jets look to re-establish momentum and maintain their hold on first place when they visit the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday.
Oddsmakers from online sports book Sportsbook.com have made the Jets -4 point spread favorites (View NFL Football odds) for Sunday’s game (Game Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 88% of bets for this game have been placed on the Jets -4 (View NFL Football bet percentages).
New York (8-4) entered last week on a five-game win streak, its longest since opening the 2004 season with five straight victories. The first three wins of this year's run came against Kansas City, Buffalo and St. Louis, three teams currently in last place in their respective divisions.
The final two victories of the streak were far more impressive. The Jets defeated five-time defending division champion New England 34-31 on the road Nov. 13 before handing Tennessee its only loss of the season 34-13 the following week, establishing themselves as legitimate contenders despite a mediocre start following the acquisition of Brett Favre in the middle of training camp.
The promise New York showed during the win streak, however, was absent last Sunday when the club fell 34-17 at home against Denver. Favre was 23-for-43 for 247 yards, but threw an interception and no touchdowns. Defensively, the Jets gave up 27 first-half points and 484 total yards - the second-most yards against them this season.
"I was really disappointed with the way that we played today," Jets coach Eric Mangini said after the game. "We've established a certain way to play football around here. We've established a certain identity and this wasn't even close to that."
Running back and return specialist Leon Washington had an even harsher critique.
"We realize we're not as good as we thought we were," he said.
With the loss, the Jets missed a chance to build a two-game lead in the AFC East, which they haven't won since 2002. They're one game ahead of New England and Miami with four games remaining for each club.
"To have a two-game lead at this point in the season would've been big," tight end Chris Baker said. "At the same time, we have to just worry about what we can control. If we go and take care of business, we'll be fine."
In fact, according to at least one New York player, the Jets could be better off after getting routed last week.
"'ll tell you what, it's a wakeup call," wide receiver Laveranues Coles said. "It's not like our season is over because of one game, but it gets us to realize, 'OK, we can be smacked on the butt ourselves.'"
The Jets hope to respond against a San Francisco team that's determined to finish strong in a spoiler's role under interim coach Mike Singletary. The 49ers (4-8) won for the second time in three games last Sunday, all but eliminating Buffalo from the playoff race with a 10-3 road victory.
"Right now, it's all about us being the best we can be," said second-year linebacker Patrick Willis, who finished with a game-high 14 tackles and also forced a fumble. "If that means somebody else not making it to the playoffs, that's for them to worry about."
San Francisco is 2-3 under Singletary, who replaced the fired Mike Nolan after the team's 2-5 start.
"He's a great motivator, but that's just one of his strengths," defensive back Donald Strickland said. "Everybody in this locker room has great respect for him, and the coaching staff has kept us in position to win games. Making a coaching change in the middle of the season could have been a distraction, but everybody here has kept working hard, and (Singletary) just increased our confidence all around."
San Francisco was outgained 350-195 last weekend, but limited Buffalo to one field goal in four trips inside the red zone.
"We set out a job and a task, and we definitely performed," Strickland said. "We're building up to something better."
The Niners may need to get better quickly in order to stop the Jets, who are third in the league with 27 red-zone touchdowns. That's due in large part to Thomas Jones, who ran for 138 yards and two TDs in last week's loss, giving him a career-high 11 scores on the season.
Jones, in his ninth NFL season and his second with New York, is averaging 121.8 yards on the ground in his last four games with six touchdowns in that stretch.
Top Betting Trends:
All games in this series since 1992
SAN FRANCISCO is 3-1 against the spread versus NY JETS since 1992
SAN FRANCISCO is 3-1 straight up against NY JETS since 1992
2 of 4 games in this series have gone OVER THE TOTAL since 1992
Games over the last 3 seasons
There were no past matchups in this series during this time period.
All games played at SAN FRANCISCO since 1992
NY JETS is 1-0 against the spread versus SAN FRANCISCO since 1992
SAN FRANCISCO is 1-0 straight up against NY JETS since 1992
1 of 1 games in this series have gone OVER THE TOTAL since 1992
Key Player Injuries
[S] Cameron Worrell IR - Knee - 09/04/08
[TE] Bubba Franks missed last game, "?" - Hip - 11/30/08
[RB] Jesse Chatman expected to miss rest of season - Knee - 10/27/08
[S] Eric Smith is out indefinitely - Concussion - 11/26/08
[LB] Brad Kassell IR - Knee - 08/10/08
[LB] David Harris missed last game, "?" - Groin - 11/30/08
[KR] Allen Rossum missed last game, "?" - Ankle - 11/30/08
[WR] Josh Morgan missed last game, "?" - Groin - 11/30/08
[CB] Shawntae Spencer IR - Knee - 09/24/08
[QB] Alex Smith IR - Shoulder - 09/07/08
[OT] Jonas Jennings IR - Shoulder - 11/19/08
[WR] Arnaz Battle missed last game, "?" - Foot - 11/30/08
[FS] Dashon Goldson missed last game, "?" - Knee - 11/30/08
[FB] Zak Keasey IR - Bicep - 10/13/08
Posted: 12/4/08 1:49 PM ET