Well in the Hunt

East Rutherford, NJ - Joe Namath, the most celebrated quarterback in New York Jets history, had his career fizzle out with the Rams.

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This time, the Jets have acquired the aging star quarterback, banking on a successful transition for Brett Favre.

Favre has the Jets in a tie atop the AFC East, but his consistency remains a concern as New York hosts the Rams on Sunday.

Oddsmakers from SBG Global have made the Jets -9 point spread favorites (View NFL Football odds) for Sunday’s game (Game Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 52% of bets for this game have been placed on the Jets -9 (View NFL Football bet percentages).

Acquiring Favre from Green Bay in the offseason was a gamble for New York (5-3), but it paid immediate dividends by giving the team its most high-profile player since Namath.

Namath became an NFL icon with the Jets, playing 10 years and guiding them to a win in Super Bowl III after guaranteeing a victory. He ended up playing his final season for the Rams - who were then based in Los Angeles - and he started the first four games before injuries and ineffectiveness ended his career.

Favre hasn't been nearly as bad after his change of scenery, but the former Packers idol doesn't seem completely comfortable either. He has been picked off eight times while throwing three touchdowns in his last four games, but the Jets have won three of those contests.

After throwing an interception that was returned for a TD to give Buffalo momentum with 10:53 left last Sunday, Favre engineered a 14-play drive in the Jets' 26-17 win that melted 8 minutes, 41 seconds off the clock and made it a two-possession game on Jay Feely's 31-yard field goal.

That victory put New York in a three-way tie with the Bills and New England at the top of the AFC East.

"It feels good to be in the hunt and our goals still being out in front of us and the things we want to accomplish," Jets right guard Brandon Moore said.

New York was 1-7 at this point last season. The Jets have already won one more game than they did in 2007, and they don't even feel they've played their best football yet.

"It seems like we haven't put it all together or we can play a whole lot better than we've played," defensive end Shaun Ellis said. "It's very encouraging for us to know that we haven't put it all together and once we do, it will bring good things. Against Buffalo, it was the best collective effort that we played in a while."

Favre is still learning the offense, and the defense is trying to establish consistency. New York, though, had a strong game versus the Bills, holding them to 30 yards rushing and sacking Trent Edwards five times.

With Kris Jenkins at nose tackle, the Jets are holding opponents to 76.0 yards per game on the ground.

"He does a great job of pushing the middle," said Ellis, whose seven sacks are his most since he had 11 in 2004. "He puts a lot of pressure on the run game. He does it all. He's a force to be reckoned with."

St. Louis (2-6) needs running back Steven Jackson on the field if it hopes to revive its struggling offense. Jackson has been hampered since suffering a quadriceps injury against Dallas Oct. 19, and didn't play against New England on Oct. 26.

On the first play of last Sunday's 34-13 loss to Arizona, Jackson declared himself unprepared to run the play that was called - an outside cutback run he wasn't ready to handle. Jackson finished with seven rushes for 17 yards and the Rams were suddenly left short-handed at the position because backup Antonio Pittman suffered a hamstring injury on that first play and Travis Minor got a concussion on special teams.

"Steven has got to give us a full day's work this week or he will not play ... we can't go into a game not knowing whether he can play or not," Rams coach Jim Haslett said.

"We decided we are going to make sure that he can actually go and practice and not just jog through or make it through. He is going to have to give us a good day's work and I think he will feel better about it too."

Concerns over depth at running back moved the Rams to sign free agent Samkon Gado, who played for Houston and Miami last year.

If Jackson can't play, St. Louis will have a tough time gaining yards on the ground against the Jets' stout run defense and would leave quarterback Marc Bulger vulnerable to geared-up pass rushers.

The Rams, three games behind the Cardinals in the NFC West, will be trying to avoid their third straight loss following their only two wins of the season.

"We are not going to change our approach," Haslett said. "We have to take it one game at a time. The most important thing is we go try to get a win this week. This is not going to be an easy test. I don't think you can look ahead."

St. Louis has won seven straight against New York. This will be the teams' first meeting since a 32-29 Rams victory on Jan. 2, 2005.

Top Betting Trends
All games in this series since 1992
ST LOUIS is 5-0 against the spread versus NY JETS since 1992
ST LOUIS is 5-0 straight up against NY JETS since 1992
3 of 5 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 NY JETS since 1992
ST LOUIS is 2-0 against the spread versus NY JETS since 1992
ST LOUIS is 2-0 straight up against NY JETS since 1992
2 of 2 games in this series have gone OVER THE TOTAL since 1992
Key Player Injuries
[RB] Brian Leonard IR - Shoulder - 10/13/08
[OL] Mark Setterstrom IR - Knee - 08/17/08
[DT] Adam Carriker missed last game, "?" - Ankle - 10/26/08
[OT] Brandon Gorin IR - Shoulder - 08/18/08
[CB] Ron Bartell injured last game, "?" - Head - 10/27/08
[CB] Ricky Manning, Jr. IR - Foot - 10/13/08
[TE] Randy McMichael IR - Ankle - 10/06/08
(!) [RB] Steven Jackson is upgraded to expected to play - Thigh - 10/27/08
[S] Todd Johnson missed last game, "?" - Kidney - 10/26/08
[CB] Tye Hill missed last game, "?" - Knee - 10/26/08
[DE] Leonard Little injured last game, "?" - Hamstring - 10/26/08
[WR] Drew Bennett expected to miss up to six weeks - Foot - 09/08/08
[CB] Justin King IR - Toe - 08/16/08
[RB] Jesse Chatman expected to miss rest of season - Knee - 10/27/08
[TE] Chris Baker injured last game, "?". - Hip - 10/27/08
[S] Cameron Worrell IR - Knee - 09/04/08
[K] Mike Nugent missed last game, "?" - Thigh - 10/26/08
[TE] Bubba Franks missed last game, "?" - Hip - 10/26/08
[LB] David Harris injured last game, "?" - Hip - 10/27/08
[LB] Brad Kassell IR - Knee - 08/10/08

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Posted: 11/05/08 3:54 PM ET

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