Two AFC East rivals jostle for an early divisional lead when the Buffalo Bills visit the New York Jets at Metlife Stadium this Sunday.
And if the betting public is correct on this game (often, they are not), the Bills could be a good Week 1 underdog play.
"It indicates a lot of action on the Bills and a lot of trepidation on the Jets," said handicapping analyst Jack Randall. "And you have conflicting capping angles with the Bills because they are 6-1 ATS in their past seven season openers, but are just 1-7 straight up against the Jets the past four seasons."
After making two consecutive trips to the AFC Conference Championship Game in 2009 and 2010, the New York Jets missed the playoffs altogether in 2011, going just 8-8 straight up and 6-10 ATS.
The offense stalled under Mark Sanchez last season, prompting the Jets to bring in new offensive coordinator Tony Sparano and potential Wildcat specialist Tim Tebow. New York hopes that this new wrinkle will help get the running game going as well.
It was the tale of two seasons for Buffalo last year. Buffalo started the season off 5-2 straight up (4-2-1 ATS) through their first seven games, but tailed off to a 1-8 finish (2-7 ATS) over their last nine games.
Buffalo added defensive end Mario Williams this offseason to help bolster the defense, and Ryan Fitzpatrick and Stevie Johnson lead a talented Bills offense that will look for more sustained results in 2012.
Over the last four years, this rivalry has been extremely one-sided. The New York Jets are 7-1 in their last eight games against Buffalo including five straight wins and a 4-1 ATS mark over that stretch. Since 2009, Buffalo has averaged just 14.2 points per game when facing Rex Ryan's talented Jets defense.
Neither team did much to inspire any confidence this preseason as both teams went 0-4 straight up (the Jets went 0-4 ATS as well, while the Bills were 1-3 ATS). It is too early to say how the Tim Tebow experiment will work out in New York.
The Jets were a reliable OVER play most of 2011, but their currrent Week 1 trend is UNDER (5-1 past six season openers).
Considering the Jets are at home and hosting a team that they have thoroughly dominated in recent years, covering a spread of three points doesn't seem like too tall of a task.
Jets vs Bill Pick: New York Jets -3 (courtesy of Pick Shark)