The 6-7 New York Jets kept their season alive with a 37-27 home victory over the Oakland Raiders. Geno Smith bounced back with his best game in two months and the Jet defense answered the call with a strong defensive effort. Things will get much tougher this week for Smith and Co. as they travel to Carolina to take on the angry 9-4 Carolina Panthers. Carolina laid an egg on Sunday Night Football in New Orleans and will look to bounce back with a home victory over the Jets. Carolina QB Cam Newton has played well lately and the Jets must figure out a way to slow to down Newton’s dual-threat abilities. After running for 4.5 yards per carry against Oakland, the Jets will try to run on Carolina’s ferocious, top-ranked run defense. Carolina is allowing a league best 79.4 rushing yards per game. 

The Jets enter this game trailing the Baltimore Ravens by one game for the AFC’s final Wildcard spot. The Miami Dolphins, who the Jets play in Week 17, also sit one game ahead of the Jets. The Ravens have a tough remaining schedule (at DET, vs NE, at CIN) while the Dolphins have a much easier schedule (vs NE, at BUF, vs NYJ). The Jets’ remaining schedule presents some challenges (at CAR, vs CLE, at MIA), so a win this week is critical for keeping playoff hopes alive. Many are not expecting a Jet win this weekend. Current NFL betting odds have Carolina installed as a 12-point favorite. The linemakers are clearly expecting a big performance from Carolina and a lack luster performance from the Jets. 

In most instances, I would expect the Jets to build off of last week’s victory. However, this is a terrible match-up. Carolina’s defense has been one of the top units in the NFL. No one runs the ball on the Panthers. The Jets have enough trouble passing the ball to make me a little leery about this match-up. I’m expecting Carolina to win big and cover the spread.

Prediction: Carolina 27 New York 10