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New York Jets vs. Dallas Cowboys Preview and Prediction

Ryan Fitzpatrick

Ryan Fitzpatrick

The 8-5 New York Jets take on the 4-9 Dallas Cowboys in a Saturday showdown that will have playoff implications for both teams. The Jets are in a three-way race for the two AFC wild card spots with the Chiefs and Steelers, while the Cowboys, despite their ugly record, are just two games out of first place in the NFC East.

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But with Matt Cassel at quarterback, the Cowboys will need a miracle performance to beat a Jets team that seems to be peaking at the right time. Still, winning on the road is never easy, and in the playoffs, as a wild card team, the Jets will need to be road warriors to make any noise in the AFC. This will be a good test for them even if the Cowboys appear outmanned and have underperformed to this point.

New York at Dallas

Kickoff: 8:25 p.m. ET (Saturday)

TV: NFL Network

Spread: Jets -3

Three Things to Watch

1. Dez Bryant vs. Darrelle Revis

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This one might not have the same buzz it would if Tony Romo was at quarterback for the Cowboys, but it's still two of the very best at their respective positions who will both compete at a high level. Revis missed two games with a concussion before returning last week and Bryant should provide a good test to help get the elite cornerback on track for the stretch run into the playoffs. 

2. Fitzmagic

The Jets will go as far as Ryan Fitzpatrick takes them this season. In his last three games, Fitzpatrick has nine touchdowns and no interceptions. Those kind of numbers are just what the Jets need, as they have some of the best talent in the AFC on both sides of the ball. The Dallas defense hasn't exactly been a pushover, ranking fourth in passing yards allowed per game. However, the Cowboys have the worst turnover margin in the NFL (-15), as the offense has turned it over 23 times (15 INTs, 8 fumbles) while the defense has just eight takeaways (6 INTs, 2 fumbles). A solid mistake-free game from Fitzpatrick will keep the Jets' playoff train rolling and set them up for a big showdown against the Patriots next week.

3. Jets' D Soaring

New York's defense has produced five turnovers in the last four games, as this unit is really starting to hit its stride. The Jets are fifth in the league and have looked the part as one of the best defenses in the AFC, so the table is set for them to send a message that they are playoff ready and can turn in consistent dominant performances, even on the road.

Final Analysis

The Jets are playing their best football of the year while the Cowboys have been decimated by injuries. Dallas' playoff hopes are hanging by a thread, as Jason Garrett's team has been going in the wrong direction ever since Tony Romo broke his collarbone (the first time). The bigger question is how good is this Jets team? Can they go on the road in the playoffs and upset a team like the Broncos or Texans/Colts? The next two weeks will tell us a lot about the Jets, but right now they are playing like one of the best three teams in the AFC and could be a legitimate threat in the postseason.

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Prediction: Jets 27, Cowboys 10

— Written by Mike Dussault, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and writer/editor of PatsPropaganda.com (@PatsPropaganda), a comprehensive blog covering the New England Patriots.