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Joe Manniello

Joe Manniello's Thursday night NFL pick


TV: Amazon Prime, 8:15 p.m.

The line: Jets by 1.5; O/U: 37.5

Jets at home. Small spread. Hot opponent. Must-win spot. Sound familiar? It feels like the NFL’s take on the movie “Groundhog Day.” Four days after a 20-17 loss against the streaking Lions, the Jets wake up for a big game against the resurgent Jaguars, who have won four of six to move a game back in the AFC South race.

Last year’s Jags-Jets game, also in Week 16 at MetLife Stadium, didn’t have high stakes. It was a two-win team vs. a three-win team, the hosts prevailing, 26-21. Fast forward 12 months and things have changed. Both teams need the game to keep their playoff hopes alive, and once again all eyes will be on Trevor Lawrence and Zach Wilson, the No. 1 and No. 2 picks in the 2021 draft.

Lawrence is playing as if he’s the long-term answer, with 14 touchdowns and just one interception during the Jaguars’ 4-2 run. Wilson, as we all know, is still a big question mark. He’s only playing because Mike White can’t, and while he did show some positives last week, he still missed too many throws. This is a favorable matchup for Wilson, as the Jaguars allow the fourth-most passing yards per game (252.6).

Wilson could also use an assist from the defense. As strong as it’s been this season, my biggest takeaway is that they need a big takeaway. A pick-6, a strip-sack, a game-ending forced fumble. Something. Especially considering this likely will be another tight game in the fourth quarter.

The forecast calls for rain, so that will only make things more interesting. That should favor the home team in December against a warm-weather team. The Jets have lost three in a row, but a wild-card spot is still possible. Thursday night is “Groundhog Day” at MetLife Stadium. It’s time for the Jets to wake up from their slumber.

The pick: Jets

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