The NY Jets will conclude their season with a Week 17 game against the New England Patriots.
The NY Jets find themselves on a bit of a winning streak nowadays.
They blew the No. 1 pick in the draft with their win over the Los Angeles Rams, they outplayed the Las Vegas Raiders for 59 minutes of a 60-minute contest but lost, and they managed to knock off the short-handed Cleveland Browns last week in (once again) devastating fashion.
Now the Jets are locked into the No. 2 pick in the draft and all they can do now is sit and wait for Roger Goodell to call their names after Jacksonville and come back in Week 17 (in the meantime) and finish off strong. There is truly nothing to lose on their end.
I expect them to come out this week against the New England Patriots and play just about as loose as they’ve played all year with virtually no pressure to win or lose and to outplay yet another team that should crush them (on paper).
Here’s the thing about the Patriots nowadays — they took the gamble and they’ve lost. Tom Brady has won the divorce from Bill Belichick and is set to take on the NFC playoff picture.
The Patriots, on the other hand, find themselves in no-mans-land, perhaps an even worse place to be than the bottom of the barrel.
They are neither good enough to make the playoffs this year nor bad enough to put them in a locked spot for a top-five pick and any of the main quarterbacks on the slate this year.
7-9 or 6-10 puts them within sniffing distance with a possible trade being their key to swooping in on a top quarterback.
However, the way things are shaping up appears to be that they will most likely have to bring in their 2021 quarterback from another team, i.e. Matthew Stafford, Carson Wentz, Matt Ryan, or even Jimmy Garoppolo just to name a few.
Personally, Stafford seems like the best fit.
But for the time being, they are sitting ducks about to take on an inspired Jets football team that has actually been playing very well the past month or so.
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The NY Jets have been playing a lot better as of late
Look back at their record against the spread. We know the outright wins just started coming, but the Jets are 6-3 against the spread in their last nine games after an 0-6 start to the season. Like it or not, this peak was coming for the Jets.
I just wish it wasn’t coming so late and at such a last resort for Sam Darnold.
They just covered their past to games and have not gone three-straight yet this season ATS, but that’s okay. A lot of numbers are going the Patriots’ way in this game and I think this is a game to ignore most of those given the state of the Patriots.
First and foremost, the Pats own this de-facto “rivalry” with the Jets as I’m sure you’re aware. They’ve won nine straight overall and are 12-1 in their last 13 Jets meetings and 17-2 in their last 19.
At home, the Patriots have also won nine-straight and 16 of their last 19.
Cam Newton is 3-0 against the Jets while Darnold is 0-3 against the Patriots, and when the Pats win in this matchup, they’ve covered this week’s spread in 55 of 68 overall wins (81 percent) and 31-of-36 wins at home against the Jets (86 percent).
That 81 percent ranks the Patriots fifth of 16 favorites this week in overall matchup covers. In the past seven weeks, the fifth-ranked favorite in that category has covered 4-of-7 games. If we cut it down to the past three weeks, the fifth-ranked favorite has covered in 2-of-3 games.
When we combine and average their 81 percent and 86 percent coverage rates, the Patriots come out to be the sixth most likely favorite to cover this week and the sixth-ranked favorites covered 4-of-7 of the past seven games and 2-of-3 of the past three games exactly like how the overall matchup cover rates panned out.
The key is the location of the game because Gillette Stadium has lost its aura this year. Losses to Drew Lock, Josh Allen, and Jimmy Garoppolo, two of them in blowout form, were proof positive that what was once a house of horrors for visiting teams has lost its potency.
86 percent of wins at home against the Jets, the Patriots have covered three points, but even though that ranks fifth among the 16 favorites this week, the fifth-ranked favorite the past seven weeks has covered in only 2-of-7 games and also only 1-of-3 games in the past three weeks.
The over/under is an easy decision for me this week. I like the game to go over 39.5 points. The process I just took you through with the spread slants heavily towards the under and the Patriots have only gone over their total in 5-of-15 games this year.
However, we’re talking about a different Jets team than we were a few weeks ago and these two teams went for 57 points last time they played. 65 percent of the time, these two teams go over 39.5 when they play (63 percent when those games are at the Patriots).
The Patriots also might only have five over hits this year, but four of those came back-to-back and they just hit over last week against the Bills, granted not on their own accord because the Bills stomped them. The pattern would suggest they go over again to hit another back-to-back.
I’m going with the Jets to pull off the upset in this one 27-23. Sam Darnold just saw Justin Fields pick apart Clemson and knows he’s in the 11th hour.
This is the game for him to come out and put on one last hurrah and I think he finishes his Jets career (most likely) by knocking off the coach who made him see ghosts the last time they played.
I’m ending the 2020 season going out with a flier. I’m still Team Darnold. I can’t go against him in his last Jets start.