For those who did not come across the posts last week Ill be making predictions, for fun, against the spread on the year. We’ll be using whatever the ESPN Pick ‘em spreads are. Starting in either week 4 or 5 Ill base my picks on my efficiency stats that I keep as a method of power ranking the NFL teams, but for now these are just guesses on the teams’ prospects. Last week I went 10-6 without the points and just 8-8 playing against the spread. Today we just do the Thursday game, which I’ll write more on than the other games, and then Friday or Saturday I will post the rest of the games. If you click on the teams it will take you to their financial matchup chart for the game.
Jets (+12.5) over PATRIOTS– I feel like the Jets have gained momentum over the last few days in the eyes of the general public not because of anything the team did but because of the losses that the Patriots are facing on offense. The promise of some of the rookie preseason players for New England quickly dissipated once real games began and I think there is some general thoughts that the Patriots could be in for a rough season because of injuries and the poor play in Week 1.
Still this is Tom Brady and Brady is someone that has been able to utilize a cast of no name receivers and do good things. Granted he is not the same player he was two or three years ago, but if a receiver can get any separation he is going to find them and pick up chunks of yards. I have always felt that the Patriots attention to the short passing game gives the Jets fits simply because their strength is covering the outside. Once you start getting into situations where Kyle Wilson, David Harris, and whomever they throw out there at Safety are asked to cover it is going to be bad for the Jets.
I think the most impressive thing coming out of the Jets game last week was the run defense which held Doug Martin to virtually nothing on the ground. In 2012 the run defense was a weakness so if they continue to play well in that regard they can at least stifle the Patriots ground game, which should still be solid even with the injuries in the backfield.
Neither the Jets nor the Patriots had good offensive games last week. If you take turnover based points out of the equation the Patriots only scored 9 points on 12 drives. Both of their touchdowns came when starting inside Bills territory, at the 16 and the 32 respectively. The Jets were essentially equivalent scoring 9 points in 12 drives (including the game winning FG which was Buccaneer aided) and their lone TD coming on a drive that began on the Buccaneers 31 yard line.
Though I am sure the “butt fumble” play will be discussed over and over again, the reality is the Jets have often played New England well when they meet early in the season. Whether that is because New England often takes a few weeks to really get moving on offense or because the Jets have more confidence in themselves early in the year I don’t know, but the Jets are 2-2 in early season games against New England and have outscored the Patriots 91-82 in Rex Ryan’s tenure in NY. In the second matchup, which usually occurs late in the year, they are 0-4 and have lost by a combined score of 162-52.
Last season, a season where the Jets became the butt of every football joke while New England was again favored to go to the Super Bowl, the Jets lost in overtime to this team, a game the Jets led with about a minute and a half to go. That was the game that ended up destroying the Jets season as they never mentally recovered from the loss. I would imagine the Jets coach has had this circled since then as the most important game on the early portion of the schedule.
I don’t think the Jets have enough firepower to win the game, but they should be able to scheme the Patriots enough to keep it close provided the rookie QB doesn’t hand points over to New England. My guess is this ends up as a moral victory of sorts for the Jets where they will be competitive and maybe stick within 1 score for a good portion of the game. Patriots 20 Jets 13
Jason is the founder of OTC and has been studying NFL contracts and the salary cap for over 15 years. Jason has co-authored two books about the NFL, Crunching Numbers and the Drafting Stage, which are widely circulated in the industry and hosts the OTC Podcast. Jason’s work has been featured in various publications including the Sporting News, Sports Illustrated, NFL Network and more. OTC is widely considered the leading authority on contract matters in the NFL.