MNF: Patriots vs. Jets Pick
New England Patriots (6-0 SU, 4-2 ATS) vs. New York Jets (1-4 SU, 2-3 ATS)
Date/Time: Monday, October 21st, 8:15 PM
Where: MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ
Point Spread: NE - 9.5 / NYJ +9.5
Over/Under Total: 42.5
The New England Patriots travel to Bon Jersey to take on the New York Jets for a Monday Night Football matchup at MetLife Stadium. The Patriots hold a 66-54-1 all-time advantage against Gang Green and have been especially dominant of late, having gone 15-2 in their last seventeen matchups, including a current streak of seven wins in a row.
The Jets come into the game off their first win of the season, a 24-22 upset victory against the Dallas Cowboys that ruined many a knockout pool and two-team teaser. To no one’s surprise, the return of Sam Darnold brought an instant spark to the Jets offense on their way to their highest point total of the season while also putting up three offensive touchdowns (This may not seem like much unless you consider they only had two their the first four weeks of play). The return of Darnold back to full health along with Luke Falk’s merciful release from the team brings some semblance of much-needed stability to a New York offense that currently ranks last in the league in passing and total yards per game along with 31st in scoring thanks to an anemic average of 12.6 points per game. Darnold is either the best or second-best quarterback the Patriots will have faced this season after matchups against Josh Rosen, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Luke Falk, Josh Allen, Colt McCoy, Daniel Jones, and the morally bankrupt pile of garbage Ben Roethlisberger.
The Patriots’ primary defensive strategy is usually to take away the opposing team’s most potent offensive weapon, and for the Jets that is undoubtedly running back Le’Veon Bell. They were held Bell to just 35 yards rushing on 18 carries in their previous 2019 meeting, but in that game, they were able to fully stack the box against Bell as they reasonably so were in zero way concerned with Luke Falk’s ability to beat them through the air. The instability at quarterback has undoubtedly had a negative effect on Bell as he is averaging just three yards per carry and has scored only one rushing touchdown on the season so far.
LACK OF BULLETS
As for the rest of the Jets weapons, there isn’t much for proven commodities behind Bell. Jamison Crowder is tied with Bell for the team in receptions with 28 while leading in receiving yards with 272 on the season, and Robby Anderson is right behind him with 256 yards on 16 receptions and a touchdown, though 92 of those yards came on one big play last week in their win against Dallas. The return of Darnold should help build up the stats of all the Jets’ skill position players, but also keep in mind that this is the same offense that was shutout in the second half of last week under Darnold along with not scoring in the final 22 minutes of the Bills game in week one. There may be only so much the second-year quarterback can do with the lack of consistent weapons on the team, but the offense as a whole will have to play well through the entire game if they have any chance of upsetting the undefeated Patriots.
One of the most significant variables for Monday’s matchup is the health of Jets star linebacker C.J. Mosley, who has multiple games due to a groin injury. As of Tuesday, the word out of Jets camp was that Mosley was hoping to practice this week, and if all goes well, return to the playing field against the Patriots. The addition of Mosley to a Jets defense featuring another one of the conferences’ best players in Jamal Adams would be a monumental upgrade for a team hoping to slow down a quarterback in Tom Brady that has simply dominated them in recent years.
INJURED AND INEXPERIENCED
During their Patriots current seven-game winning streak against the Jets, Tom Brady has played with a consistency not often seen anymore in the NFL, throwing for 17 touchdowns and just one interception in that time span. Things could change this week as Brady is again working with a cast of receivers that is either hurt or an inexperienced rookie. His top three threats (Julian Edelman, Josh Gordon, and Phillip Dorsett) are all suffering through some sort of injury with Gordon unable to practice on Tuesday, while his remaining options have been undrafted free agents Jakobi Myers and Gunner Olszewski. His choices should at least be partially upgrade with the expected return of veteran tight end Ben Watson to the lineup along with number one pick N’Keal Harry coming off of the IR after missing the first month and a half of the season. Unfortunately, how much Watson has left in the tank remains to be seen, and Harry is no sure thing either after missing countless hours of practice time that would have given him a chance of forming the needed connection/bond with Brady.
SUCCESS DESPITE OBSTACLES
Even with the injuries to the receivers, lack of production from the tight end position, injuries to the offense line, having your starting running back averaged just 3.5 yards per carry and suffer thru some very questionable play-calling throughout the season, the Patriots offense still finds itself ranked 5th in passing, 9th in yards per game and 1st in scoring with an average of 32.7 points per game (the Jets average 12.6). The loss of James Develin can not be understated as fans are quickly starting to realize just how valuable the blocking fullback was to the running game, but the expected return of Harry along with the hopeful return of Isaiah Wynn from IR should at least provide a needed all-around boost to the offense. With the trading deadline just a couple weeks away, it remains to be seen whether the Patriots will make a move to upgrade either the wide receiver or tight end position.
TOP OF THE LIST
As good as the offense has looked at times for the Patriots, the defense has been the true strength of the team. They rank 1st in yards allowed per game and 1st in scoring, and while they may not have had the strongest competition as of yet, there is no denying just how good they have been all around. They lead the league with 14 interceptions (the next highest team total is nine), which has helped New England sit at the top of the turnover ratio list with a rating of +9. The Giants baffling strategy to continuously go at Stephon Gilmore last week was one of the dumbest a team could go with, and the Jets would be wise not to repeat their interstate rivals gameplan if they want to keep Monday’s matchup within reach.
THE FINAL DECISION
The less than double-digit line for this game almost seems like an overreaction to the Jets win last week against Dallas. Sam Darnold’s return undoubtedly improves the Jets chances, but how much of a difference he can make with a lack of weapons around him along with having to rely on a defense that has struggled against the pass this year remains, and he now also has to go up against a quarterback and team that has flat out dominated them in recent history. The home crowd may provide the Jets with some early momentum, but the vast talent differential will prove to be too much for them to overcome as I foresee the Patriots getting the win and cover on Monday night in Jersey.
Mike’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: New England -9.5
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