New York Jets vs. Jacksonville Jaguars Pick ATS
New York Jets (1-5 SU, 2-4 ATS) vs. Jacksonville Jaguars (3-4 SU, 4-3 ATS)
NFL Week 8
Date/Time: Sunday, October 27, 2019 at 1PM EDT
Where: TIAA Bank Stadium, Jacksonville, Florida
Point Spread: NYJ +6/JAC -6 (Bet365)
Over/Under Total: 41.5
The New York Jets come down south to face the Jacksonville Jaguars in week eight action in the AFC. Jacksonville moved to 3-4 on Sunday with a 27-17 road win over the Bengals. Now with the Jets at home, they can go to .500. We see a team playing with some heart and looking to establish some continuity against a Jets team coming off the short week. On Monday Night Football, the Jets failed to build on a big win against Dallas the previous week, getting beaten badly by the Patriots, 33-0. Can they bounce back on the short week and take down the Jags or at least make a run at the cover? Let’s break it down.
Jags Coming Around?
The Jags didn’t have it easy this season, losing their starting QB early in the first game and having to turn to an unfancied rookie in Gardner Minshew. The young former Washington State QB has shown a lot of heart, making a lot of rookie mistakes, but doing reasonably well in getting this offense on the move. He seems to be getting a lot out of this offense, which is commendable playing behind an O-line that doesn’t always deliver. Minshew didn’t shine on the road last week, completing less than half his passes. But we see him connecting well with his targets. DJ Chark has taken a big step forward as a receiver, with Dede Westbrook and Chris Conley getting more comfortable with Minshew. Helping it come together is the more consistent play of Leonard Fournette, who had another big game with 131 yards on the ground Sunday. Keelan Cole caught a TD, and we see a cast starting to develop on this side of the ball.
Jacksonville “D” Reclaiming Status
It seems like a bygone memory, but it was just two seasons ago when the Jags nearly made it to the Bowl. A big part of that was a defense that made a significant impact, both in being stout to opposing offenses and in registering game-changing plays. With Myles Jack, Yannick Ngakoue, and Myles Jack getting picks on Sunday, we see that materialize again this season to a certain degree. Rookie LB Josh Allen leads the team in sacks, and with some additions over the last few years, we’re at least seeing them reclaim their big-play component. After dominating Cincy on the road and holding the Saints to 13 points the previous week, will they be able to contain a road Jets’ offense coming off the short week where they scored zero points?
Things the Jets Can Exploit
With the front seven being the best part of the Jets’ offense, maybe they can make some noise. Against the Jags’ offensive line, maybe a pass-rush can manifest. Perhaps they can keep Fournette in check, which would go a long way. Minshew has done a nice job being thrown into action as a rookie, but with completion rates in the 40’s the last few weeks, that type of inaccuracy could be exploited by a sometimes-opportunistic Jets’ defense.
The Jaguars’ playmaking defense could be a problem, even as Darnold is still mistake-prone, as are others on the offense. They aren’t that robust across different areas, one of them being the run. Maybe Le’Veon Bell and others can make some progress on the ground. And while Darnold will need to be on-point and take care of the ball, he has enough viable targets to do damage on a Jacksonville secondary that isn’t the most-rigid. There are definitely avenues the Jets can exploit.
Not Being So Harsh
On MNF, the Jets painted the picture of a harsh reality. Outplayed on all fronts, it’s a fresh image and a strong one to carry into this week. Getting shut out is never a good look. And going on the road isn’t always the best medicine, nor is a short week. But this isn’t the New England Patriots they’re playing. And after two beatings at the hands of the Patriots and last week’s disaster, maybe they can do better in this spot. But a lot of teams are going to look terrible against the Patriots and basing too much on that could lead us astray.
After giving the team a big boost last week upon his return from mononucleosis, Sam Darnold was as bad as it gets on MNF, going 11 for 31 with 86 yards and four picks. Against a Jaguars’ defense that can still make plays, that type of performance would make this an easy win and cover for the Jags. But I would look for Darnold to put his aerial cast, as limited as it may be, to better work. And after missing all of last season, maybe a slow Le’ Veon Bell start was to be expected. He showed some nice signs against the Pats and could be due. I see this as being a spot where the Jets could shine a little bit. It’s just not easy to back that up right after watching them put up a donut.
After all, people are lower on the Jets now than they were last week. But were they really supposed to beat the Patriots? OK, they got shut out, and it didn’t look good in any way. But with a good defensive line and CJ Mosley getting back into the swing of things, the defense can be scrappy, especially against the run. Maybe they can at least contain Fournette and force the Jacksonville offense to be more one-dimensional, make some plays, and turn this one in their favor.
Take the Points on the Road Dog
Again, it’s not an easy stance after watching MNF with the Jets getting blanked in a home game and now they’re on the road. It’s just that the gulf between these two teams might not be as vast as public perceptions or their W-L records might suggest. I see a little spark on offense for the Jets and enough grit on the other side of the ball for them to get the cover this week. I’ll take the Jets.
Loot’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: I’m betting on the New York Jets plus 6 points.
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