New York Jets vs. New England Patriots Pick
New York Jets (4-11 SU, 5-9-1 ATS) vs. New England Patriots (10-5 SU, 8-7 ATS)
Date/Time: Sunday, December 30th, 1:00 PM
Where: Gillette Stadium, Foxboro, MA
By Mike Mann., NFL Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: NYJ +13/ NE-13 (MyBookie)
Over/Under Total: 47.5
The New York Jets head to Foxboro to take on the New England Patriots in a week 17 battle of two teams having near opposite seasons. New England has dominated the series of a late with a 13-2 mark in their last 15 against Gang Green.
The Jets record is now a dismal 4-11 on the season and the currently find themselves in the midst of a 1-8 slide. This marks the 8th season in a row that they have not made the playoffs and a massive 49 straight without winning a championship. They’re in good company at least, the Knicks haven’t won a title in 46 years and the Rangers have won just once since 1933.
WHEN THE JETS PASS
NY quarterback Sam Darnold is coming off one of his best games of the season, a 341 yard, three touchdown performance that unfortunately just wasn’t enough as they eventually fell to Green Bay in overtime. It was his second straight game with a quarterback rating of at least 100 and he will need to continue that success this week going up against Bill Belichick in Foxboro as rookie quarterbacks are now 0-10 since 2000 when playing in Foxboro.
Darnold’s options at wide receiver took a hit in recent weeks with Quincy Enunwa missing the last two weeks due to injury. Robby Anderson has stepped up in his absence with 16 receptions for 236 yards and two scores over their past two games. He will likely see plenty of Stephon Gilmore, easily the best of the Patriots cornerbacks. Rounding out their receiving options are Chris Herndon and Jermaine Kearse, who should also see some opportunities of their own if the Jets expect to keep up with the Patriots offense.
WHEN THE JETS RUN
New York’s receivers aren’t the only area of the offense to deal with injuries, as two of their three running backs are both hurt in Isaiah Crowell and Bilal Powell. This leaves just Elijah McGuire, who has scored in three straight weeks but has struggled in yardage as the feature back and is averaging just 3.2 yards per carry on the season. The team ranks just 24th in rushing yards per game, and this week faces a tough test in a Patriots rush defense that is 7th in the NFL in yards allowed per game.
While the Jets have struggled through their 2018 season, the Patriots just clinched their 10th straight AFC East championship and marked their 15th season in a row with at least 10 wins. They now sit at the number two spot in the AFC with a first round bye in their sites if they can get past the Jets this weekend.
WHEN THE PATRIOTS RUN
The Patriots will be looking to exploit a lackluster Jets rushing defense that ranks 26th in the NFL in yards allowed per game. New England improved their record to 52-1 under Bill Belichick when a player rushes for over 100 yards after Sony Michel eclipsed the century mark this past week. The team is now 5-0 on the season when Michel has 18 or more carries and in those games he has rushed for a combined 565 yards with six touchdowns and a 5.3 YPC average.
WHEN THE PATRIOTS PASS
New England’s receiving corps took a hit with the departure of Josh Gordon, and now will need to game plan not only around his loss but also the increased proof that Rob Gronkowski is a mere shell of what he used to be. They would hope that Chris Hogan or Phillip Dorsett would step up in his absence, but in their past game neither ended up recording a single catch or target. Julian Edelman is the essential number one receiver now, but he has had a recent run of drops (five straight games with at least one) and last week committed another two penalties to add to his total. It’s all well and good when playing a team like the Bills, but those same mistakes cost them against Pittsburgh and could surely do them in when playing playoff competition in January.
THE FINAL DECISION
The Patriots are one game away from clinching a first round bye, which has been historically important to them as each one of their Super Bowl wins has come while avoiding Wild Card weekend. Sam Darnold is certainly talented enough to pose some issues, but with injuries through out the Jets offense they will have issues matching points against New England. The Patriots have a clear motivation advantage as they need to win this game to ensure home field as Houston is just a game behind them and has an easy game lined up this week against Jacksonville, while the Jets are limping to this finish line with a head coach that could be fired at seasons’ end. Go with New England to get the win and cover and at home against the Jets.
Mike’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: New England –13