New York Jets (3-9 SU, 4-8 ATS) vs. San Francisco 49ers (1-11 SU, 3-9 ATS)
NFL Week 14
Date/Time: Sunday, December 11, 2016 at 4:05PM EST
Where: Levis Stadium, Santa Clara, California
by Scott, Expert Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: NYJ +2/SF -2
Over/Under Total: 44.5
The New York Jets take on the San Francisco 49ers at Levis Stadium on Sunday in NFC action. This is a game between a pair of teams that havent had a lot go right this season. On Sunday, The Niners hit new depths, getting rocked by 20 points in a 26-6 loss to the woeful Chicago Bears. After showing some good flashes, Colin Kaepernick was again benched for Blaine Gabbert. They now turn to another bad team, the New York Jets. On Monday Night Football, the Jets lost at home to the Colts, 41-10. The Jets are now on their second 4-game losing streak of the season.
People were within their rights to think San Fran had a good chance last week against a dilapidated Bears team. The Bears had looked awful and the Niners were coming off a competitive loss to Miami where Kaepernick showed flashes of his old form. Then after two early field goals, the Niners offense went right into the tank. Granted, the weather was not ideal for an offense from California to thrive. But Gabbert and Kaepernick combined for a ghastly 5-for-15 for 39 yards in the air. Carlos Hyde ran for 90 yards, but it was all for naught with the rest of the offense dying around him. And as if this all wasnt enough, they racked up 11 penalty flags for 106 yards, which was almost as much as they gained.
The Niners have the leagues 32nd ranked defense and it showed again as they gave up a huge game to Chicagos Jordan Howard, who ran for three touchdowns. Other than a sack by Ahmad Brooks, they could do nothing against Chicago backup Matt Barkley. The SF defense, a lynchpin on this teams success a few short years ago is now ranked dead-last in total yards allowed, rushing defense, and points allowed at nearly 31 points per game. Its just that this group had shown some fight, as the Niners entered the game with 2 covers in their last 3 gamesnot bad for a team that is a horrid 3-9 against the spread. But the last thing we saw against Chicago was any level of fight.
Its not all that hard to see how things got so bad for the Niners. Their offense, not great during their peak period of a few years back, has gotten worse. Their line is massively understaffed. No one on this offense can make plays, as most of their starters would be riding the bench on other teams. They had a star QB that is now battling to stay on the field. Whatever mojo coach Chip Kelly had in briefly turning things around for the Eagles has gone whooshing out of his body, as he hasnt gotten much right since. And when you rely on defense and that side of the ball dissolves into the worst D in the league, its how you end up with a team that deserves the title of worst in the conference. If they cant even get a win with back-to-back games against the Bears and Jets, it would be hard to see where they turn from here.
Now we turn to a Jets team that won ten games last year, before seeing almost nothing go their way this season. It started OK for the Jets this seasona one-point loss to Cincinnati and a win over Buffalo. But a four-game losing streak ensued that left the Jets at 1-5. Two straight wins over the Ravens and Browns had them looking better, before this latest 4-game losing streak put them back in the cellar. Theyve covered one spread since October. Acquisitions fell flat and star players didnt deliver. Coach Todd Bowles, who deftly guided this bunch to a 10-win season in 2015 looks to have lost his touch.
Granted, the Colts are playing better and are now in a divisional race, hence their greater level of urgency. But for the Jets to be at home on MNF and get blown out 41-10 by a 5-6 team is really borderline disgraceful. After not being able to get his season on the right track, QB Ryan Fitzpatrick has now fallen into disfavor with Bryce Petty the starter from here on out. Fair enough, but Petty hasnt exactly offered much promise in his limited time behind center, either. Bad quarterback play has been a big part of this offenses demise this season, as they are 29th in scoring.
The Jets have talent on the offensive side of the ball, with Matt Forte at RB, along with talented ball-catchers like Brandon Marshall, Forte, Quincy Enunwa, with some interesting young talent like Austin Seferian-Jenkins. But it never quite fired the way they envisioned it would this season. And having their line dealing with injuries most of the year, the loss of Eric Decker, and uneven play has cost them their effectiveness.
Last season, the Jets defense looked like their old selves to some degree. That hasnt been the case this season. They retained some of their fury up-front, with Leonard Williams, Muhammad Wilkerson, and Sheldon Richardson making up a talented linethe best part of their team. Even that hasnt gone well lately, with Richardsons interest-level waning palpably. LB David Harris is strong in the middle, as well. The secondary has depreciated massively. Darrelle Revis seemed to get old this year, Buster Skrine hasnt delivered, and Calvin Pryors rise flattened out this season. This is not a team built to thrive with a bottom-half defense.
Its not easy to try and determine which team is more in the dumps heading into week 14. San Fran was beaten by the Bears and the Soldier Field snow, so maybe being back at home will have them rediscover some of the scrappiness they were showing the last few weeks. And after the Jets hung in there so well with the Patriots two weeks ago, how can one be that confident with them crossing the country on a short week after a total clunker at home? In a game where there seems to be no great choice and only perhaps a less-horrible choice, Im taking another shot with the Niners at home.
Scott’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Im betting on the San Francisco 49ers minus 2 points.
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