New England (-9, 43.5) at N.Y. Jets, 8:15 pm ET, ESPN
The transitive property could get itself quite the workout on Monday if the masses decide to talk themselves into throwing caution to the wind and backing the Jets against Tom Brady and the Patriots.
New York destroyed Dallas last week in Sam Darnold’s return from a bout with mono. The Cowboys got their tackles back, returned home and pulverized the Eagles 37-10. Just who does this Brady guy have alongside him anyway?
Backing the Jets over the Pats is the present-day NFL equivalent of riding David over Goliath or the Generals over the Globetrotters. It’s riding Charlie Brown to kick that football. However, friendly bookmakers typically manage to provided incentive that has actually made it more profitable to take the points with New York over New England this decade. That includes an outright upset the only time the teams met in the playoffs. For proof, see the recent series history below for everyone of their outcomes since 2010.
9/22/19 Patriots 30-14 vs. Jets (NYJ +20.5, 43)
12/30/18 Patriots 38-3 vs. Jets (NE -14.5, 46.5)
11/25/18 Patriots 27-13 at Jets (NE -13, 46.5)
12/31/17 Patriots 26-6 vs. Jets (NE -17, 43.5)
10/15/17 Patriots 24-17 at Jets (NYJ +9, 48.5)
12/24/16 Patriots 41-3 vs. Jets (NE -17, 45)
11/27/16 Patriots 22-17 at Jets (NYJ +8.5, 48)
12/27/15 Jets 26-20 OT vs. Patriots (NYJ +3, 45)
10/25/15 Patriots 30-23 vs. Jets (NYJ +7.5, 47.5)
12/21/14 Patriots 17-16 at Jets (NYJ +10, 47)
10/16/14 Patriots 27-25 vs. Jets (NYJ +9.5, 44.5)
10/20/13 Jets 30-27 OT vs. Patriots (NYJ +3, 43)
9/12/13 Patriots 13-10 vs. Jets (NYJ +11.5, 43)
11/22/12 Patriots 49-19 at Jets (NE -7, 48.5)
10/21/12 Patriots 29-26 OT vs. Jets (NYJ +10.5, 47)
11/13/11 Patriots 37-16 at Jets (NE +2.5, 47)
10/9/11 Patriots 30-21 vs. Jets (NE -7.5, 50)
1/16/11 Jets 28-21 at Patriots (NYJ +9.5, 45)
12/6/10 Patriots 45-3 vs. Jets (NE -4, 44.5)
9/19/10 Jets 28-14 vs. Patriots (NYJ +3, 39.5)
The Jets haven’t won at Foxboro since their Divisional Playoff win back in ’11, the crowning moment of both Mark Sanchez’s career and the franchise’s last two decades. Despite losses in 15 of 17 against their New England-based tormentors, the Jets have posted a pair of overtime wins at home and were tied at 13 in the third-quarter of last season’s visit before the Jets pulled away. That was without Darnold, who has only been able to participate in one of three games against the Patriots since being drafted.
New York failed to cover in the 27-13 loss, snapping a run of five straight home covers against the Pats. The Jets then got crushed 38-3 in Week 17 as Darnold ran into a finely tuned buzzsaw that was preparing for a Super Bowl run. When the teams squared off on Sept. 22, Darnold was home dealing with the effects of his virus and Luke Falk took the reins. The Patriots stifled the Jets offense and raced out to a 30-0 lead before coughing up the cover on a fumble recovery in the end zone after a muffed punt and Jamal Adams’ 61-yard interception return of an errant Jarrett Stidham pass.
The Patriots could’ve named their score in that game, making it a tough beat for those who had laid the 20 points and appeared to be cruising with Falk having little chance of moving the Jets’ offense. The dynamic absolutely changes with Darnold, who is better equipped to improve on his final showing of his rookie season despite having played in just two regular-season games since then.
Darnold put together a few tremendous throws against the Cowboys and should benefit from the presence of LeVeon Bell, who looks far more comfortable in the offense than the only other time he took the field alongside New York’s franchise QB back in Week 1. Although Quincy Enunwa has been lost for the season with a neck injury, Robby Anderson remains an option that can help Darnold stretch the field and reliable veterans Demaryius Thomas and Jamison Crowder have helped upgrade the unit. Bell, Bilal Powell and Ty Montgomery are all available, so checkdowns and screens have a chance to pop against the stingy Patriots, who lead the NFL with a scoring average allowed of just eight points per game.
Thomas’ hamstring could be an issue for him, but he wants nothing more than to be out there against New England, which cut him once it acquired the since-released Antonio Brown. Thomas called his release “disrespectful” and Bill Belichick admitted backing out of a commitment to him due to circumstances changing, so that’s a situation worth watching. Check out the injury report below for more variables worth keeping an eye on.
As far as the number goes, Darnold isn’t worth 10-plus points to a spread, but a six-point shift and the Jets actually having a chance to move the ball has led the number to shift a full five points, which is indeed an overestimation of the second-year quarterback’s value. The Patriots have covered in four of their six wins but are just 1-2 ATS against divisional foes, having beaten the Dolphins 43-0 but scuffling in a 16-10 win in Buffalo. The Bills have been the only team to be within one possession of New England in a fourth-quarter all season.
Despite Brady lacking a truly elite go-to receiver like a Brown or Rob Gronkowski, New England has led at halftime in every one of their games. Only Washington has held a lead after a quarter. A sack-fumble of Brady that Giants’ LB Markus Golden returned for six and a fluke 64-yard strike from rookie Daniel Jones to Golden Tate represent the only touchdowns the Patriots’ defense has allowed in the second quarter of games this season.