New England Patriots (10-4) at Jacksonville Jaguars (2-12)
Tom Brady and the Patriots lost last week, but there was still a lot to like from that game. They scored 34 points on the league’s best defense, despite a season high 4 turnovers and despite missing Rob Gronkowski. Their defense surrendered 41 points, but that could have been a lot less if not for the uncharacteristic 4 turnovers.
The loss knocked them down from being seen as the consensus Super Bowl favorites, but it didn’t knock them down too far. They still are by far the league’s best team in points differential, thanks to 21 wins by 6 or more (most in the NFL) and no losses by more than a touchdown (1 of only 2 teams that can say so, with Seattle being the other, but they should have lost by 9 in San Francisco, if not for the Harbaugh declined challenge). I don’t think anyone out there would be shocked if they didn’t lose again this season and maybe a loss was exactly what they needed. They’ve ended the last 2 seasons on long winning streaks and didn’t get it done.
Tom Brady typically bounces back off a loss as favorites, going 16-7 ATS in this spot in his career. I expect them to continue their 2nd half offensive dominance from the 49ers’ game here (scoring 31 points on the league’s #1 defense in a half is a huge accomplishment) and maybe put up 40 points for the 5th time in 8 games. They actually have a punchers chance at the single season points record (which is currently held by the 2007 Patriots) if they can score 84 in their final 2 games.
I still don’t really want to bet against the Patriots right now. As I’ve mentioned over the last few weeks, they always play very well at this point in the season, even after that loss. They are 14-8 ATS between weeks 10 and 17 in the last 3 seasons (21-1 SU, with the 21 wins coming by an average of 20 points per game). They are also 23-10 ATS since the 2010 season, excluding games in which they are home favorites of more than a touchdown.
This line really can’t be high enough. Well it can, but it certainly isn’t. The Patriots are still the league’s #1 ranked team in net points per drive, DVOA, and weighted DVOA, while the Jaguars are 31st in all three. If you take the Patriots’ net points per drive, 1.01 and the Jaguars’, -0.87, take the difference, multiply by 11 (the average amount of points per drive) and add 2.5 points to Jacksonville’s side for home field advantage, you get that the Patriots should be favored by 18 here on the road.
The Patriots, as I mentioned, have a ridiculous 6 wins by 21 or more, including 3 in their last 5 games and they should get their 7th of the season here. I just hate laying this many points on the road, especially on a heavy public lean. I also like the over as Patriots’ games generally go over the total, especially in the 2nd half of the season.
Public lean: New England (80% range)
Sharps lean: NE 8 JAX 3
Final thoughts: Very rarely do you ever see any sort of noticeable sharps lean on a favorite this big. I can’t lay this many points for a significant play, but I’m almost sure we’re getting another Patriots blowout this week.
New England Patriots 38 Jacksonville Jaguars 13
Pick against spread: New England -14.5 (-110) 2 units
Total: Over 50.5 (-110) 1 unit