Jacksonville Jaguars (2-5) at New York Jets (4-3)
The Jets were 4-1 and coming off of a 34-20 victory over the Redskins a few weeks ago, but they’ve taken a serious hit since then, losing 2 straight. It’s not as bad as it sounds though, as both losses came on the road against solid or better opponents in New England and Oakland. Their 14 point loss in Oakland last week wasn’t good, but, remember, they were leading the Patriots in the 4th quarter the previous week, before ultimately losing by a touchdown.
Besides, last week’s loss probably would have been a lot closer if Ryan Fitzpatrick hadn’t gotten knocked out early. Fitzpatrick has been solid this season, completing 61.9% of his passes for an average of 7.06 YPA, 11 touchdowns, and 7 interceptions. He’s not the best quarterback in the world or anything, but he’s significantly better than Geno Smith, who struggled in his absence last week. Fitzpatrick returns this week, though he’s definitely not at 100%, with torn ligaments in his non-throwing thumb that require surgery eventually. It probably won’t affect his throwing ability, but it’s unclear how he’ll play and if it’ll cause him to be fumble prone or mess up hand offs. We don’t even know if he’ll be able to make it through the whole game or if he’ll get knocked out again.
If Fitzpatrick were healthy, I’d put money on the Jets here as 8 point home favorites over the Jaguars. Despite the Jets’ last two weeks, they still rank 4th in rate of moving the chains differential, while the Jaguars rank 29th, so we’re definitely getting line value with the Jets. I still think the Jets are the right side though and should win by double digits, though they do have two other things working against them. For one, the Jets are also missing safety Calvin Pryor, while the Jaguars are close to 100%, after having a bunch of early season injuries. Two, the Jets have to turn around and play the Bills on Thursday Night Football next week. Favorites are 42-67 ATS before a Thursday night game since 2008. The Jets are still the pick though.
New York Jets 24 Jacksonville Jaguars 13
Pick against the spread: NY Jets -8