Miami Dolphins (4-6) at New York Jets (5-5)
This might sound weird considering they’re 5-5 and have struggled on offense, but the Jets actually rank 5th in rate of moving the chains differential. It makes more sense when you consider two things. One, while their offense has really struggled, ranking 26th in rate of moving the chains, their defense has been really strong, ranking 3rd in rate of moving the chains differential allowed. They have arguably the best defensive line in football with Sheldon Richardson, Leonard Williams, Muhammad Wilkerson, and Damon Harrison and cornerback Darrelle Revis is once again having a fantastic season. Two, there really aren’t any truly good teams outside of the top-4 (Arizona, New England, Cincinnati, and Carolina), so saying the Jets are 5th really just means they’re the best of the rest. They’re closer to the 14th ranked team than they are to the 4th ranked team. The league is really top heavy this year.
They’re a lot better than the Dolphins though, as the Dolphins rank 29th. Not a very good team to begin with, their defense has been awful since losing defensive end Cameron Wake for the season with a torn Achilles about a month ago. They’re also missing right tackle JuWuan James, while the Jets get key center Nick Mangold back from injury this week. Mangold has been in and out of the lineup over the past month with various injuries, which has really hurt their offense and coincided with their recent 1-4 stretch, but he’s healthy this week, after leaving last week’s contest with a hand laceration.
All that being said, I’m not going to put money on the Jets as mere 3.5 point favorites, for three reasons. The first reason is that close to 1 in 4 games are decided by a field goal or less, so I’m really worried about a backdoor cover. The second reason is that Darrelle Revis is out with a concussion and their secondary looks a lot worse without him. The third reason is that the Jets are in a terrible spot, as they will be underdogs against the Giants next week, while the Dolphins will be favored at home against the lowly Ravens. Favorites are 96-166 ATS since 2008 before being underdogs when their opponent will next be favorites. If this line goes down to 3, I may reconsider, but, for now, this is a low confidence pick.
New York Jets 20 Miami Dolphins 13
Pick against the spread: NY Jets -3.5