Cincinnati Bengals (0-0) at New York Jets (0-0)
The Bengals were one of the best teams in the league last season before Andy Dalton went down with an injury. Dalton is now healthy, but doesn’t have the same team around him. The Bengals lost 2 of Dalton’s top-3 wide receivers this off-season and also lost a pair of starters in the secondary. In addition, they had no next to injuries around Dalton last season, finishing with the fewest adjusted games lost to injury. Not only does that mean they don’t have any key players returning from injury to give them a boost, as most teams do, but they’re already without tight end Tyler Eifert, linebacker Vontaze Burfict (suspended), first round pick cornerback William Jackson, and fourth round pick defensive tackle Andrew Billings. That puts them at a major disadvantage.
The Jets, meanwhile, actually finished last season with the best rate of moving the chains differential in the AFC, finishing 4th overall, but didn’t even make the playoffs at 10-6. Just one of their losses came by more than a touchdown, while 6 of their wins came by 13 or more, so they were definitely better than their record and could have easily won 11 or 12 games. However, like the Bengals, they may have missed their opportunity and seem due for a regression this season. This is a very veteran-laden team without much young talent, particularly on offense, so they’re unlikely to be as good as they were last season. I disagree with them being home underdogs here, even if only by 1.5 points, but I would need the full field goal to put any money on them.
New York Jets 17 Cincinnati Bengals 16 Upset Pick +105
Pick against the spread: NY Jets +1.5