New York Jets (2-2) at Cleveland Browns (0-4)
Going into the season, the Jets were seen as one of the worst teams in recent memory and a legitimate candidate to go 0-16, after completely gutting their roster this off-season. However, they’ve managed to win two games in a row, so the general public is starting to think they might not be so bad. The Browns were favored by 4 in this game on the early line last week, but now this line is even, which is a significant line movement given that about 30% of games are decided by 4 points or less. That’s partially because the Browns got blown out by the Bengals, but I think the public is overrating the Jets because of their record.
I still have them ranked dead last in my roster rankings, especially given that they’re missing talented edge defender Kony Ealy with injury. Their first win came at home against the Dolphins, who are one of the worst teams in the league and who was playing in London the following week, and their second win came in overtime at home against the Jaguars, a middling team at best who had just returned from London. Despite the easy schedule and the two wins, they still rank just 28th in first down rate differential. Their defense has been middle of the pack, allowing opponents to move the chains at a 34.34% rate, but their offense has been horrendous, only picking up first downs at a 29.11% rate. On paper, this is still arguably the least talented team in the league, so it shouldn’t be a surprise if they ultimately end up with only 3-5 wins when all is said and done.
They get another easy game this week, but they have to travel to Cleveland after spending the last two games at home and they’ve looked pretty bad on the road thus far. As bad as the Browns are, I still have them one point better than the Jets, so I have this line at -4, which is where the line was before the significant line movement. I love fading significant week-to-week line movements as they tend to be an overreaction to a single week of play. The Jets are also in a tough spot with a huge home game against the Patriots on deck. Teams are 20-43 ATS since 2012 before being home underdogs of 7 or more and the Jets are underdogs of 9.5 on the early line. There’s enough line value here for me to make a small bet on the Browns, but it’s hard to be too confident in them right now, even if all they have to do is win at home against a terrible team.
Sunday Update: This line has jumped to Cleveland +2 and the money line is now worth a play at +110.
Cleveland Browns 24 New York Jets 20 Upset Pick +110
Pick against the spread: Cleveland +2