Atlanta Falcons (3-3) at New York Jets (3-4)
Few would have guessed before the season that these two teams would have similar records when they met in week 8, as the Jets were seen as one of the worst teams in the league, while the Falcons were reigning NFC Champions. Even fewer would have guessed these records after the start of the season, when the Falcons started 3-0 and the Jets lost their first 2 games, but the Falcons have dropped 3 straight games since the bye, while the Jets won 3 straight games before losing in Miami last week.
I still have these two teams pretty far apart though, as the Jets are still one of the least talented teams in the league and the Falcons are still one of the most. In terms of first down rate differential, the Falcons rank 6th at 3.53%, while the Jets rank 30th at -5.32%, despite the fact that the Falcons have had a tougher schedule. The Jets’ 3 wins came against the Dolphins, who had their London game on deck, the Jaguars in overtime, after the Jaguars had just gotten back from London, and the Browns, who could have easily won if not for multiple red zone turnovers.
The Falcons, meanwhile, have lost to the Bills, in a game in which the Falcons lost the turnover battle by 3 yet only lost by 6, the Dolphins, who they led 17-0 in the first half before taking their foot off their brake with New England on deck, and the Patriots last week in New England. That 23-7 loss to the Patriots moved this line from -7.5 on the early line to -6.5 this week, crossing the key line of 7, but the Falcons still moved the chains at a 39.29% rate. They just couldn’t cash in their drives, missing a pair of makeable field goals and getting stuff on 4th and goal from the 1.
This line likely would have been at least 10 a few weeks ago, so I like getting the Falcons at -6.5 in New York. They should be able to win this game by at least a touchdown and prove that there’s still a major difference in talent between these two teams. This line opened at -4.5, but heavy sharp action on the Falcons caused the line to increase quickly. As long as the line is still under a touchdown, the Falcons are worth a bet, but I’m holding out hope that this line drops back down so we get more line value. If that happens, I may increase this to a high confidence pick.
Atlanta Falcons 27 New York Jets 17
Pick against the spread: Atlanta -6.5