Carolina Panthers (7-3) at New York Jets (4-6)
The NFC is loaded with playoff contenders, but the Panthers are in good position for at least a wild card coming out of their bye at 7-3. They are also big road favorites this week in New York against the Jets, which is typically a good spot for a team coming out of a bye. Road favorites of 3.5+ are 53-28 ATS since 1989 and the Panthers are 6 point favorites here. However, that record drops to 11-10 ATS when the opponent is also coming off of a bye, and the Jets are also coming off of their bye. On top of that, I don’t think the Panthers deserve to be 6 point favorites, as I have this these teams about 6 points apart in my rankings, meaning I have this line calculated at just 3 in favor of the visiting Panthers. Given that 30% of games are decided by 3-6 points, that’s a significant difference.
The Jets are not that talented of a team, but they are relatively healthy compared to the rest of the league and they at least try hard and are well coached under Todd Bowles and his staff, which makes them the best of about 7 or 8 bottom tier teams. They Jets are also 5-0 ATS this season at home, including an overtime win over the now 7-3 Jaguars and close losses against the 8-2 Patriots and 6-4 Falcons. If they can give those teams tough games, they should be able to give the Panthers a tough game as well. Carolina is a good team, but they’re not quite as good as their record, as they are just 3-2 in games decided by a touchdown or more. The Jets are worth a small bet as this could be another close win for the Panthers, who have 3 victories by at least 3 points already this season.
Carolina Panthers 20 New York Jets 17
Pick against the spread: NY Jets +6