Minnesota Vikings (3-2-1) at New York Jets (3-3)
The Jets have gotten off to a surprising 3-3 start, but they’ve faced a relatively easy schedule. Their wins have come over the Lions, Broncos, and Colts and even the teams they’ve lost to are not that impressive, losing to the Dolphins, Browns, and Jaguars. They’re also a bottom-4 team in first down rate differential at -4.56% and have the worst red zone touchdown percentage in the league, scoring a touchdown on just 30% of their red zone opportunities, with most of their scores coming on longer plays from outside the 20.
Making matters worse, the Jets come into this game pretty banged up. They will be without 2 of their top-3 cornerbacks again this week, with Trumaine Johnson and Buster Skrine still injured, and they will also be without top receiver Quincy Enunwa and the receiver who likely would have replaced Enunwa in the lineup, Terrelle Pryor. On top of that, top running back Isaiah Crowell is at less than 100% with a foot injury.
Fortunately, they’re facing an equally banged up Minnesota team. Projected by many to be a top contender in the NFC, the Vikings have been underwhelming in large part due to injury and rank just 22nd in first down rate differential. Defensive end Everson Griffen and running back Dalvin Cook have missed extended periods of time and continue to be out, while left tackle Riley Reiff and safety Andrew Sendejo will miss their second straight game this week, after missing last week’s underwhelming home performance at home against the Cardinals. Even with those players out, I still have this line calculated at Minnesota -4, but there’s not nearly enough here to bet this game.
Update: Linval Joseph was unexpectedly ruled out for the Vikings Sunday morning, but this line has not moved to compensate. I’m changing my pick to the Jets, but this remains a no confidence pick.
Minnesota Vikings 20 New York Jets 17
Pick against the spread: NY Jets +3.5