Denver Broncos (0-3) at New York Jets (0-3)
This is a tough one, because there are really no good arguments for either side. Both teams are 0-3 and deservedly so and, with the line being even, this is a straight win/loss pick ‘em. The Broncos came into the season with a lot of potential, but they’ve been derailed by injuries, losing starting quarterback Drew Lock, top wide receiver Courtland Sutton, starting right tackle Elijah Wilkinson, top defensive lineman Jurrell Casey, stud edge defender Von Miller, starting linebacker Mark Barron, and cornerback AJ Bouye already in this young season. Backup quarterback Jeff Driskel proved to be in over his head and has been pulled for third string quarterback Brett Rypien, a 2019 undrafted free agent who will make his first start in this game.
The Jets, meanwhile, came into the season with much less potential. Already an underwhelming team, the Jets lost linebacker CJ Mosley to an opt-out and traded Jamal Adams to the Seahawks before the season, stripping them of their top-2 defensive players before the year even began. Things have gotten even worse though, primarily due to injuries. The Jets haven’t quite had the Broncos’ injury issues, but they played last week without their top-3 wide receivers and their starting running back, leaving them devoid of skill position talent on offense. Quarterback Sam Darnold also hasn’t progressed in his third year in the league, so this offense has been tremendously stagnant, with a 29.14% first down rate differential that is not only dead last in the league, but 9.88% less than league average.
The Broncos have been the better team this season, ranking 22nd in first down rate differential (-2.24%), as compared to dead last 32nd (-10.65%) for the Jets, but I don’t really want to take an unproven third string quarterback on a short week on the road, even if it is against a team like the Jets in a year where homefield advantage is diminished. My roster rankings, which takes into account the Broncos’ quarterback situation, has the Broncos 31st and the Jets 32nd, giving the Broncos just a half point edge. Ultimately, this decision is going to come down to injuries. I’m taking the Jets for a no confidence pick, but they could be without talented rookie left tackle Mekhi Becton and/or could get wide receiver Jamison Crowder back to give them some much needed skill position talent. Depending on the injury report, I may change this to a no confidence pick the other way.
New York Jets 16 Denver Broncos 14
Pick against the spread: NY Jets PK