New York Jets (0-12) at Seattle Seahawks (8-4)
The Seahawks lost last week in shocking fashion, sitting at 8-3, at home facing a sub-.500 team who was starting a backup quarterback. Even more shocking is that, while the Seahawks’ issues this season have primarily been on the defensive side of the ball, the unit that struggled the most in Seattle’s 17-12 loss was their offense. The good news is I like the Seahawks’ chances of bouncing back, for a few reasons.
For one, teams typically bounce back off of big upset losses like that, covering at a 57.1% rate all-time after a straight up loss as favorites of 10 or more, as big upset losses tend to be flukes more than anything. The Jaguars’ upset of the Colts and the Raiders’ upset of the Chiefs stand out as two fluky results from this season. The Seahawks’ loss to the Giants will likely be remembered the same way as those losses and both of those teams covered fairly easily the following week.
The Seahawks lso bounced back from losses well in general in the Russell Wilson era, losing back-to-back games just 9 times in about 9 seasons. The Seahawks are favored by 13.5 points in this matchup with the Jets, so they’ll need to win by a lot to cover, but the Seahawks are also 28-12 ATS off of a loss in the Russell Wilson era, including 8-3 ATS as favorites of more than a touchdown, so a huge victory this week to wash away the taste of last week’s disappointing loss is definitely a possibility.
Even with last week’s disappointing offensive performance, the Seahawks still rank 5th in first down rate over expected at +2.11% and, while their defense ranks an underwhelming 20th in first down rate allowed over expected at +1.11%, defensive performance tends to be much more inconsistent on a week-to-week basis than offensive performance and their defense has been significantly better in recent weeks since getting top safety Jamal Adams and top cornerback Shaq Griffin back from injuries and since adding edge defender Carlos Dunlap in a trade with the Bengals.
The Seahawks’ offense has also gotten healthier. They’ve gotten their top-2 running backs Chris Carson and Carlos Hyde back from significant absences in recent weeks and this week they’ll have their full healthy offensive line together for the first time since 4, with right tackle Brandon Shell set to return this week. The Seahawks aren’t at 100%, but no one is at this point in the season and they’re legitimately healthier right now than they’ve been since the start of the season. In their current state, I have the Seahawks ranked 2nd in my roster rankings, so they should be a force going forward, last week’s fluky result aside.
The Jets, meanwhile, haven’t won a game all season and most of their losses haven’t been close, as 7 of their 12 losses were by 14 or more points, which would cover this spread, and their average margin of defeat is 14.4 points per game, so the Seahawks wouldn’t even need to give the Jets their average margin of defeat to cover this spread. This line was -15 last week on the early line, but it shifted to 13.5 in the wake of Seattle’s fluky loss, which gives us some extra line value. The Jets’ had one of their better performances of the year last week in a near win over the Raiders, but their good health in the receiving corps and on the offensive line lasted just one week and, as a result, my roster rankings suggest there is about a 14.5 point difference between these two teams.
The Jets are also in a tough spot with back-to-back hard road games, with a trip to Los Angeles to face the Rams on deck. It’s very tough for inferior teams to keep up with superior teams when they have another superior team on deck, as teams are 55-91 ATS since 1989 as double digit underdogs before being double digit underdogs again the following week. Everything suggests this should be a blowout, so, even though I don’t love betting on big favorites, this seems like a relatively safe bet.
Seattle Seahawks 30 New York Jets 13
Pick against the spread: Seattle -13.5