New England Patriots (3-4) at New York Jets (5-2)
The Jets are off to a surprising 5-2 start and, while they probably aren’t as good as that record suggests, they are probably still better than they are being given credit for, as 2.5-point home underdogs against the Patriots. It’s surprising that their record is as good as it is, but it’s not surprising to see the Jets be significantly improved from a year ago, particularly on the defensive side of the ball.
The Jets’ offense is underwhelming, ranking 29th in schedule adjusted efficiency, and the injuries are starting to pile up on that side of the ball as well, missing starting wide receiver Corey Davis, impressive rookie running back Breece Hall, and talented starting right tackle Alijah Vera-Tucker, among other lesser absences, but their defense has jumped from 31st in schedule adjusted defensive efficiency a year ago to now ranking 6th, about three points above average.
That defensive performance is no fluke, as they are significantly more talented on that side of the ball this season, with several key players bouncing back from injuries (Carl Lawson, Quinnen Williams) and other key players being added in the draft (Ahmad Gardner) and free agency this off-season (DJ Reed, Kwon Alexander). My roster rankings have their defense about three points above average, in line with schedule adjusted defensive efficiency and, even with their offensive issues, I still have them just a point below average overall in my roster rankings.
The Patriots are about a point above average in my roster rankings, so they’re the slightly better team, but not enough to justify them being favored by this many points on the road. My calculated line is even, with the Jets having a slightly better chance to win than the Patriots. We’re not getting enough points with the Jets for them to be worth betting unless we get a full field goal with them, but they should be the right side for pick ‘em purposes either way and the money line is a good value at +120, as the Jets should be considered no worse than 50/50 to win this game outright.
New York Jets 17 New England Patriots 16 Upset Pick +120
Pick against the spread: NY Jets +2.5