New England Patriots (6-0) at New York Jets (1-4)
It’s tough to know what to make of the Jets. Week 1, they lost at home to the Bills, despite winning the turnover battle by 3, posting a -12.41% first down rate in the process. Then they lost quarterback Sam Darnold and top defensive player CJ Mosley for and had a -14.45% first down rate over 3 games. Last week, however, the Jets got Darnold back and pulled the surprising upset against a Cowboys team that had won the first down rate battle in each of their first 5 games. Even though they only won that game by 2, the Jets actually won the first down rate battle by 5.26%, so it was an impressive showing in Darnold’s return.
This week, the Jets could be getting CJ Mosley back, but even if he does return they are far from 100%. They will be without their left side of the offensive line, with both Kelvin Beachum and Kelechi Osemele injured, while center Ryan Kalil and right guard Brian Winters are both questionable after being limited in practice on Friday. Also questionable after being limited in practice are wide receiver Demaryius Thomas, cornerback Darryl Roberts, and nose tackle Steve McLendon, while defensive end Henry Anderson, tight end Chris Herndon, and middle linebacker Neville Hewitt are all doubtful.
The Jets also host a tough Patriots team that won the first down rate battle against them by 21.48% in their meeting in New England a few weeks ago. Being at home and having Darnold and Mosley back will definitely help, but with everyone else the Jets are missing, they could still have trouble keeping this game close. The Patriots haven’t faced a tough schedule, but they’ve won all 6 games by an average of 23.7 points per game and lead the league with a very impressive +13.11% first down rate differential. I actually have this line calculated at New England -14, but I wouldn’t bet on the Patriots unless this line falls below 10 because there’s a lot of uncertainty with the Jets and because the Jets could give a big effort at home on Monday Night and keep this closer than expected.
New England Patriots 23 New York Jets 10
Pick against the spread: New England -10