The New England Patriots were stunned by the Seattle Seahawks last week while the New York Jets rolled the Indianapolis Colts. As a result, there’s a four-way tie atop the AFC East with all four teams at 3-3.
Even though the Jets have looked miserable this season, they’re head coach has already been cocky this week, predicting a win. These two rivals hate each other, which means we should be in for a good show even if the odds makers don’t think this will be much of a contest.
New York Jets @ New England Patriots
NFL Betting Odds: Patriots -10
How The Jets Can Win
If the Jets could only pass the football, they could target New England’s Achilles heel as the Patriots are 28th in the league against the pass. The problem is the Jets are 30th in passing yards and Mark Sanchez doesn’t make anyone feel good about his ability to take the team down the field through the air. They could take a couple shots early to see what they can get away with, but this is a huge game for Sanchez because you can target the Pats’ secondary…if you can throw the ball. Sanchez hasn’t proven he can do that.
How The Patriots Can Win
Defense is what the Patriots have to shore up on in order to come away with the victory here, because their offense is in good shape. They have balance so it isn’t just the Tom Brady show, but when the offense stumbles as it did last week in Seattle (and all credit should go to the Seahawks, who are an excellent defensive football team), the defense has to make stops, particularly through the air. Even their rush-defense stats are skewed simply because the Patriots are so bad through the air, teams don’t bother trying to run on them a lot. If they give up a big passing day to Sanchez and the Jets, that is a sign that the Pats’ pass defense is in really big trouble.
Outlook And Pick
New England is a resounding 10-point favorite At Gillette Stadium, but the Jets have held their own in Foxborough, covering the spread in 12 of 21 trips since 1992. The Patriots have managed to win and cover in three of the last five meetings between the two, which have become more heated since Rex Ryan took over as the head man for the Jets and started poking the bear that is New England coach Bill Belichick, who won’t hesitate to run the score up on anyone at anytime.
This will be more of a battle between the coaches than the players on the field as you get the sense these two genuinely don’t like each other. But the edge has to go to the Patriots here as there are few coaches in any sport that are better at motivating their team after a tough loss than Belichick and he’ll have the Pats fired up, especially at home in front of their fans. Sure, the Jets are coming off a big win over Indianapolis, but that was the Colts and it was their only win in three straight home games; the other two were a shutout by San Francisco and a six-point loss to Houston. Lay the points and roll with the Pats on Sunday.
NFL Pick: Patriots -10