New York Jets (+10)* at New England Patriots
By the time the Indianapolis Colts had scored their third touchdown of the first quarter, all hope was lost. The underdog, for the fifth time in six weeks, was getting embarrassed on Thursday night’s nationally televised game. Chalking this game up for a loss, the following series of thoughts took place:
“The Colts were the obvious pick all week, why didn’t we just ride out the favorite instead of trying to catch the reversal?”
“This will make underdogs 1-5 on Thursday night games. No trend is ever this close to 100%. If it reverts back to near 50 percent (like most do), underdogs should go 6-6 in the remaining twelve Thursday Night games, at worst.”
“At this point, we can’t abandon ship. We have to play the likelihood that this streak is running out. We have to stick with the underdog next week unless Houston mounts a ridiculous comeback here.”
“Hey, a comeback.”
“Okay, Houston didn’t do it, so we have to go with the next team. Who do we have next week?”
“No. Please no…”
“Thanks, Ryan Fitzpatrick. This one is on you.”
“This means we have to take the Jets.”
The Patriots have quickly and effectively silenced all critics for the time being with consecutive double-digit wins. The Jets have only fueled the fire of analysts with their 1-5 start, and the biggest debate among fans is whether Rex Ryan, John Idzik, or both need to get fired at the end of the year.
The two teams enter this game heading in completely opposite directions, but that is not necessarily a sign it will continue. Bad as the Jets may appear, they are unlikely to finish the season at their current pace of two or three wins. The more they lose, the more desperation will set in, and for a team that started the year with playoff aspirations – this was lunacy, but it happened – team personnel may be at risk in-season if things don’t begin to turn upwards. With their backs to the wall, the Jets should be playing the role of the ‘dead man walking’ with nothing to lose.
What shouldn’t be overlooked is that the Patriots are not the type of team to let off the gas pedal as the game winds down. There is no love lost between these two teams, and if the Patriots can pile points on the board against the Jets, they probably will. In their last eight matchups, New England has won six by an average score of 34-16.
Oddly enough, despite the Patriots’ success against the Jets, most of their biggest victories have come on the road. In the past four seasons, only once have the Patriots beaten the Jets by double digits at home – the infamous 45-3 thrashing on Monday Night Football – but the other three games in Foxborough have been decided by an average of five points.
With three of their last four meetings decided by a field goal, another close game should be in the works on Thursday night. As we wrote last week, these blowouts cannot continue to happen, and the large spread is quite forgiving for the underdog. Once again, we will take the bait and the points, picking the Jets to lose by four in New England, beating the spread.