Week 3 seems way too early for a must-win game, but a loss this Sunday could spell trouble for the Patriots.
Luckily for New England, it plays Zach Wilson and the New York Jets this Sunday at MetLife Stadium. Wilson was atrocious against the Cowboys in Week 2, and even though Dallas does have the best defense in the NFL, it still could be a get-right spot for the Patriots defense.
Wilson was pressured at the highest rate in the NFL through the first two weeks of the season at 53.4%, per Pro Football Focus. New York also has gotten nothing from its run game with marquee signing Dalvin Cook averaging 2.4 yards per carry through two games as Breece Hall is eased back from injury.
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If the Patriots defense can’t get going against the lowly Jets offense, then there are serious problems ahead for the unit.
Bill O’Brien tried to get the ball out of Jones’ hands quickly through the first two games, but that has limited the explosiveness of the offense with Jones’ 8.7-yard average depth of target. Granted, receivers like JuJu Smith-Schuster and DeVante Parker gave the Patriots very little to work with in Week 2, so it’s hard to find a clean answer to New England’s problems.
Demario Douglas could be the X-factor for the Patriots if Bill Belichick decides to take him out of the doghouse after his fumble against the Miami Dolphins in Week 2. But New England has to show it can generate explosive plays on offense if it wants to sniff the postseason.
Here’s all you need to know about Sunday’s Patriots-Jets matchup from a betting perspective, with lines and props from FanDuel Sportsbook.
(-2.5) New England Patriots at New York Jets
When: Sunday, Sept. 24 at 1 p.m. ET
Where: MetLife Stadium; East Rutherford, New Jersey
BETTING TRENDS TO KNOW
New England enters Sunday with a 14-game winning streak against New York. It is 8-2 against the spread in its last 10 games against the Jets, and the Patriots are 15-8 ATS in their last 23 games on the road against New York. The Jets are 8-17 ATS when they are an underdog of seven or fewer points, and they are 2-5 ATS in their last seven games with Wilson as the starter. The under has hit for the Patriots in six of their last seven games at MetLife Stadium, and it has hit eight of the last 10 times they were a road favorite. When they’re a road favorite of seven or fewer points, the under hit six of the last seven times.
PATRIOTS PROP TO CONSIDER
Hunter Henry over 32.5 receiving yards (-114) — Jones can’t stop throwing it Henry, so we’re not going to stop firing props on the tight end. Henry is New England’s leading receiver with 11 receptions for 108 yards and two touchdowns. The Jets have given up the seventh-most fantasy points to tight ends so that matchup could be one to exploit rather than testing Sauce Gardner and D.J. Reed on the outside. Henry seemingly is the only pass catcher Jones trusts at the beginning of the season, so 50 yards should be the minimum for Henry.
JETS PROP TO CONSIDER
Zach Wilson over 30.5 pass attempts (-102) — Despite head coach Robert Saleh’s persistent confidence in his signal-caller, New York likely doesn’t want Wilson slinging the ball more than 30 times, but it might have to if the Patriots can get something going on offense and it’s caught playing from behind. The Patriots also are 24th in expected points added allowed per dropback, and it’s possible offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett takes a page out of Miami’s playbook and tries to attack the Patriots with quick, short passes rather than rely on his inept run game. How efficient these pass attempts will be is irrelevant. All we need is for Wilson to throw a lot.
PICK: Patriots -2.5
Injuries are mounting for New England, but that problem likely will affect it in Week 4 against the Dallas Cowboys rather than this Sunday. Defensive and special teams scores could threaten an under pick, so we’re playing with fire and trusting Jones can lead the Patriots out of their slump and quiet down Boston media for at least a week. Historically, the Patriots have beaten the Jets with ease, and we’re playing into that narrative and hope there isn’t some random mistake that costs New England the game.