Indianapolis Colts (5-6 SU, 5-5-1 ATS) vs. New York Jets (3-8 SU, 4-7 ATS)
Week 13 NFL
Date/Time: Monday Night Football, December 5, 2016 at 8:30PM EST
Where: MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, New Jersey
By Loot, NFL Football Handicapper, Lootmeister.com
Betting Odds: IND -1.5/NYJ +1.5
Over/Under Total: 49
The Indianapolis Colts come to East Rutherford on Monday Night Football to face the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium. This is perhaps not the MNF matchup the powers-that-be had in mind, with both teams having failed to hit their stride in 2016. For the Colts, it's getting pretty critical at 5-6 and following a Thanksgiving Day loss to the Steelers, 28-7, the margin for error has narrowed They get a long week to work things out and they need a win to stay in the mix in the AFC South. The Jets, meanwhile, continued their losing ways, coming off the bye to lose at home to the Patriots, 22-17. They led in the 4th quarter, but New England was able to get the win.
Indy was without Andrew Luck on Thanksgiving, the result of a concussion he suffered in the previous game. They get him back just in time to make a run, as the Colts can ill-afford more setbacks. They had won 3 of 4 leading into the Steelers game and were showing signs of playing better ball. Without Luck and with seldom-used Scott Tolzien behind center, the offense was off the mark with 7 points on the day. The defense, while not allowing a Pittsburgh offensive downpour, wasn't good enough to withstand the lack of production on the other side of the ball.
Still, the Colts' defense has been OK on occasion in recent weeks. They're still not a good defense. Since week one, they've given up between 17 and 31 points in each game, usually towards the high-end of that range. The defense can sometimes apply a decent pass rush with still-useful Robert Mathis, along with Eric Walden. Their turnover rate has been on the low side with just 3 picks on the season. Again, they're not terribly effective, though they can play over their heads on some occasions.
The Colts will get a boost with Luck coming back. The line has still been really awful, both in terms of opening holes up for the running-game and in protecting the quarterback and they enter this game a little banged-up. Opposing pass rushes usually stand this group up and exploit them. Luck will look to reconnect with his aerial crew and there is promise in that area, with TY Hilton a major producer, along with Donte Moncrief, TE Jack Doyle, TE Dwayne Allen, Phillip Dorsett, and other useful role players. Frank Gore is still a handful in the right spots, both running and in catching short passes. They just haven't really established a groove yet this season, with only occasional flashes of the offense we've seen in the past.
Still, the Colts have recouped from poor starts before. Granted, they hit their stride before it got to this point, but Luck has shown a fighter's spirit and one could imagine a more-urgent version of Luck surfacing in coming weeks for this team. They still have a lot of issues and the kinds of problems that don't go away easily, namely a lack of protection up-front that throws their offense into a scrambling mess, along with a defense that doesn't always cooperate.
One shouldn't be too hard on the Jets for Sunday's loss to a team like New England. The Pats needed a score in the game's final two minutes to score the win. The Jets were plucky and showed some life, a good sign after a prolonged funk that this season has turned into for a team that won ten games last season. After missing the last game with a sprained knee, QB Ryan Fitzpatrick was OK with 269 yards and two TD, and most importantly, no interceptions. That's been a problem this season. They couldn't really get the run game going, as Matt Forte's first season in New York continues to underwhelm. Fitzpatrick did connect well with Quincy Enunwa, who was over 100 yards. Brandon Marshall caught a TD, but let's face it, this side of the ball has not clicked this season. In the last two games, they have a combined 23 points of scoring.
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The Jets didn't get the win and that's what counts at the end of the day, but the Jets' defense has shown better form. After allowing 9 points the previous week, giving up 22 to the Pats and keeping them in check for much of the game counts for a lot. Brady had 286 yards and the rush averaged 4.3 yards a run, but they weren't hitting the scoreboard with much regularity, which allowed the Jets to take a fourth quarter lead, if it was only temporary. They continue to be robust up-front, able to get after the passer and plugging up the run. That's about the only thing this team does very well. Their secondary has been porous this season and the defense just hasn't been able to pick up the slack for a pedestrian offense.
At home and playing a little better, is it possible that the Jets can finish strongly in these last five games? They're not winning, but when dealing with a team steeped in a losing season that appears to be going nowhere, you look for signs of fight. And not that they're shot out of a cannon, but they are still showing an edge. A lot of players are being evaluated right now and hope to finish strongly. If the Colts can get to .500 this coming week, they can get right back in the division. They have a lot more to play for, but this has the look of a tricky road spot for a team that has a lot of issues. Still, I see Indy finding a way to pull this out. I'll take the Colts.
Loot's Prediction to Cover the Point Spread: I'm betting on the Indianapolis Colts minus 1.5 points. Tired of your credit card not working for sportsbook deposit? End that problem today and bet the Colts vs. Jets MNF game from home by signing up at Bovada Sportsbook where your credit card WILL work and where you'll receive a generous 100% sign-up bonus!