Los Angeles Rams (3-5 SU, 3-4-1 ATS) vs. New York Jets (3-6 SU, 3-6 ATS)
Week 10 NFL
Date/Time: Sunday, November 13, 2016 at 1PM EST
Where: MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, New Jersey
By Loot, NFL Football Handicapper, Lootmeister.com
Betting Odds: LA +2.5/NYJ -2.5
Over/Under Total: 41
The Los Angeles Rams make the long road trip to MetLife Stadium on Sunday to face the New York Jets in a battle of three-win teams. Neither team is happy with the results they got last Sunday. The Rams saw their offense grounded to halt against Carolina in a deflating 13-10 home loss, their 4th defeat in a row, following a promising 3-game win streak. Can they get back on the winning track this week against the Jets? The Jets had won two in a row leading to last week, before they dropped a 27-23 loss on the road against Miami. At 3-6, sand is running out of the hourglass for the Jets, a ten-win team from last season.
The Rams are in trouble, there is no other way to cut it. They looked wretched to open the season in a 28-0 loss to a San Francisco team that has yet to win another game. They then went on a three-game win streak where their defense was in control and the offense doing enough to keep them ahead. They have now scored ten points in each of their last two games. On Sunday, they didn't even score for the first three and a half quarters of the game, a dreary home performance. With four losses in a row, it's becoming hard to see the silver lining in the Rams' 2016 season.
In terms of points scored, which is really what it's all about, the Rams rank 32nd out of 32 teams. Granted, no one expected a high-flying group. But with the number-one pick in the draft and picking a QB with a second-year star back in Todd Gurley, there was optimism. Well, Jared Goff has yet to even hit the field and Gurley is averaging a miserable 3.1 yards a game. QB Case Keenum has 9 TDs and 11 picks. No one can run the ball. And Jeff Fisher seems reluctant to make changes. At the end of the day, it might be time to start taking Fisher to task for how long he's been at it trying to turn this franchise around to no avail. It seems like his hubris is perhaps a boundary to success, as his mojo has evaporated.
The Rams have a couple decent pieces on offense, guys who would be small role players on other teams. Kenny Britt and Brian Quick are decent receivers, with Lance Kendrick a nice target at tight end. Tavon Austin is a versatile weapon. But they've come far from making the most of what they have. They're more or less just swooshing around out there—aimless and far from dangerous.
The Rams certainly have a tough defense. They are usually hung out to dry, yet are still able to perform. One could only imagine what this defense would be capable of if the offense were even able to remotely hold up their end of the deal. With Aaron Donald, Robert Quinn, Michael Brockers, and William Hayes, the front is one of the more formidable in the league. Alec Ogletree and Trumaine Johnson are a force in the middle, with the secondary strong, as well. They're probably not good enough, however, to withstand an offense that so often grinds down to a halt. And because of that, this is a defense that is wasted to a large extent, left on its own to fend for itself and win games—too much to ask.
The Jets were looking to pump some life into their season after winning two straight against Baltimore and Cleveland, so Sunday was a discouraging development. The Jets were hanging in there against the Dolphins in a back-and-forth battle. With a little over 5 minutes left in the game, Jets' quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick hit Jalin Marshall for a go-ahead touchdown. The excitement was as short-lived as it gets, with the Dolphins running the ensuing kickoff back for a touchdown to take the lead for good, 27-23.
The Jets' offense has been hit hard by a lot of different things—inconsistent play, injuries, and turnovers. With two more picks on Sunday, Fitzpatrick now has 8 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. He also hurt his knee, with Bryce Petty coming in briefly, as Fitz is listed as day-to-day. Running back Matt Forte had a decent game and was the lone bright spot in the offense. They aren't really strong in any area. The passing game, despite some veteran and young talent like Brandon Marshall, Quincy Enunwa, Jalin Marshall, and others, is a pretty lackluster group. And for them to be averaging under 20 points a game is really disappointing.
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Last season, we saw a resurgent Jets' defense that was stout and made a bunch of plays. This season, the defense features a stout front, both in terms of rushing the passer and stuffing the run, but all other phases of this group have suffered. The secondary has suffered at times massively this season. And when a key spot comes up, the defense never seems to rise to the occasion in close games. In a way, they resemble the Rams with their lack of making things work despite a lot of good pieces being in place. There's a chasm in the available talent at their disposal and the results they are able to manufacture.
This is not an easy game to size-up. Both teams have shown different range of form and who really knows what you're getting week-to-week? It seems like waiting for the Rams to spring into form is a futile endeavor. At least the Jets are showing some signs of like with two wins and a close loss in their last three games. In a game like this, there might not be much more to go on other than some vague notion of momentum. I'll take the Jets.
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