New England Patriots (8-2 SU, 8-2 ATS) vs. New York Jets (3-7 SU, 3-7 ATS)
Week 12 NFL
Date/Time: Sunday, November 27, 2016 at 4:25PM EST
Where: MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, New Jersey
By Loot, NFL Football Handicapper, Lootmeister.com
Betting Odds: NE -7.5/NYJ +7.5
Over/Under Total: 47
The New England Patriots come into East Rutherford on Sunday to face the New York Jets in key AFC East action. The Jets are coming off a bye week, which follows two losses in a row that have deposited them at 3-7. They landed here with a thud, a ten-win team from last year that had shown promise a few weeks ago with two straight wins. They look to spoil things for the visiting Patriots who moved to 8-2 on Sunday with a road win and cover against the 49ers, 30-17. After losing to Seattle, it was a good game for New England, as they got back on the winning track. They face another team that looks like it has a lot of problems this week in the 3-win Jets.
What gives with the Jets? How does a team go from ten wins to a bottom-feeder? The reasons are multifold. Injuries haven't helped. Some key acquisitions have fallen flat. The secondary at times has been victimized. And the feel-good story of Ryan Fitzpatrick last season came down to earth in a big way this season. In the last game, he was replaced in the starting role by Bryce Petty. In a 9-6 loss to the Rams, he failed to excite and they will be going back to Fitzpatrick this week. In a season that is all but lost, maybe they could have given the kid Petty an extended look, but they look to Fitzpatrick to finish out what has been a tough season. At any rate, they're 28th in total offense.
Fitzpatrick's production fell off markedly, with a 9-13 TD-to-INT ratio on just 56% completions. Matt Forte hasn't been bad in his first season in a Jets uniform, but he's been far from the dual threat on the ground and the air that he was in Chicago. Not having Eric Decker in there has hurt. And the line is often not up-to-snuff. It just hasn't clicked. They weren't an offense that was terribly together to begin with, but the setbacks have put them into a funk. They still have nice production at times through the air with Brandon Marshall and emerging Quincy Enunwa and Forte can still make nice runs. It's just that they're an incomplete group with the missing pieces, a shoddy line, and subpar play at quarterback.
The defense is a key part to the Jets' success. And while parts of this defense have thrived, they are no longer a good or complete defense by any measure. Guys like Sheldon Richardson, Muhammad Wilkerson, Leonard Williams, and others have been good in stopping the run, with some help from the middle and guys like David Harris. But the secondary has been dicey. And with all the name-power and supposed potential in that area, it's really a letdown how much they've underperformed. It's a big reason why a good defense from last season turned into a group that is 20th in points allowed. With an offense that is suspect, the Jets needed this side of the ball to be really on-point this season and it's a big reason why they're 3-7.
The Patriots took care of business on Sunday, though it's hard to gauge a team based on a win over the hopeless 49ers, a team that can barely cover spreads at this point. Tom Brady threw for 280 yards and 4 touchdowns. It's the second time in 3 games that he has thrown for 4 scores. Malcolm Mitchell had his biggest game as a rookie with two TD scores on 98 yards receiving. Julian Edelman is heating up and had 8 catches and a score on Sunday, with James White adding a score along with Danny Amendola. On the ground, LeGarrette Blount had another big day with 124 yards rushing. His performance this season has been key.
In the Pats' offense, the system is what it's all about. Belichick can seemingly plunk anyone in there and they'll be productive. This season, we again see a cabaret approach of different players delivering. Still, the one spoke in the wheel they cannot overcome is tight end-extraordinaire Rob Gronkowski, who missed the last game with a perforated lung. He could be back this week, but will he be fully-available? It didn't show against the battered and spiraling Niners on Sunday and it might not this week against a struggling Jets bunch. But this offense with Gronk and without him are two different things.
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The New England defense has looked better than they did on Sunday, with San Fran having some of their more successful offensive moments of the season. It still only manifested into 17 points. Still, they made enough plays to keep SF in check, including 5 sacks and a slew of big stops in key situations. And that's been the key to the New England defensive success this season—clutch play. They are 16th against the pass and 17th against the run, which suggests a middling defense, until you see they're among the leaders in allowing just 18 points a game. Still, the front seven remains a issue moving forward, with inconsistency and injuries.
This is perhaps a tad more difficult to predict that what appears on paper. The Jets are coming off a bye and are well-rested if nothing else. They are dug in at home awaiting the Patriots, who are at less than full-strength. It didn't show against San Fran, but could against a Jets' team whose ceiling is higher than the Niners. One never likes to lay a bunch of points on a road team in a divisional game, though the Pats are clearly the superior football team. Something just tells me this is a good week to have the points in this matchup. I'll take the Jets.
Loot's Prediction to Cover the Point Spread: I'm betting on the New York Jets plus 7.5 points. Tired of your credit card not working for sportsbook deposit? End that problem today by signing up and betting the Pats vs. Jets game at Bovada Sportsbook where your credit card WILL work and where you'll receive a generous 100% sign-up bonus!