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New York Jets vs. New England Patriots Point Spread - Pick

New York Jets (5-10 SU, 9-5-1 ATS) vs. New England Patriots (12-3 SU, 10-5 ATS)
Week 17 NFL
Date/Time: Sunday, December 31, 2017 at 1PM EST
Where: Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, Massachusetts
TV: CBS

By Loot, NFL Football Handicapper, Lootmeister.com

Point Spread: NYJ +15.5/NE -15.5
Over/Under Total: 45

The New York Jets come to Foxborough on Sunday for a week 17 AFC East battle with the New England Patriots. The Jets were at one point an overachieving team that has hit the rocks with injuries and different issues. On Sunday, they fell at home to the Chargers, 14-7, to fall to 5-10. The Patriots are looking to lock up the top seed in the playoffs and could do so with a win in this game. On Sunday, they continued their winning ways with a 37-16 win over the Bills. These AFC East rivals met in week 6 in East Rutherford, with the Jets respectable in a 24-17 loss. But they're probably worse now and New England has won 10 of 11 games.

The Patriots are guaranteed a first-round bye. They can earn the top-seed and homefield throughout the playoffs with a win on Sunday or a loss by the Steelers to the Browns. Expecting the Steelers to lose to the Browns could be asking too much and having that conference title game at home will be big this season, so I'd expect the Pats to be gunning pretty hard for this win on Sunday.

The offense is really clicking for the Patriots lately. Earlier in the season, too much was falling on Tom Brady, but different guys have stepped up. The run game has gotten a boost and Dion Lewis is playing his best ball of the season and has gone over 800 yards with some big games of late. TE Rob Gronkowski can singlehandedly transform this offense when he's on fire and his showings as of late have been tremendous. Both he and Brandin Cooks are over 1000 yards receiving, with a big assist coming from Danny Amendola. Throw in a bunch of other guys who can contribute and this is an offense where a lot of players can shine.

Key to the Patriots overcoming a tough start this season has been the sudden and drastic improvement on the defensive side of the ball. Earlier in the season, it seemed to be a major handicap, with the Patriots' championship-ability to adjust getting them back on the right track. Over the course of the last three months, they have been a lot better. The pass-defense started playing a lot better. Corners Malcolm Butler and Stephon Gilmore have seen their form improve and this side of the ball has become a team asset, allowing just 13.5 points a game in their last 10 wins.

The Jets were looking good at one point. In their first game against the Patriots, they had won 3 in a row to get to 3-2. The positive developments since then have been fairly minimal. The injuries were something they were able to overcome early, but as they kept occurring, it eventually swallowed up the Jets and their hopes on the season. Losing Josh McCown a few weeks ago may haven been the final nail in the coffin, as the veteran QB was getting a lot out of a dilapidated offense. And inconsistent play on the other side of the ball has followed.

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Nothing against Bryce Petty, as there aren't a ton of young quarterbacks who would thrive in these conditions. Still, his two starts have been far-from inspiring. The line hasn't helped as Jets' quarterbacks haven't been well-protected this season. Bilal Powell is a nice back, but maybe not what you'd call a difference-maker. And Robbie Anderson and Jermaine Kearse are nice receivers, though not what you want as your featured aerial package. It's just that injuries have rendered the offense almost a minor league unit at this point, featuring a lot of guys that wouldn't get a ton of playing time in most offenses.

A one-time proud Jets' defense has also failed to keep pace this season. They haven't been terrible from an overall stoutness standpoint. But their lack of big play ability in the form of turnovers, scores, and a pass-rush has been a major drawback. The disintegration of their defensive line has been hard to watch, as a unit that used to be able to control games has fallen off precipitously. There are youngsters like high draft pick Jamal Adams, who haven't really panned out. They hope they can somehow hang in there against the Patriots like they did in their first game at home.

Even if the Jets were enamored at the idea of playing spoiler to their longtime tormentors in this game, it's not clear they will be able to. The juxtaposition between Tom Brady and Company and what Bryce Petty brings to the table is pretty stark. Only once since week two have the Jets even been beaten by a margin surpassing what the spread is in this game. With a guaranteed week off after this, I see the Pats laying it on thick and covering the jumbo-sized spread.

Loot's Prediction to Cover the Point Spread: I'm betting on the New England Patriots minus 15.5 points. Tired of your credit card not working for sportsbook deposit? End that problem and bet the Jets vs. Pats game today by signing up at Bovada Sportsbook where your credit card WILL work and where you'll receive a generous 50% sign-up bonus!

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