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New York Jets vs. New Orleans Saints Point Spread - Pick

New York Jets (5-8 SU, 7-5-1 ATS) vs. New Orleans Saints (9-4 SU, 8-5 ATS)
Week 15 NFL
Date/Time: Sunday, December 17, 2017 at 1PM EST
Where: Mercedes-Benz Stadium, New Orleans, Louisiana
TV: CBS

By Loot, NFL Football Handicapper, Lootmeister.com

Point Spread: NYJ +14.5/NO -14.5
Over/Under Total: 47

The New York Jets visit the New Orleans Saints on Sunday in week 15 action from the Superdome. This is an important game for the Saints, who have cooled down some with two losses in their last three games, including a painful 20-17 loss to the Falcons last Thursday. With the division knotting up some, they don't want to squander the good work that allowed them to rise to contender status with eight straight wins. They host a Jets squad that really flopped on Sunday, absorbing a 23-0 shutout loss at the hands of Denver. It's bad enough to get shut out, but to have it happen to a team that looked to be in a state of total disarray like the Broncos is a really bad look for the Jets. They had been pretty scrappy lately, with every game since week two either being a win or a one-point loss, but Sunday was just plain ugly.

We've seen some drastic turnarounds in form around the league this season, though we don't want to sound the alarms just yet with the Saints. First, they lost narrowly on the road to a pair of contenders in the Rams and Falcons, which sandwiched a win over a good Panthers team. But performing well here is key for a team that wants to generate some better momentum with the postseason now looming. The Saints still deserve a lot of credit for even getting to 9-4 considering how they started the season looking ragged at 0-2. But this is still a pivotal part of the season for them, with momentum and the division title now at-stake.

The offense was a big part of New Orleans resurrecting their season. At their best, they are a diverse offense, led by a still very effective and experienced quarterback in Drew Brees. Giving them a real edge this season has been a dynamic running-game led by hard-charging Mark Ingram and playmaking rookie Alvin Kamara. With Kamara leaving the game with a concussion, it hurt the offense against Atlanta on Thursday Night Football. Also hurting was a late letdown, with Brees making a rare mistake with a pick in the end zone, compounded by coach Sean Payton's 15-yard flag for arguing a bit too hard. All things told, they should have won and hope to put that kind of drama behind them moving forward. They still have a lot of firepower. Their backs are also active in the pass, which features Michael Thomas and Ted Ginn, Jr. But a healthy Kamara, who has really given the offense a spark, would really help out and with Ginn, Jr. having hurt his ribs, they need to have those guys in there moving ahead.

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The defense had really come around for the Saints to help them get to this spot. They were happy to get CB Marshon Lattimore back last week, as he recorded a pick in his return. Safeties Marcus Williams and Chris Banjo also had picks on the day, while S Kenny Vaccaro has three on the season. At defensive end, veteran Cameron Jordan has really gotten after the quarterback this season. They get solid play in the middle with Craig Robertson, AJ Klein, and Manti Te'o. In the last month, however, they have receded a bit, allowing more and more. They're heading in the wrong direction and look to steady the ship this week in what looks like a good spot to do so.

With the Broncos coming off 8 straight losses, some of those coming to bad teams, the Jets looked to be in a good spot. Sure, it was in Denver and that's not an easy place to play, but homefield-advantage didn't seem to help the Broncos a lot lately anyway. In the third quarter, a struggling Josh McCown was knocked out of the game with a hurt hand, while backup Bryce Petty couldn't make much happen. The Jets were held to a measly 100 yards of total offense and just six first downs. They only had the ball for 22 minutes. We'll see where they go at QB this week, with McCown lost for the season with the injured hand, with Bryce Petty starting.

At times this season, McCown had looked pretty good, but that was not the case on Sunday. He barely created any production and threw a pick and coughed up a fumble. McCown deserves credit for getting as much as he has from a ball-catching crew that is really depleted. The run-game of Matt Forte, along with Bilal Powell, sometimes delivers, but not as often as they'd like. In ways, this offense has overachieved this season, but Sunday's showing was a glimpse into what might be a tough close to the season. They really don't have any real weapons upon which they can rely and for them to even be scoring an average of over 20 points a game this season is a minor victory.

Considering how little support they got and how long they were left on the field Sunday, the Jets' defense wasn't awful in yielding only 23 points. They have really been trying hard this season. At the inside-linebacker position Darron Lee and Damario Davis have been pretty good. They have a plus-one in turnover ratio. But applying a steady pass-rush has been a problem, as has the amount of time they sometimes have to spend on the field. They're by no means great and will really be pushed to their limits against the Saints this Sunday, but they can sometimes play better than you'd think.

This would appear on the surface to be an awfully-tough spot for the Jets facing a team they rarely face in a venue some guys on this team have never seen. And it's coming against a team that has a lot on the line. The Saints have been a little uneven the past several weeks and coming off the long week, one would expect them to not overlook a team of lesser-status in this spot. I see the Saints looking like they did in their 8-game win streak, at the expense of the Jets. The one concern is how scrappy the Jets were up until this past week and the real possibility that the Saints have come down to earth some. But with a Jets' team that might struggle on offense, it's hard to take them even with the points. Still, 14.5 is too high and we're taking the Jets on a value-play, while knowing it could blow up in our face.

Loot's Prediction to Cover the Point Spread: I'm betting on the New York Jets plus 14.5 points. Tired of your credit card not working for sportsbook deposit? End that problem today and bet the Jets vs. Saints game 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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