NY Jets Backs are to the Wall vs. New England
Wayne Root: NY Jets Backs are to the Wall vs. New England
I've been monitoring the potential playoff marches of both the NY Jets and NY Giants all season long here on these pages. This could be the week both of those marches both come to an end. The Jets have to host the AFC favorite New England Patriots in a must-win game. Even if the Jets win out, they would lose Wildcard tie-breakers to the Kansas City Chiefs and Pittsburgh Steelers if those teams win out. The Giants must win Sunday night in Minnesota have somebody stick a loss on Washington over these last two weeks.
I talked about the Giants last week when they hosted Carolina. Today, I'll talk about the Jets. It's a shame these teams couldn't flip divisions because the Jets would already have won the NFC East with a 9-5 record. They just beat the Giants a couple of weeks ago head-to-head, with a bigger stat win than scoreboard win because of a defensive touchdown. They crushed current leader Washington earlier this season.
Can the Jets beat New England? Hey, anybody can catch some breaks and beat New England! Philadelphia just did that a few weeks ago with three non-offensive touchdowns. Can the Jets beat New England without getting lucky? Actually...YES! As always, they match up about as well as can be expected.
*The Jets defense is terrific, and can at least slow down Tom Brady
*The Jets are coached by a defensive wizard...who will come up with new wrinkles
*The Jets offense plays ball control, which can mess up Brady's rhythm
*The Jets are physical, which can work against a finesse team like the Pats
In fact, you could make the case that NYJ outplayed the Pats in the first meeting several weeks ago up in Foxboro. New England did win 30-23, but...
*NYJ won total yardage 372-353
*NYJ won rushing yardage 89-16 (!!)
*NYJ won third down conversions 57% to 50%
*NYJ tied in yards-per-play 5.3 to 5.3
An extra turnover helped flip the result. And, we all know that Tom Brady does more with his yardage than most other quarterbacks. If he's going to pass for 337 yards in a game with no giveaways...then you'll have to win yardage stats BIG to beat him.
The return engagement is in New York. The Pats didn't sparkle on this field in a one-point win over the Giants not too long ago. They could certainly fall flat if they take their foot off the gas just as the Jets bring "must-win" intensity to that might as well be their Super Bowl. Can Brady and the Pats' offense play turnover-free ball twice in a row against NYJ?
I'm not going to tip my hand just yet. But...you longtime readers know that WAYNE ALLYN ROOT is THE KING OF UPSETS. That means I have to at least consider the Jets for a major release as I run through the day's options. They start the process on my short list, and have to work their way off.
Other Sunday DOGS in MUST-WIN situations:
NY Giants (+) at Minnesota in the game that was time-changed to prime time
Indianapolis (+) at Miami (trying to bounce back off loss to Houston)
Houston (+) at Tennessee (if they're a dog behind Brandon Weeden)
Green Bay (+) at Arizona (Pack trying to win their division)
Sunday DOGS facing a "lame duck" favorite with nothing to play for:
Chicago (+) at Tampa Bay
Dallas (+) at Buffalo
San Francisco (+) at Detroit
Indianapolis and Houston show up in this category as well
I've always told you that the best upset calls involve a dog you want to take AND a favorite you want to bet against. Over the last two weeks of the regular season, some of the best underdog value may come in "meaningless" games where a lame duck favorite doesn't bother to show up. Something for you to keep an eye on.
I obviously can't post my top plays here in a free web article. That's not fair to my paying clients. I hope you'll join me all through the rest of December...and through the college and pro football championships in early 2016. I have several great plays already set in the coming bowls...and more virtual locks will be created once the NFL playoff brackets are in place. I'm the only man in the handicapping industry with a star on the "Walk of Fame" here in Las Vegas. Who else should you bring in the New Year with!
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See you again early next week as we turn our attention back to the bowls. The true marquee matchups start up next week. You should stand next to the biggest name in the brightest lights on the handicapping marquee in Las Vegas. It's time for you to go to W.A.R. alongside WAYNE ALLYN ROOT!
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