Monday Night Football this week brings us a simmering AFC East rivalry as the 6-0 New England Patriots hit NYC to take on the New York Jets. Gang Green will step out tonight hoping more than expecting to put a dent in their divisional rivals’ season aspirations, while the Pats will barely even acknowledge the existence of their long-suffering opponents, at least until it’s time to whup their collective backsides.
Though maybe they should pay attention because the New Yorkers welcomed back Sam Darnold last week in an impressive beatdown of the Dallas Cowboys 24-22 that wasn’t as close a contest as the scoreline suggests. That secured their first win of a season thus far defined by the health of their quarterback..
New England,, meanwhile, extended their winning streak with a 35-14 win over the Giants. It won’t give Tom Brady those two extra Super Bowl rings he should have but I’m sure it was nice to thrash Big Blue all the same.
On his return from mononucleosis, Darnold passed for 338 yards and two touchdowns in the Jets’ upset victory. His performance injected new life into the Jets’ season as it reinvigorated an offence that had been brutally bad with rookie Luke Falk under senter. Robby Anderson and Jamison Crowder had big games and fill-in TE Ryan Griffin won the “He’s still in the league?!” award for Week 6 for his scoring performance.
Though whether we should expect the sudden upward tick of their play to continue is another question. The Patriots defence, aided by a very friendly schedule, have been utterly ferocious this season. So far this season, they have allowed the second-fewest passing yards per game (161).
On the other side, Tom Brady continues to defy Father Time in his age-42 season. Brady currently averages 290.5 passing yards per game, with four games above 300 yards. However, he enters Week 8 without Josh Gordon, while Julian Edelman and Phillip Dorsett are questionable.
The Jets’ defence currently ranks 15th in the league against the pass and allowed Dak Prescott to throw for 278 yards just last week. As such, Brady represents a solid option if you’re playing in Paddy Power Fantasy’s single-game contests tonight.
Despite their struggles, Le’Veon Bell continues to see plenty of the ball for New York, and Darnold’s return only helps that. With Falk in the line-up, Bell only had 285 rushing yards on 85 attempts this season, however, he did still figure in their limited passing game, with 38 catches so far. Though they’ve been a dominant unit against the pass, the Pats are middling against the run, ranking 14th in the league going into Week 7. Bell could have opportunities this week.
Rex Burkhead’s been ruled out for New England, so that’s good news for Sony Michel and James White. The visitors are favoured by 9.5 points on the handicap, the game script likely will benefit Michel as the Pats work the clock. Michel has seen at least 16 carries in each of his last three games, with six total targets in his last two.
White is still the passing down back for Bill Belichick’s team, with at least nine targets in each of his last three games. However, with the Patriots nursing a few injuries in their receiver corps, White could step up in an enhanced receiving role this week.
Our traders currently make the Patriots a 9.5-point favourites, but the grouping of injuries for New England, plus the blistering return of Same Darnold and doubts about just how much The Pats have been tested suggests that it’s worth taking the home team on the handicap to keep the game within two scores.
The value in the Jets also makes the over on 43.5 points worth a look as memories of the Falkian nightmare still linger and deflate their expected points.
But the Pats should still come out on top – I mean, it’s the Jets after all. James White appeals as an option for a Same Game Multis as an anytime scorer at 13/8, any TB12 himself on a QB sneak could be worth a look on the same market if you want something simpler at 7/1.