On paper, there’s nothing overly exciting about Monday’s game between the New England Patriots and New York Jets, but these are still fierce division rivals who will be eager to beat one another. On the road, the Patriots are listed as 9.5-point favorites with an over/under of 41.5 points.
In the post-Tom Brady era, the Patriots are in danger of missing the playoffs for the first time since 2008. Bill Belichick’s team has dropped four games in a row after dropping a close 24-21 game to the Bills last week. With expanded playoffs this year, the Patriots still have hope, but they need to turn things around right away.
Meanwhile, the Jets have no hope left for the 2020 season. They are the last remaining team in the NFL without a win, and finishing 0-16 this year is a realistic possibility. Monday’s game is one of three games left on New York’s schedule against a team with a losing record, making this one of their last chances to get a win.
A Bunch of Flacco
Sam Darnold continues to have shoulder problems, meaning he will sit on Monday, forcing the Jets to start Joe Flacco at quarterback. The former Super Bowl MVP says he’s growing more comfortable with the offense. However, he’s completed just 52% of his passes this season when pressed into duty. The Jets, as a team, have scored the fewest points in the NFL this year and have scored a total of 29 points over their last four games combined.
Needless to say, expectations are low for the New York offense, especially against a solid New England defense. The Patriots have done their best defensively this season to stay in games. Only two opponents have managed to score more than 26 points against them this season, which is respectable considering the lack of help from the New England offense. While the Pats have done well to force 13 turnovers in six games, since they rarely play with a lead, the New England pass rush has also struggled.
Searching for Answers
The New England offense has been nothing short of a disaster this season. Things got a little better last week against Buffalo, but in the three games before that, the Patriots scored a total of 28 points. Cam Newton has had to resort to running more frequently because he’s not getting the job done with his arm. Newton has just two touchdown passes compared to seven interceptions on the season. New England’s profound lack of playmakers at wide receiver hasn’t helped either.
Meanwhile, the Jets rank in the bottom-5 in the NFL in points allowed. They have allowed at least 30 points in five of their eight games this year and put up little resistance last week against the Chiefs. They’ve rarely struggled to contain teams on the ground, which has put their secondary in a tough position.
While the Patriots have plenty of issues, they should be able to hide some of their deficiencies against the Jets. With Flacco starting in place of Darnold, there’s little chance of the New York offense getting its act together. That should allow Newton and the Pats plenty of time to find a rhythm and ultimately win the game by double figures.