Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#285 New England Patriots vs.
#286 New York Jets
Sunday, September 19, 2021 at 1:00pm EDT
MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford
Written by Eric P.

The New York Jets play host to the New England Patriots on Sunday afternoon from MetLife Stadium in a crucial AFC East divisional battle. Both teams enter this weekend's matchup 0-1 after the Patriots fell victim to the Dolphins and the Jets to the Panthers, both last week. It's been an interesting offseason for both teams and roster turnover hasn't been quiet at all. The Jets made waves when they selected Zach Wilson with the second overall pick in April's draft. For the Patriots, what looked like a season to learn from their first-rounder, Mac Jones, has turned into him getting thrust into the starting role. Sunday's matchup is likely only the first in a long line of meetings between the two young quarterbacks over, hopefully, the next decade of football.

The Patriots have dominated the series of late though, having won ten in a row dating back to 2016 and 13 of the last 14 overall. The Jets know that overcoming the Patriots has always been one of their most difficult hurdles and a win at home on Sunday would do wonders to shift confidence and momentum for the young group. For the patriots, a return to the playoffs is all that's on their minds and it starts with getting that first win of the season behind them.

Line Movements & Weather

The Patriots have gone from -4 up to -6 while snatching up 80% of the bets.

The OU line has gone from 42.5 up to 43 at most shops, despite the Under grabbing 59% of the bets.

Gametime Weather: Sunny skies with temps in the mid-70s.

Patriots Seek First Win

There haven't been many seasons over the last few years when the Patriots have dropped the season opener and after last week's loss to the Dolphins, the pressure is mounting for them to get over that first hurdle. The Patriots looked great last weekend though, except for the most important aspect, the final score. They gained nearly 150 more yards than the Dolphins, had eight more first downs, and dominated the time of possession. Continued efforts like that are only going to turn into positives for the team in the long run but they know they can't let a game against the Jets go to waste either. The injury list is a growing concern though after only one week of action. The big two names to keep an eye on are Nelson Agholor (ankle) and Trent Brown (calf). Agholor is probable but Brown is questionable and if Brown can't go, that'll be a massive loss on the offensive line. The secondary is a little beat up as well, but both Kyle Dugger (wrist) and Jalen Mills (ankle) are probable to play on Sunday. The good news for the Patriots is that after a year in which their depth seemed lacking, a smart draft and great offseason signings have them set up to find success and navigate the injuries.

After the training camp controversy surrounding the quarterback position, Mac Jones looked every part of an NFL starter in the opener against the Dolphins. He was an efficient 29-39 for 281 yards but only threw one touchdown. The Patriots will look to be a little more efficient when they get into their opponent's territory but as a rookie quarterback, Jones should only improve. The backfield remains a strength of this team that they can continue to use to exploit the Jets. Damien Harris rushed for 100 yards on 23 carries and James White was exceptional as a safety valve for Jones, catching six balls. As far as the wide receiver room goes, there's talent but it still is raw in their ability to change the game. Agholor is the ability to be a massive game-changer and will be an elite receiver in the division this year and Jakobi Meyers seems like he'll quickly become a favorite target. One issue though is ball security. Both Harris and Rhamondre Stevenson fumbled last week and the Patriots aren't a team anymore that can afford to lose the turnover battle. Regardless though, given Jones' performance against the Miami defense last week, the sky is the limit for week two against the Jets.

The Patriots have made their calling card the defense over the last few years and showed that last week, allowing only 259 total yards. The front group shouldn't have any issues stopping the Jets rushing attack and will put a lot of focus on Wilson and the passing game. The lack of balance by the Jets will be on full display by the Patriots' scheme. Dugger led the way with seven tackles last week and it's great news that he should be able to play on Saturday. The secondary was flying around the field to the tune of another seven tackles by Devin McCourty and Wilson could have a long day trying to navigate next-level speed in the secondary. One player to keep an eye on is Kyle Van Noy, the team's heart and soul at linebacker. A throat injury has his status for Sunday up in the air and if he isn't able to go, someone else will need to step up in his absence.

Injury Report

Out - OL Trent Brown, K Quinn Nordin, LB Kyle Van Noy, LB Cameron McGrone, RB Malcolm Perry, LB Anfernee Jennings, WR N'Keal Harry, QB Jarrett Stidham, LB Terez Hall, DB Stephon Gilmore, DL Byron Cowart, and DB Joshuah Bledsoe

Questionable - OL Yodny Cajuste and LB Ronnie Perkins

Jets Adjusting To New Faces

The Jets have a new face of the franchise in Wilson and beyond that, added new players at key positions all around the field as they try to jostle in one of the most competitive divisions in football. Last week saw a slow start hurt them in the long run, dropping their opener to the Panthers, 19-14. As a team, they struggled to move the ball efficiently, averaging only 4.2 yards per play, and the defense allowed nearly 400 total yards of offense themselves. The Patriots are a far more complete team than the Panthers are and the Jets will have their hands full, even being the home team. The good news is that much isn't expected from them and that lack of pressure is just what is needed for a young team playing through some growing pains. The wide receiver room is a little bare, as both Keelan Cole Sr. (knee) and Jamison Crowder (groin) are questionable for Sunday. Add that to a host of other injuries sidelining players for the foreseeable future, such as those to Mekhi Becton (knee) and Carl Lawson (Achilles), and the depth that the Jets thought they would have to help out their youngsters has suddenly evaporated. Sunday will still be a great test for the Jets but for them to come out with a win will take a complete performance.

Zach Wilson was the starter from day one in the preseason and in just limited action, has already shown a glimpse of what has the New York coaching staff and front office so excited for the future. Wilson struggled early, going 20-37 overall, but tossed two touchdowns compared to one interception. The injuries at wide receiver have made Corey Davis the main man on the outside and while it worked against the Panthers, the Patriots will likely have a plan to take him out of the game and force Braxton Berrios and Denzel Mims to take on larger roles in the offense. The main issue though is the running game. The Jets only rushed for 45 yards as a team and only ran the ball 17 times as a whole. They'll need to be far better on the ground if they want Wilson to have success on Sunday.

Defensively, the Jets should make quick strides from week to week, especially with Robert Saleh at the helm. The longtime defensive mastermind of the 49ers, Saleh is one of the best defensive minds in football and will have a strong plan to make Jones uncomfortable in only his second professional start. The Jets struggled to stop the Panther offense last week though and even a massive improvement might not be enough to offset what the Patriots are capable of. Del'Shawn Phillips is a name that fans are bound to hear on Sunday. He led the way with 12 tackles in week one but will need help from experienced rushers like Shaq Lawson and C.J. Mosley if the Jets want to slow down Jones.

Injury Report

Out - OT Mekhi Becton, P Braden Mann, DB Lamarcus Joyner, LB Blake Cashman, DB Sharrod Neasman, DB Ashtyn Davis, OL Conor McDermott, LB Jarrad Davis, and DL Kyle Phillips

Doubtful - LB Jamien Sherwood

Questionable - OT Chuma Edoga and RB La'Mical Perine

Best Bets for this Game

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Full-Game Side Bet

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The Patriots might have lost their opener against the Dolphins last week but the offense and Mac Jones definitely turned some heads in terms of how they operated in his first-ever regular-season start. The Dolphins' defense isn't easy to play against and Jones looked every part of an everyday NFL starter. With the Jets defense banged up and quite a step down in quality anyway, Jones should have a big day, assuming that Agholor can give it a go.

The Patriots' defense also looked strong against the Dolphins and will have an easier time with their assignments against New York, which isn't good news for the Jets. One massive advantage for the Patriots is their balance on offense. Not only can they run the ball at will with Harris, but Jones has already proven that he can dissect defenses if they aren't careful. Of course, there's the Bill Belichick factor. He's 21-6 against rookie quarterbacks lifetime and 13-0 at home.

The Jets in the end don't have enough this early in the rebuild to compete with a potential playoff team. Having less than 50 rushing yards is a major concern and the Patriots will have no issues controlling the pace of the game and the possession. With limited depth for the Jets, all those defensive snaps will add up quickly and should cause some issues as they head into the second half. Expect to see the Patriots jump out to a strong start and for the Jets to not have the composure or experience to battle back nearly enough to make it a game. The Patriots game plan is perfectly suited to take down New York and away fans on Sunday will be happy with the result.

Prediction: Patriots (-6)

Full-Game Total Pick

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Even though both quarterbacks looked strong in the opener in terms of managing the game, neither looks ready to light up an opposing defense quite yet. The Patriots' defense is strong in their own right and is going to the Jets a tough time getting anything going in the running game and once Wilson has to rely on the air attack, New England will have too much athleticism in the secondary to let him pick them apart. For the Jets, the defense continues to be a work in progress but Saleh is too great of a defensive mind to let Jones have his way.

Additionally, according to covers.com, for New England, the under is 4-0 in their last four road games, is 8-1 in their last nine games overall, is 7-1 in their last eight games on FieldTurf, is 6-1 in their last seven games against AFC opponents, and is 12-2 in their last 14 road games against a team with a losing record. For the Jets, the under is 4-1 in their last five games overall and is 4-1 in their last five games as an underdog. In games between the two teams, the under is 4-1 in their last five meetings in New York.

Prediction: Under 43
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Written By Eric Ploch , "Eric P."

Eric grew up surrounded by sports, whether it was spending the weekend catching games in person or on tv, or heading out to the fields to play whatever sport was in season. What started as a hobby, soon became a passion, as he became the sports editor of his high school newspaper, then wrote for his university newspaper during his undergrad years. After obtaining a degree in Sports Operations and Promotions, and spending 8 years deeply immersed in the sports world, Eric decided to take his love for analytics and predictions, and his experience, to online sports fans everywhere. James is now an integral part of our team here at StatSalt and has also been a very successful sports bettor over the years. Be sure and follow him daily.