Submitted by Jim Hurley on Wednesday, October 15, 2014 at 4:00 PM
Rex Ryan and Geno Smith could be out of a job by the weekend. The New York Jets are off to a woeful 1-5 start, with their only victory coming in a tight decision over the Oakland Raiders…one of the two worst teams in the NFL (along with Jacksonville). The franchise had been trending in the wrong direction for a long time. An ill-advised gamble with Geno Smith at quarterback looks like it might be the final bone-headed straw to break the camel’s back.
How can a 1-5 team go on the road to beat Tom Brady and the New England Patriots?!
Well, if any 1-5 team could pull that off, it’s actually the Jets! Ryan’s defensive schematics have disrupted Brady in the past. Don’t forget that it was the Jets with Mark Sanchez who upset New England in Foxboro after what many stat-types had called “the greatest regular season ever” from the Pats. New England was about to be THE GREAT TEAM IN HISTORY until the Jets bullied and beat them. That was a few years ago. Neither of these two teams are as good right now as they were back then. Could Ryan work his magic one more time?
Won-Lost Records (Strength of Schedule)
NY Jets: 1-5 (#6 schedule in USA Today)
New England: 4-2 (#21 schedule in USA Today)
New England’s indicator stats are going to be tricky to deal with because their season didn’t really “start” until they snapped out of their coma in a home win over Cincinnati. They’ve started to look like their old selves in wins over the Bengals and Bills. The Jets are probably better than a pure 1-5 record would suggest. But, they’re clearly not a good team. And, this was going to be Ryan’s last shot to prove he deserved to run the show. 2014 has been a flop so far.
NY Jets: 4.7 on offense, 5.1 on defense
New England: 5.1 on offense, 5.2 on defense
The teams are surprisingly close on a per-play basis. The Patriots looked as awful as the Jets when they were playing badly! Both teams are strong on defense this season. Brady and his boys have had to rally the past two weeks to create any semblance of an offense. These numbers right here suggest an upset is possible. If the Jets can continue their history of disrupting Brady, we have a near coin flip.
NY Jets: -7
New England: +9
Except for this! Geno Smith is a turnover debacle. He constantly makes poor decisions that hurt his own offense and create cheap points for his opponents. The Jets are awful this year because a negative YPP differential is combined with one of the worst turnover differentials in the league. New England can get by with generic YPP data because they do a good job of protecting the ball when they have it, and of forcing turnovers when they don’t. Tom Brady is dangerous enough when you’re not giving him great field position.
NY Jets: 0-5-1
New England: 3-3
The market badly overrated the Jets to start the season. That push was a win in some quarters (the TD loss at Green Bay cashed for Jets backers getting +7.5). The line may have caught up though. Last week’s home loss to Denver would have been a cover if Geno Smith hadn’t through a TD pass to the wrong team in the closing seconds. New England has risen to 3-3 ATS after a 1-3 ATS start that was far away from pointspread expectations. That’s the catch for handicappers. Is New England now a “2-0” team that’s on a roll after finding their form? Or, are they an inconsistent team that shouldn’t be laying more than a TD over a divisional rival just yet?
Current Line: New England by 10, total of 44
Oddsmakers put up a nine to start the week. Early smart money has been on the Patriots as the sharps took position in advance of public money. Sources say that the Wise Guys would come back on the Jets at +10.5, and might even settle for +10 because it’s a key number. JIM HURLEY’S key indicator stats suggest that turnovers will determine the cover. A clean, defensive-minded game from the Jets keeps it close (and maybe springs an upset). New England could run up a really big win if Brady is still sharp and Smith hands away more free points.
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We’ve tweaked the NOTEBOOK schedule for the new few days. Coming up….
Friday: Stat preview for the huge Notre Dame/Florida State game in college football
Sunday: Stat preview for the huge San Francisco/Denver Sunday Nighter in the NFL
Monday: Expanded stat preview of Houston at Pittsburgh in the NFL
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