The Los Angeles Rams (9-4) are coming off their most dominant defensive performance of the season against the Patriots, and now they draw a winless Jets team with the worst offense and one of the worst defenses in the NFL.
As you may have expected, this game has the largest spread of Week 15 with the Rams a 17-point favorite on most betting sites. With 0-16 looking inevitable, is there any hope with the Jets covering the spread?
New York Jets vs. Los Angeles Rams
Sunday, December 20, 2020 – 04:05 PM EDT at SoFi Stadium
Jets: Not the Worst Team Ever, But Still Terrible
The 2020 Jets are the 10th NFL team to start 0-13 since 1960. Of the previous nine 0-13 teams, their record in the 14th game was 4-5 SU, and only one of them (2016 Browns) lost by more than 17 points.
So, Game 14 has historically been the best week for 0-13 teams, but the Jets look defeated before the game even starts at this point. On Sunday in Seattle, the Jets allowed a season-high 40 points and had a season-low 185 yards of offense. In short, the worst team in the league just played its worst game of the season.
Now you bring in the red-hot Rams and the 17-point spread may not even be high enough. In a season with passing numbers at an all-time high, Sam Darnold has played terribly for the Jets. He has not cracked 200 passing yards in his last five starts, a stretch that has seen him throw two touchdowns and five interceptions. The running game is closer to league average, but it is barely an afterthought with how often the Jets play from behind and how ill-equipped the passing game is to produce points.
Putting this quarterback against a top defense led by talents such as Aaron Donald and Jalen Ramsey is just a huge mismatch. The Rams are 8-5 ATS, one of the best records this year, while the Jets are 4-9, tied with Houston for the second-worst record ahead of only Dallas (3-10).
Is New York the worst team ever? Not so fast there. The 2020 Jets have been outscored by 210 points through 13 games. That is terrible, but 21 teams in NFL history have fared worse, including the Rams in 2008 and 2009. Neither of those Rams teams was 0-13, but if we are being honest, the Jets should be at least 1-12 right now if not for the worst defensive call of the season against the Raiders to lose that game (and lose Gregg Williams his defensive coordinator job).
Only Jared Goff Can Blow This for the Rams
If you have any hope in the upset of the season, it will be on the shoulders of Los Angeles quarterback Jared Goff. Since Week 8, Goff has tossed more interceptions (seven) than touchdowns (six). As glowing as FOX’s Troy Aikman was about the offense in the 24-3 win over the Patriots, the Rams only scored 17 offensive points that night. That was despite a breakout game by rookie back Cam Akers with 171 rushing yards. Goff passed for a season-low 137 yards.
The problem with relying on the run so much is that it is harder to produce more points that way. So if the Rams are going all-in on Akers now, they could settle for another low-scoring win against a pitiful offensive team like they did earlier this season against the Giants (17-9) and Bears (24-10). A win is a win, but neither of those scores would cover the spread this Sunday.
Fortunately, if there is anything the Jets do well this year it is to stop the run. The Jets rank No. 8 in rush defense DVOA, but they are 32nd against the pass. Quarterbacks are completing 71.0% of their passes against the Jets with almost 8.0 yards per attempt. Sean McVay will know this, and he should adjust the offense accordingly with lots of passes. This could be a huge game for wide receivers Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp. The Rams love YAC plays, and the Jets have the second-most missed tackles (111) in the league, according to Pro Football Reference.
It may not be 40-3 again, but I see no reason why the Rams cannot get at least a 31-10 win in this game to cover the spread for your NFL bets this weekend.
It deserves mention that two of the times the Jets covered the spread this year, Joe Flacco was the starting quarterback. He is a better option than Darnold, but the Jets will start their third-year player who made waves this week when he said he wants to be with the team for the rest of his career.
Based on the way this season has gone for the Jets, it would be best to clean house entirely and start from scratch in 2021.