Ryan Fitzpatrick will start for the New York Jets this Sunday when they host the Jacksonville Jaguars. Does Fitzpatrick's thumb injury make the Jags the better NFL pick?
Jason's 2015 record as of Nov. 4: 26-21-2 ATS; 0-1 ML (-1.00 units); 18-27 Total
ZOMG, did we really just make the New York Jets our NFL pick for Super Bowl 50?! Yes, yes we did. Hey, at +5000, with half the season already gone? Worth a shot. As we mentioned in our look at the Super Bowl futures market, the 4-3 Jets have played well enough to earn 6.8 Estimated Wins, according to the advanced stats at Football Outsiders. That's more kayfabe victories than the 6-1 Green Bay Packers (6.0 Estimated Wins).
New York definitely has a leg up on the 2-5 Jacksonville Jaguars (2.8 Estimated Wins). We might be close to the point where Jacksonville gets over the hump with its rebuilding process and becomes a worthwhile “buy low” candidate, but the Jets already have that gig well taken care of. And now that QB Ryan Fitzpatrick has been given the green light to start Sunday's matchup (1:00 p.m. ET, CBS), New York has opened as a 7-point home chalk on our NFL odds board, with most of the very early action landing on the favorites.
Jets fans nearly saw their slim Super Bowl chances fly out the window last week when Fitzpatrick suffered torn ligaments in his left thumb during the first quarter of Sunday's game against the Oakland Raiders. Geno Smith came in and did an admirable job against Oakland (+3 at home), but the defense disappeared in a 34-20 loss. Not what we were expecting from one of the top defenses in the league.
After the game, Jets players talked openly about how disappointed they were with the level of effort, so that shouldn't be a problem this week. But what about Fitzpatrick? His thumb injury is on his non-throwing arm, but he still has to hand the ball off to the left from time to time, and that could lead to some costly turnovers. Plus, center Nick Mangold (neck) might have to miss another game after sitting out against the Raiders. The snap from center to quarterback is the most important thing on offense – that's where it all begins. You have to get it right for anything else to work.
No Green Bortles
The Jaguars haven't gotten enough of anything to work this year, but their rebuilding project is starting to come together. Blake Bortles is no longer the worst quarterback in football; he's moved all the way up above replacement level at +90 passing DYAR in his sophomore campaign. You can tack on another +52 DYAR rushing, too. Blake Bortles: Dual-Threat Quarterback.
The Jaguars are still No. 24 overall (No. 19 offense, No. 18 defense, No. 31 special teams) in efficiency, but at least they're making progress. It's still not enough for us to bet on Jacksonville, mind you. The Jets are likely to come out mad and give the Jags a beating, and the sunny skies over East Rutherford should help Fitzpatrick keep a grip on the football. We're grabbing New York for a small wager before the spread gets over the magic number seven.
Free NFL Pick: Take the Jets -7 (-105) at Bookmaker