NFL Picks Value in Both Total & Spread for Jets vs. Packers

Matthew Jordan

Wednesday, September 10, 2014 7:54 PM UTC

Wednesday, Sep. 10, 2014 7:54 PM UTC

It practically must-win time already for preseason NFC North favorite Green Bay as the Packers can't afford a home upset to the New York Jets on Sunday and a 0-2 start. The Pack are 8.5-point favorites on NFL odds with a total of 46.

Packers Licking Their Wounds
It wouldn't seem all that impossible to reach the playoffs after losing  your first two games, but it nearly is. Since 1990, only 23 of 198 teams to start with two losses have done it. Carolina did prove it's possible last year. Green Bay hasn't started 0-2 since 2006, which was Coach Mike McCarthy's first year. That's also the last year the Jets played at Lambeau.

The Packers frankly were treated like a little sister in last Thursday's Kickoff Game in Seattle, falling 36-16. However, that was a firestorm you could also see coming with it being the Seahawks' first home game since winning their first Super Bowl. I'm not sure an AFC Pro Bowl team could have won in Seattle that night. Still, there were reasons for concern. Aaron Rodgers had just 189 yards passing on 33 attempts and never even bothered throwing in the direction of Seahawks star cornerback Richard Sherman, meaning one half of the field was closed. Running back Eddie Lacy, last season's Offensive Rookie of the Year, managed only 12 yards on 34 carries.

Lacy also suffered a concussion and his status is still up in the air for this one. With the extra few days off he should be ready to go; otherwise James Starks gets the call. Green Bay's offensive line also lost starting right tackle Bryan Bulaga to a sprained MCL. The team was lucky it wasn't torn, but he's probably out 2-4 weeks. The Packers lost run-stuffing nose tackle B.J. Raji or the year during the preseason and they couldn't stop the Seattle ground attack as the Seahawks had 207 yards rushing on 37 attempts (5.6 ypc).

Green Bay is a very different team at Lambeau. In Rodgers' past 30 starts at home (minimum: 10 attempts), he's 28-2 with a 112.4 passer rating. Green Bay is 5-1 in home openers with Rodgers starting at quarterback. Rodgers has thrown for at least 300 yards in each of the last three home openers.


Good Jets Defense or Bad Raiders?
The Jets bring the No. 1 overall defense into this game, but don't get too excited as New York got to open last week against Oakland, which will be one of the NFL's worst offenses. New York won 19-14, holding the Raiders and rookie QB Derek Carr to 158 total yards and just 25 rushing on 15 attempts. The Jets, meanwhile, rushed for 212 yards, with Chris Ivory leading the way with 102 yards on 10 carries. He had a 71-yard touchdown scamper. QB Geno Smith was quite efficient, going 23 of 28 for 221 yards, a touchdown and a pick. He did also fumble twice, and turnovers were a major issue as a rookie. But his 82.1 completion percentage was the best by any Jet with at least 10 attempts in a game since 2002. Big free-agent addition and receiver Eric Decker was solid with five catches for 72 yards.

New York came out of that came pretty much unscathed. Starting cornerback Dee Milliner didn't play and hadn't practiced since suffering a high-ankle sprain Aug. 10, but he has been doing drills this week and could suit up. The Jets could use him because their top three cornerbacks last week were converted safety Antonio Allen, free agent Darrin Walls and undersized Kyle Wilson (largely a first-round bust). Carr didn't have a completion of more than 17 yards. You can sure bet Rodgers will.

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Free NFL picks
Green Bay cover and the over 45.5 at 5Dimes. This is a must-have game for the Packers and they will play like it. The Pack have covered just one of their past six at home, but that's misleading because Rodgers missed half of last season.  The 'over' is 5-2 in the Jets' past seven on the road. It is 5-0 in the Packers' past five in September.

The Jets did a lot of dinking and dunking against Oakland. Smith, for example, completed 17 of 19 throws that were in the air no more than five yards. If the Jets don't stretch the field vs. Green Bay then they have no prayer. Also, can Smith be trusted not to turn the ball over? Last year on the road he completed just 56.2 percent of his passes with five touchdowns and 13 interceptions, a rating of 59.3. He has generally been much better at home. There aren't many tougher places to play than Lambeau.

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