Will Defense Dominate In Jets-Eagles Finale?

New York Jets players gathered around

Jay Pryce

Monday, August 29, 2016 5:25 PM UTC

Monday, Aug. 29, 2016 5:25 PM UTC

The Eagles put their perfect preseason record on the line when they host the New York Jets Thursday night (8 p.m. ET) at Lincoln Financial Field. We have the preview here for your NFL picks. 

New York Jets (1-2 SU, 1-1-1 ATS)
“We’re not close,” Jets head coach Todd Bowles said to reporters following their 21-20 defeat to the Giants in Week 3 of the preseason. “We’ve still got a lot of work to do before opening day.” The offense, in particular, looks green if you will. Marred by poor quarterback play and a slew of mishaps, including eight total fumbles, which is tied for second-most in the NFL, the unit’s 28:30 time of possession also ranks in the bottom five.

Part of the problem is that the Jets are carrying an unprecedented four quarterbacks in camp, which means fewer snaps between the bunch and a less-than-primed unit. Ryan Fitzpatrick is the starter, and bettors may know more about the backup situation after Tuesday when NFL teams are required to trim the roster down from 90 to 75 players. Still, the 53-man roster isn’t finalized until Sept.3, and this is likely when there will be a cut if any. As of now, Geno Smith is the back-up, Brice Petty third-string and rookie second-round pick Christian Hackenberg the fourth, and they’ll all see time under center against the Eagles presumably.

Smith and Petty will likely get the most action, for it there is a cut, it will probably be one of the two. Yet, Hackenberg got his first taste of pro football last time out, assuming control in the fourth quarter down 14-10 to the Giants. His first drive culminated in a 16-yard touchdown pass to TE Zach Sudfeld, but was just 6-for-16 for 105 yards, finishing with a 55.5 QB rating overall. The Jets front office will want to give him some more snaps too.

Defensively, the Jets yield respectable 4.8 yards per play but has been its own worse enemy with 30 penalties for 246 yards against. Officials have flagged only the Buccaneers (33) defense more. The front seven dominated the line of scrimmage through the first 30 minutes of the Giants game, allowing 47 yards total and 1-of-7 on third down. Outside of the 21 points yielded late, the defense had given up just 8 points total in the second half of games in Week 1 and Week 2.


Philadelphia Eagles (3-0 SU, 3-0 ATS)
The Eagles have not let backers down this preseason, going a perfect 3-0 straight up and against the spread. Giving up just 32 points overall, its plus-35 points differential tops the league entering the final week of the exhibition season.

Bettors are going to see a heavy dose of Chase Daniel under center. The backup quarterback, who has started just two games in his six-year professional career, has faired okay in the preseason. Daniel has tossed for 201 yards on 23 of 38 passes with one touchdown and no interceptions. He’s averaging a 83.3 passer rating.

Rookie QB Carson Wentz, who sustained a hairline fracture in his ribs in the preseason opener, may be cleared to play after going through a couple of full workouts. This could make the QB situation tricky, as Wentz and Daniel split snaps evenly in camp before the injury.

Philly’s defense looks top notch. Jim Schwartz’s 4-3 scheme, using a wide-9 alignment, gets the most of a talented defensive line. The unit has allowed 120 rushing yards through the entire preseason, best in the NFL. The front seven is also getting to opposing quarterbacks, registering 10 sacks overall.


N.Y. Jets vs Philadelphia Eagles  
Both offenses need some help entering the season. The Eagles’ 4.6 yards per play is one of the least efficient through the exhibition period and poor quarterback play will likely plague the Jets again. Bowles, a defensive guru, will make discipline his main focus for the heavily-flagged unit. UNDER is the play for my NFL pick.


Free NFL Pick: Under 39 -110
Best Line Offered: at Heritage

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