New York Jets at New England Patriots (-10, 48 o/u)
Shutdown cornerback Darrelle Revis left the New York Jets for two seasons. He suffered through a horrid 2013 with the 4-12 Bucs, but then took his talents to New England and helped the Pats win their first Super Bowl in a decade. Now back in East Rutherford, Revis will face Tom Brady and the rest of his ex-teammates this Sunday as the Patriots (5-0, 2-0 home) host the Jets (4-1, 2-0 road) at Gillette Stadium (1:00 PM Eastern).
Though Revis played extremely well in New England last year, the team elected not to pick up the option in his contract, which came with a $20 million price tag, making him a free agent. Revis decided to go back to New York, for the right price of course. His addition has helped the team become one the biggest surprises of the still-young season.
For his part, Revis credits the hire of Todd Bowles (former Arizona DC) as head coach for much of the team’s turnaround.
“I think it’s a different approach for us this time around, and that’s how we have to follow behind Coach Bowles,” said Revis to True Jersey. “Rex [Ryan], he ha[d] his way of doing things in the past, and now it’s different.”
The Jets have a serviceable offense behind journeyman QB Ryan Fitzpatrick and stud RB Chris Ivory; but they can credit the defense for most of their 4-1 start. The unit is allowing just 15 PPG, best in the NFL.
Something will have to give this weekend when they visit the Pats and the league’s best offense (36.6 PPG). With 183 points through five games, New England is one point ahead of their historic pace from 2007.
Leading that potent Pats’ offense, as usual, is future Hall-of-Famer Tom Brady, who has thrown for 1,699 yards, 14 touchdowns, and just one interception (which bounced out of WR Julian Edelman’s mitts).
With Brady and TE Rob Gronkowski firing on all cylinders, New England has all but eschewed the run game, averaging under 100 yards per game (97.2). That stands in stark contrast to the Jets’ approach. New York is putting up a league-best 146 yards per game on the ground, led by Ivory (460 yards and four TDs).
The Jets will indubitably try to ride that strong run game come Sunday, shortening the game and keeping Brady off the field as much as possible.
Looking at the trends, the Jets have covered the last four against the Patriots, including in two narrow losses last season. If New York can muster a fraction of the ground game success they’ve had so far this season, that should be enough to cover the large ten-point spread again this weekend.
Pick: Jets +10.
(Photo credit: Jack Newton (http://www.flickr.com/photos/jdn/10556799426/) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons. Photo has been cropped.)