NFL

Patriots Jets Monday Night Football Key Matchups

Patriots (2-5) vs Jets (0-8)
MetLife Stadium
Kickoff: 8:15 pm

I spent more time than I care to admit this morning looking for the old Keyshawn Johnson “Key Matchups” SportsCenter commercial, but it’s nowhere to be found. For a network that has made feature film length highlight shows of nothing but SportsCenter commercials to have one of the best examples completely scrubbed from the internet is odd, but I digress.

Patriots Inactives (Stephon Gilmore, N’Keal Harry, Ja’Whaun Bentley, Lawrence Guy, JJ Taylor) via PatsPulpit

The Patriots also have more than a dozen players listed as Questionable heading into Monday night including Ryan Izzo, who if you’ve been paying attention is the only active tight end on the roster that traveled with the team. So Cam Newton may have to just forget the tight end position is even an actual eligible receiver at this point. Not to mention, Julian Edelman is still on IR with a knee injury so it’ll be another night of throwing to Jakobi Meyers, Damiere Byrd, and the stable of running backs.

Jets Inactives (Blake Cashman, Trevon Wesco) via SportsIllustrated

Sam Darnold is also doubtful to play with Joe Flacco most likely to get the start. I don’t know how the typical Jets fan feels about Darnold, but I like the player and I’d take him tomorrow if the Jets decide to draft a QB and move on. I get the sense that he’s yet another player that has been poisoned by the touch of offensive guru Adam Gase (see Tannehill, Drake, Stills etc.). Calling Gase an offensive guru at this point is, well, offensive.

Joe Flacco is forever living off that 6 week stretch when he got HOT and lead the Ravens to a Super Bowl in 2012. He was rewarded handsomely for that run with a 6-year $120 million extension, making him the highest paid player in the NFL at the time. All this for a player who ProFootballReference.com says has had a comparable career to that of Jay Cutler, Andy Dalton, and Matt Hasselbeck. And that seems pretty accurate. Flacco has/had the physical tools to be elite at times, but was often a middle of the road QB and at times a complete bum. With that being said he’s been OK this year despite an 0-2 record, throwing for 1 TD and 1 INT albeit with a garish completion percentage of 51.9% So the Jets best hopes of finally stomping out the Patriots probaly went out the window once Darnold was ruled out, but the Pats are so bad this year you can’t rule it out.

Cam Newton/Jarrett Stidham/Brian Hoyer have not been much better though aside from the Seattle game, which seems like it was years ago at this point. I’m curious to see if the Pats double down on keeping the ball in Cam’s hands as much as possible with designed runs or if they take a step back after last week’s game ending fumble. This is a roster devoid of offensive talent outside of the running back position though so there aren’t a ton of other options for Josh McDaniels and the Patriots.

Jamison Crowder is expected to play after missing yet another game last week. When Crowder does play he has been a high end WR2, but he’s already missed four games this season so he’s been impossible for fantasy owners (like me) to rely on. Despite missing four games, Crowder still leads the Jets in targets, receptions, receiving yards, and receiving touchdowns. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a big game from him, especially if the Pats go up early.

Spread Patriots (-9.5) vs Jets (+9.5)

Despite being 2-5, the Pats are still nearly double digits favorites over the Jets (they’re even getting 10 points in some books). But even against the 0-8 Jets, I’m not comfortable laying 10 points with this increasingly ineffectual Patriots team. This is not the Patriots offense of my twenties so I’m not expecting a blowout tonight.

Prediction: Pats 17 Jets 10

The Jets have only scored more than 14 points twice this season so that doesn’t bode well for Gang Green, even with Stephon Gilmore out tonight. On the other side, Cam Newton has only thrown for 2 touchdowns with 7 picks in 6 games against varying strengths of defense. So I think the Patriots run day and night, control the clock, pop a couple TDs and get the hell out of there with an ugly W as the Jets continue their lonely march towards drafting Trevor Lawrence next year.

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