The first game in the post-Antonio Brown era for the New England Patriots is a divisional matchup at home against the scuffling New York Jets.
New England parted ways with the troubled receiver on Friday, less than 48 hours until kickoff with the Jets. With an empty roster spot, New England is now back to seven receivers meaning more touches for Josh Gordon and Phillip Dorsett as they saw in the season-opener.
As for the Jets, their story is similar to Patriots in 2001. A quarterback injury forces the 199th pick from a year earlier, Luke Falk in this case, into action. His first career start comes against a legendary quarterback and a 2-0 juggernaut.
But this time, there likely won’t be any storybook endings in Foxborough.
New York Jets vs New England Patriots
Sunday, September 22, 2019 at 1 p.m.
Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, Massachusetts
*All odds and betting info courtesy of OddsShark and originally posted by BetOnline
Spread: New England (-21 at -112)
Over/Under: 43.5 (O -102 | U -118)
New York Jets
It’s Luke Falk time on the green side of the Meadowlands. The second-year quarterback is the third Jets passer to start this season behind Sam Darnold (mono) and Trevor Siemian (ankle). He’ll likely get his feet wet by getting the ball in the hands of Le’Veon Bell.
Bell was openly praised by Bill Belichick during the week as one of the best backs in the league, and rightly so. He’s an all-around threat, getting involved in both the running and passing game heavily.
Defensively, the Jets are one of the best teams in the league at stopping the run, allowing only 99 yards on the ground per game this year. With a Patriots team struggling to get the wheels turning on the ground, expect that dominance to continue.
New England Patriots
The Patriots are the only team in the NFL to rank in the top five of both offense and defense as a team. New England averages 422 yards of offense while allowing a league-best 246 yards of opposing offense.
Most of New England’s offense comes through the air, with an elite cast of receivers at Tom Brady’s disposal. Julian Edelman leads the bunch in receptions while Phillip Dorsett has the most receiving touchdowns. Brady also has running backs like James White and Rex Burkhead who might be the two best in the league in terms of receiving out of the backfield.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Patriots haven’t allowed a touchdown in 12 quarters dating back to last year’s AFC Championship Game. Including the Super Bowl, they’ve only allowed six points over three games. While some are drawing comparisons to the 2003 Patriots defense, all signs point to this year’s team being even better.
The major question in this one isn’t whether the Jets will win, but rather will the Jets score. The answer is probably yes but it may only be a couple of field goals or at most one touchdown. That makes predicting the over/under a little troublesome.
New England is 2-0 against the spread this year but has gone under twice because of strong defense. When playing the Jets, that total is almost always under.
Pick: The Patriots win another blowout at home to cover the spread, but just miss the over by a couple points. Call it a 34-6 win by New England where Stephen Gostkowski misses another extra point.