There are some years when the Jets are like the box of chocolates in “Forrest Gump” — you never know what you’re gonna get.
That hasn’t been the case this season. Since Week 3, what we’ve gotten from the Jets is consistent effort and a steady emergence of young players to rewrite the narrative that 2017 was going to be a 1-15 Suck for Sam slog. The Jets are only 4-5 because they’ve let a few winnable games get away, but they are 6-0-1 in their past seven against the spread.
That’s the inverse of the Buccaneers, who are 0-6-1 against the spread in their past seven games, and come into this one with a five-game losing streak, just 13 points scored in the past two games, Ryan Fitzpatrick in for Jameis Winston (injured) and no Mike Evans (suspended).
The NFL always has been a “turnaround” league. Teams win big one week, get killed the next. That has typically been true of the Jets. But these teams have shown “what you’re gonna get” over the past seven weeks, and that’s this …
The pick: Jets, -2 ¹/₂.
Giants (-2¹/₂) over 49ERS: Unless you’re in the locker room when the doors are closed, it’s hard to know if Ben McAdoo has completely lost his team. The Rams’ touchdown on third-and-33 suggests yes. Even if that’s the case, the Giants players, who have to be unbelievably embarrassed, could play harder for themselves. The lowly 49ers wouldn’t be able to match that if guys such as Jason Pierre-Paul, Janoris Jenkins and Eli Manning played like the backs of their football cards.
REDSKINS (+1¹/₂) over Vikings: Hail to the Redskins for their stunning win in Seattle, playing in the toughest road venue in the NFL without four of their five starting offensive linemen. The Vikings are not a team you’d want to face with a banged-up OL, but we’re not going to doubt the replacements who beat the Seahawks.
BEARS (-6) over Packers: Big rest disparity, as Packers travel after a Monday night beatdown by the Lions, while the Bears are coming off a bye. Chicago’s defense is holding opponents to 39 yards per game below their season averages, according to ncsports.com, and Matthew Stafford showed Mitchell Trubisky where the holes are in the Packers’ D.
Steelers (-10) over COLTS: Steelers are plus-77 yards per game and Colts minus-89. That disparity alone is typically worth about 12 points. Steelers have yet to score 30 points in a game, but the suspicion here is that’s about to happen.
Chargers (+3¹/₂) over JAGUARS: Early eastern start for Chargers is mitigated by the fact they’re coming off a bye week. They’ve won and covered their past six against the Jags, with an average margin of victory of 19 points. And when Bolts lose, it’s usually by a field goal or less.
TITANS (-4¹/₂) over Bengals: It’s incredible A.J. Green is not suspended for this game after his choke hold of the Jags’ Jalen Ramsey that started a brawl last week. Titans let an easy cover against the Ravens turn into a push, so coach Mike Mularkey should be stressing here they finish strong.
BILLS (+3) over Saints: The forecast in Orchard Park (45 degrees, dry, not too windy) is the best Drew Brees could have hoped for, though still a far cry from indoor comfort he’s used to. Tough call, but it looks as if line was over-adjusted off the Bills’ loss at the Jets. They’ve had extra time to prepare for this and are 4-0 at home (3-0-1 ATS).
LIONS (-11) over Browns: Cleveland has given up at least 31 points in four of its past six games, so this is certainly a spread Matthew Stafford and the Lions can cover if they don’t get bored or complacent off their easy Monday night road win in Green Bay.
RAMS (-11) over Texans: Rams are averaging an NFL-high 32.9 ppg and have broken scoreboards for 41, 46 and 51 points this season. Jared Goff and Todd Gurley can wear out a Texans D that won’t get much help from Tom Savage.
FALCONS (-3) over Cowboys: Hard to figure what the Cowboys will look like without Ezekiel Elliott. The only time Dak Prescott played without him was in a meaningless Week 17 game last year, in which Mark Sanchez and Tony Romo also played.
Patriots (-7¹/₂) over BRONCOS: Denver’s D gave up more than 300 yards for the first time all season in Philadelphia last week. Those players have to be getting fed up with an offense that needed two garbage-time TDs to reach 20 points for the first time since Week 2.
Dolphins (+9) over PANTHERS: The Dolphins are 4-4 despite a minus-63 point differential. Don’t know if that’s a credit to them, or a major red flag. Spread is through the roof, though. Miami’s lines the past three weeks all have been plus- or minus-three. The one time they were a big underdog (plus-13 ¹/₂ at Atlanta), the Dolphins won, 20-17.
Best bets: Titans, Chargers, Rams
Lock of the week: Titans (Locks 3-6 in 2017).
Last week: 4-7-1 overall, 1-2 Best Bet.
Thursday night: Seahawks (T).