Opening Lines: NFL Week 13

Patriots Favored by 3.5 in Showdown with Jets

The Patriots opened as 3.5-point favorites for the Week 12 battle for AFC East supremacy against the Jets.

With both teams sporting identical 9-2 records and plenty of bad blood between these organizations, this game is sure to get more media coverage than Kate Middleton. New England’s offense has been almost as unstoppable as Rex Ryan’s mouth. The Patriots are the only team that averages more than 30 points per game, and they have averaged more than 38 points per game since the “mistake by the lake” in Cleveland.

Really, the similarities between this offense and Rex Ryan are striking. They are both prolific at what they do. Rex Ryan is the only coach in the league that averages sticking his foot in his mouth more than 30 times a year. This week, he compared wives with Tom Brady. No disrespect to the beautiful Mrs. Ryan, but that’s not a battle anybody can win. (On a side note, am I the only one that wasn’t shocked to see that Rex Ryan’s wife is actually attractive enough to make page 329 of InStyle magazine? In my mind, I was picturing his wife as a cross between Rosie O’Donnell and a birthing milk cow. Ha. I was way off.)

 

There are a few obvious factors working in New York’s favor. New England’s pass defense ranks last in the league, and New York has a number of versatile weapons in the passing game. The Jets were also able to roll up 136 yards on the ground against the Patriots in Week 2, and that was before they had Santonio Holmes to help stretch the field (and throw drinks in the face of unsuspecting club skanks). Conventional wisdom would suggest that the Jets will be able to put points on the board against the Patriots and dominate the pre-game Boston club scene.

One obvious angle that has been overlooked is how these teams fare when they have extra time to prepare. Both teams played on Thanksgiving, and the game is Monday night, giving each team almost an entire extra week between games. Bill Belichick’s record following a bye is outstanding. The Pats have won eight straight games following their bye week and haven’t lost with an extra week to prepare since 2002. Rex Ryan’s record after a bye is less than stellar. The Jets got shut out at home after their bye this year, and they lost to the Jaguars after their week off last year. The Patriots should have a decided edge in terms of coaching and preparation.

These two teams have split their season series the past two seasons, and I expect to see another split this year. However, I don’t trust the New England pass defense to hold up even if the Patriots build a comfortable lead. I’m taking the Jets and the 3.5 points, and I’ll also take the over at 46.5.

Other Lines I Like

Texans (+8.5) at Eagles

Andre Johnson will probably not punch anyone in the face in this game, but he could certainly do damage against this secondary if Asante Samuel is still gimpy. Even though Vick should have a field day against this defense, the Eagles have been vulnerable on the ground, so Arian Foster should be able to do enough to keep the game close.

Over on Cowboys at Colts (48)

The Dallas offense has too many weapons to be shut down by the Colts, and the Cowboys secondary couldn’t stop Peyton Manning if he were throwing to Christina Applegate and Cher. I’d be surprised if these two teams don’t combine for 48 points by the end of the third quarter.

2010 Record ATS 8-11-1

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