New England Patriots vs New York Jets predictions, odds, spreads & betting lines: Mac Jones is back to boost Pats

The AFC East has turned into a fascinating battle this season with all 4 teams being competitive, which has not always been the case. As such, the divisional matchups, such as Sunday’s game between the New England Patriots and New York Jets, are all vital games. The Patriots are bottom of the division at 3-4 after a rough outing against the Bears their last time out, while the 5-2 Jets are flying high after 4 straight wins — but have just suffered a pair of costly injuries to rookie running back Breece Hall and offensive lineman Alijah Vera-Tucker.  Our NFL expert has picks, predictions and best bets for this matchup, so let’s break it all down.

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NFL Week 8 New England Patriots vs New York Jets prediction

The Patriots are not accustomed to occupying 4th place in the AFC East, and they will want to change that situation as quickly as possible. New England had posted comfortable wins over the Lions (29-0) and Browns (38-15) before suffering a stunning 33-14 loss at Chicago on Monday Night Football. The Patriots are set to start second-season QB  Mac Jones again after rookie Bailey Zappe impressed while Jones was injured and he will need a strong performance to avoid a prolonged QB controversy.

The Jets started the season 1-2 (with the win being a huge late rally at Cleveland), but things have really taken off for them over the last month with successive wins over the Steelers, Dolphins, Packers and Broncos, with a number of their young players leading the way. However, one of their rookie stars, RB Breece Hall, is now out for the season with a torn ACL, so Michael Carter is set to lead the ground game, at least until new arrival James Robinson gets up to speed. It’s a fascinating matchup, so let’s check out the odds and our expert’s best bets for the game.

New England Patriots vs New York Jets spread, odds & betting lines

Point spread: Patriots -2.5, Jets +3
Total points over/under: 40.5 points
Money line odds: Patriots -135, Jets +125

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New England Patriots vs New York Jets expert picks

We’ve got 2 standout NFL picks for this week’s clash between the Patriots and Jets.

Patriots vs Jets point spread pick: Patriots -2.5 (-110)

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick has won 12 straight games over his former employer and 32 of the last 38 dating back to 2003. Sure, a lot of those games were with Tom Brady under center, but the last 4 weren’t — including a 79-19 scoring margin in the 2 meetings last season with Mac Jones starting. Jones will get the nod again this week despite the emergence of Bailey Zappe. Don’t get me wrong; I love Zappe Hour as much as anyone. But Jones is the guy in New England, and I think he will play much better this week. I’m also not overreacting to the Bears’ beatdown of the Patriots on MNF. Not only was Chicago rested off a mini-bye, but they also went against tendency on offense by utilizing more QB rollouts and motion with QB Justin Fields, which helped to set up the running game in the 2nd half. New England will be much more buttoned up on defense this week against a less mobile QB in Zach Wilson and more predictable Jets offense that will be missing 2 key pieces in the run game. Rookie star RB Breece Hall is out for the year with a torn ACL and starting RT Alijah Vera-Tucker is also done for the season with a triceps injury. They traded for Jaguars RB James Robinson, but WR Corey Davis left Sunday’s win with a knee injury and has also been ruled out of this game. Stopping the run has been a problem for the Patriots’ defense all season, allowing almost 50% of rushing plays to be graded successful, but they’re catching the Jets at the perfect time.
The Jets’ defense has looked great thanks to rookie Sauce Gardner’s elite play in the secondary — but I’m not sure that matters much in this particular matchup. Styles make fights, and I don’t think the Patriots will try to force the ball towards Gardner in 1-on-1 matchups. They would much rather establish the run and take what the defense gives them in the passing game. New England has some of the most conservative splits of any team in the NFL with the 6th-fewest passing attempts (28.7) and 8th-most rushing attempts (28.1) this season. The Jets’ success rate on defense drops from 5th against the pass to 29th against the run.

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Patriots vs Jets over/under totals pick: Under 40.5 (-110)

Divisional unders are hitting at a 71% rate through the first 7 weeks of the season (25-10), as teams that are familiar with each other continue to struggle on offense. In this particular matchup, I don’t see the Jets having too much success on offense the week after losing RB Breece Hall and RT Alijah Vera-Tucker. Zach Wilson struggled in his 2 games against the Patriots defense last season, throwing 4 picks in about 6 quarters before injuring his knee midway through the 2nd matchup. New England outscored New York 79-19 in those games last season, with the under going 1-1. The Patriots’ offense should keep the clock moving with a methodical ground attack. New England runs the 2nd-slowest pace in the NFL and attempts the 8th-most rushes per game (28.7). The Jets’ defense overall has been playing well this season, but they can definitely be beaten on the ground. There likely won’t be a lot of big shots over the top for Mac Jones, especially not when going against Sauce Gardner — who has graded out as the 2nd-best CB in the league in 2022 despite being a rookie. Gardner has allowed only 151 yards in coverage all year with 1 TD back in Week 2.

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New England Patriots vs New York Jets expert predictions

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