J-E-T-S chant: Lose! Lose! Lose!

Oct 21, 2020 3:00 AM

They won the most important game in football history a half-century ago, but now they are the laughingstock of the football world.

With Atlanta and the Giants winning on Sunday, the New York Jets are the NFL’s only winless team. At 0-6, the Jets’ average loss has been by 18.3 points with each loss by at least nine points.

As we go to press on Tuesday Adam Gase, inexplicably, remains the head coach. The Jets are fortunate that American football treats bad teams more favorably than their European counterparts treat soccer teams or the Jets might be relegated to the college ranks, perhaps to the FCS level such as to the Pioneer Conference.

After averaging 51.4 total points per game through the first five weeks, scoring dropped last week to an average of just 47.4 ppg. This drop-off was reflected in Totals results which were 10-4 to the Under. Overs still have the edge vs. Unders (47-41 plus three pushes) and the average remains above 50 at 50.8 ppg.

Only five underdogs of seven points or more have pulled upsets this season and Denver’s 18-12 win at New England on Sunday was one. As 7-point underdogs, the Broncos faced a Patriots team that was dealing with some COVID-19 issues within the organization that resulted in the postponement of this game that was scheduled for Week 5.

Is it possible that some players were not fully focused for Sunday’s game as the result of what may have been subconscious distractions? It would be interesting to hear a professional psychologist’s opinion. Certainly the Titans did not exhibit similar lack of focus for their games against Buffalo and Houston following a similar outbreak. It may be worth watch how teams react following COVID-19-related postponements as there could be more in coming weeks.

An issue that has cropped up this season is the impact on home field advantage due to the lack of most if not all fans at NFL games. Next week I’ll share some research I’ve done on the issue and the results are, if not surprising, certainly enlightening.

Sunday

Lions at Falcons, Total 56.5: Atlanta ranks fourth in total offense and next-to-last in total defense with those ranks closely mirroring their ranks in the passing game. Those are strong ingredients that forecast a high scoring contest.

Even in getting their first win, the Falcons allowed 7.3 yards per play to Minnesota. Detroit has been very efficient in scoring more than their raw statistics might suggest but their defense against the run has been a major weakness.

Both offenses have excelled in avoiding turnovers which should indicate an ability to sustain drives and wear down the other’s defense. Each has played more Overs than Unders. Both average scoring in the high 20s while allowing a shade under 30. OVER

Bills -13 at Jets: After starting 4-0, Buffalo will be in a foul mood following back-to- back losses at Tennessee and to Kansas City. Because of schedule adjustments the Bills will be playing their third game over a 13-day stretch with just five days off between games.

Yet it’s hard to make a case for the Jets despite the hefty spread. Not only are they 0-6 SU with an average loss by 18.3 points, they’re also 0-6 ATS, failing to cover the spread by 11.7 points per game. Their lone “almost cover” was in their opener at Buffalo in which they scored in the final minute of a 27-17 loss. BILLS

Packers -3.5 at Texans: Off their Bye week, Green Bay was embarrassed by Tampa Bay, losing 38-10. QB Aaron Rodgers played extremely poorly as the Pack had their first negative turnover margin this season.

The Texans were unable to follow up their first win of the season as they failed to hold a late lead in Tennessee before losing in overtime. Statistically the teams are similar — well above average on offense and somewhat below average defensively.

The key edge may be Green Bay’s seventh ranked rushing game (139 ypg) facing Houston’s last-ranked rushing defense (178 ypg). Green Bay is 5-1 ATS, Houston 1-4. PACKERS

Chiefs -9.5 at Broncos: Considering their respective reputations it should surprise many that Denver actually averages a higher yards-per-pass completion rate (12.1) than Kansas City (11.8). Broncos starting QB Drew Lock returned last week and led the offense to six field goals in an 18-12 upset win at New England.

This game should mark running back Le’Veon Bell’s debut with Kansas City and it will be interesting to see if there’s any negative impact in the locker room, considering the Chiefs were averaging 119 rushing yards per game before rushing for 245 in Monday’s win at Buffalo. Something about upsetting the apple cart?

Kansas City was taken to overtime in their win at the Chargers and two of Denver’s three losses were by two and five points. BRONCOS

Buccaneers -3 at Raiders: Both teams are coming off huge emotionally-charged wins. Tampa played its best all-around game in many years, routing Green Bay 38-10, dominating the game as much as that score suggests. The Pack gained just 201 total yards on 3.3 yards per play. Their defense ranks first in the league, allowing just 282 ypg and 4.6 ypp.

The Raiders are off their upset win at Kansas City and may have come down to earth sooner than the Bucs by virtue of last week’s Bye. The Raiders will be challenged to run the ball against Tampa’s outstanding rush defense. Rested and having played one of the NFL’s toughest schedules to date is worth noting. RAIDERS

Monday

Bears at Rams, Total 45.5: The good news for the Rams is that they’re 4-2. The bad news is that all four wins have come against the NFC whose teams are a combined 5-18-1 with three of those wins against fellow Division teams. Their two losses are to a pair of playoff teams from last season — Buffalo and San Francisco.

Chicago is 5-1 but doesn’t win pretty. The five wins are by 4, 4, 4, 1 and 7 points. The Rams have been the stronger offensive team (but consider the competition) while the defensive stats are virtually even. UNDER

Last week: 1-5

Total: 12-23-1