The New England Patriots travel to face the New York Jets on Sunday, December 27 in an AFC East battle. The Patriots won the first meeting between these teams by a final of 30-23 at home as 7-point favorites back on October 25.

New England (12-2, 5-1 away) is coming off a 33-16 home victory over the Tennessee Titans last week. Tom Brady threw for 267 yards and two touchdowns as the Patriots jumped out to a 24-3 lead at halftime and never looked back.

New York (9-5, 5-2 home) earned a hard-fought 19-16 win at Dallas last Saturday. Ryan Fitzpatrick had a gutsy performance, throwing for 299 yards with one touchdown and one interception. He led the team down for a game-winning 40-yard field goal with 36 second remaining.

Kickoff inside MetLife Stadium is scheduled for 1:00 EST Sunday afternoon with CBS providing the television coverage. Taking a look at the lines in Las Vegas, I find New England listed as a 3-point favorite over New York with a total set of 45.5 points.

My Early Lean: Jets +3

The Jets are certainly one of the most improved teams in the NFL this season, if not one of the best teams as well. They sit at 9-5, but they still have a lot of work to do as they are tied with the Chiefs and Steelers at 9-5. Only two of those three teams will be going to the playoffs. If they Jets want it to be them, this is a must-win. That’s because the Steelers have an easy game against the Ravens while the Chiefs have an easy game against the Browns this week.

New York has been in must-win mode for weeks now and has responded well. Indeed, it is 4-0 SU & 3-0-1 ATS in its last four games overall. The Jets beat the Dolphins 38-20 and outgained them by 78 yards, they beat the Giants 23-20 and outgained them by 108 yards, they beat the Titans 30-8 and outgained them by 147 yards, and they beat the Cowboys 19-16 and outgained them by 63 yards.

So, the Jets have won four in a row while outscoring their opponents by 11.5 points per game and outgaining them by 99.0 yards per game. They are clearly one of the best teams in the NFL this season because they rank 6th in yardage differential, outgaining teams by 48.4 yards per game. Only the Cardinals, Seahawks, Patriots, Broncos and Panthers have been better in that category, so they are in some elite company.

The Patriots are dealing with a plethora of injury issues right now. LB Dont’a Hightower, S Patrick Chung, S Devin McCourty, C Bryan Stork and WR Danny Amendola are all questionable. WR Julian Edelman, RB LeGarrette Blount, WR Aaron Dobson, DT Dominique Easley, RB Dion Lewis are all out.

The Patriots were at full strength when they survived a 30-23 home win over the Jets in their first meeting this season. That game being close was nothing new in this series as the Jets always play the Patriots tough. Indeed, each of the last five meetings have been decided by a touchdown or less, including four by 3 points or fewer and by a combined 9 points.

Given the close nature of this series, I’d much rather be on the underdog, especially considering they are the home team in this one. The Jets have everything to play for, while the Patriots have all but locked up home-field advantage in the AFC. I also like the fact that the Jets are 5-2 at home this season. In the two home games they lost, they actually outgained both of their opponents. The Jets are outscoring teams by 9.8 points per game and outgaining them by 67.1 yards per game at home this year.

The Jets are outscoring teams by 9.8 points per game and outgaining them by 67.1 yards per game at home this year.

The Jets rank 5th in the NFL in total defense at 322.8 yards per game. Their defense is the reason they have a chance to pull this upset. After all, this is a defense that has really shut down Tom Brady. The Patriots have been held to an average of just 286.8 yards per game in their last five meetings with the Jets. This defense is built to stop Brady with Revis and Cromartie at cornerback.

Plays against road favorites (NEW ENGLAND) – excellent offensive team – scoring 27 or more points/game, after leading in their previous game by 21 or more points at the half are 43-16 (72.9%) ATS since 1983. New England is 0-6 ATS after allowing 17 points or less in two straight games over the last two seasons. The Patriots are 0-3-2 ATS in their last five games vs. teams with winning records. The Jets are 7-3 ATS in their last 10 home games. New York is 9-1-2 ATS in its last 12 December games.