There was a saying about golf legend Gary Player – that he only had things his way on the course. Off the links, Player was a source of endless hand-wringing drama and even ridicule from other competitors and statesmen. Yet he always seemed to win. Especially when playing on home turf.
The Patriots’ dynasty seems almost loose and free-wheeling in its old age. First they clown around at the White House amid the sober gravity of the media. Then Belichick and Brady begin a strange proxy-war over the duties of Brady’s training staff. Finally, James Harrison joins up and uploads 100 new weight-training videos to YouTube (we presume) while laughing with teammates and scowling at reporters.
It’s far from The Hoodie’s “don’t be that guy” philosophy that the team so-religiously practiced for years. Pats-haters are going bananas. But it’s fun while it lasts. The Pats keep winning, and they’re a national news story 7 days a week.
Dominance! Money! Hype! The playoffs yet again! How, exactly, are the 5-10 New York Jets supposed to compete with that? Odds-makers clearly don’t believe they can.
Who: New York Jets at New England Patriots
When: Sunday, December 31st, 1 PM EST
Where: Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, MA
Lines: NYJ (+15) at NE (-15) / O/U Total: (43.5)
The Jets, however, can still draw from legends of their own. In 1962, the franchise went bankrupt, and the players refused to practice. The head coach was viewed as corrupt by the athletes – who finally decided to practice and play on their own. The self-coached Jets beat the Buffalo Bills that week.
2017 could be the mirror image – New York players have grown tired of the speculation surrounding head coach Todd Bowles. This week, the Jets organization handed the internally-popular Bowles a 2-year extension. The athletes couldn’t be happier about it.
Could it lead to an inspired 4 quarters in New England? The defense has been playing truly excellent football at times late in the season, holding the Chargers to 89 rushing yards (and a low completion % for Philip Rivers) last week.
The problem is that the team is down to the dregs of their roster at QB. Bryce Petty is not good enough to beat Tom Brady under any circumstances, though Brady seems a little nicked-up right now.
We’re thinking that the Patriots will revert to their I-formation phase of early ’17 and make sure they win this one even if it’s by a modest score.
We’re tempted to tout the under, as the weather will be extremely cold and gusty in Foxborough. And the under is a value bet for sure.
But the Jets feel like 27-13 losers, not 44-0 losers. The Patriots have home-field advantage to play for, but that doesn’t mean Brady couldn’t sit out the final drive or 2 and allow that crucial mop-up touchdown for the opponent.
New York is equally likely to lose by 10 or 30 points. The mop-up scenario, even if only a 1-in-5 or 1-in-10, pushes the betting value to the visitors ATS.