The NFL is a league built on parity and striving for parity. Jets and Giants fans may have forgotten that, which is because their teams have lived below the poverty line for so long.
So far this 2022 season, however, we’re seeing a new kind of parity where almost every team in the league somehow got worse – out of the blue and at the same time – as 5-1 Big Blue and 4-2 Gang Green.
Coming back from vacation and thanking Erich Richter for substituting last week, let’s stay in these two local trains for now, which seem to be on the express tracks in the off-season.
New York Jets (-1) over DENVER BRONCOS
Robert Saleh “collects receipts” and he’ll find plenty of them, but not that many here, as the Jets rewarded our Castle of the Week pick with a 27-10 win over the Packers at Lambeau Field.
The lead could have been bigger as the Jets ended up leaving four points on the table and the Zebras had to cost them another 10 points along the way. More powerful than the result, however, was the way the Jets chopped down the Packers’ offensive line (which still includes top players like David Bakhtiari and Elgton Jenkins) and missed Aaron Rodgers one shot at a time.
Next is a broken team from Denver. Many are calling this a trap game as the Patriots come to MetLife next week. I don’t see that as a problem since a lot of those Jets were on the field last October when the Broncos beat them 26-0. And a handful more will remember the accidental 36-27 loss to QB Brett Rypien on a Thursday night in New Jersey in 2020.
The Jets should be able to continue what they started in Green Bay by attacking Rypien (who will start for the injured Russell Wilson), riding at royal Breece Hall and mixing in some well-timed shenanigans without Zach Wilson to be at great risk. Special salute from one DB to another: Duane Brown is a wonder who has solidified the Jets offensive line in two weeks. It’s amazing to see a 37-year-old, 330-pounder block defenders 20 yards down the field.
Some are expecting the Same Old Jets, but to me it means the same as last week.
New York Giants (+3) over JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS
The Giants don’t have quite the talent that the Jets have, but the coaching duo of Brian Daboll and Wink Martindale is as good as it gets. If high-end players arrive, we could see some kind of prolonged success in Buffalo South or Kansas City East.
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These trainers seem to me to be the key to another W. They have the AFC competition in their grasp and have already defeated two of the conference’s top teams: Tennessee and Baltimore. They have adapted to injuries and found use on all 53 players, although we don’t know all of their names.
Detroit Lions (+7) via DALLAS COWBOYS
Even though Dak Prescott returns for the Cowboys, I’m willing to give the Lions a try in their favorite betting role as big underdogs. Even factoring in their 29-0 loss in New England, the Lions still rank third in points per game (28) while the Cowboys are 21st with 18.3.
TENNESSEE TITANS (-2.5) over Indianapolis Colts
Looking for a little bounce from the Titans for their bye as they’re 4-0 ATS under coach Mike Vrabel at spots like this. Tough decision as Colts expect Jonathan Taylor back without him after going 2-0.
Atlanta Falcons (+6.5) over CINCINNATI BENGALS
Always on the alert for a points explosion at Bengals but hoping it doesn’t come this week as both Ja’Marr Chase (hip) and Tee Higgins (ankle) feature on the midweek injury report. So watch her. The Falcons are the only remaining undefeated team against the spread (6-0).
Cleveland Browns (+6.5) over BALTIMORE RAVENS
Baltimore was untrustworthy by a margin — see: losses to Miami, Buffalo and the Giants — so I’m not interested in nearly giving a division rival a touchdown. The Browns have the offense to at least slip into the back door.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-11) via CAROLINA PANTHERS
Usually double-digit home underdogs snap up, but I can’t get behind a team that’s already in fire sale mode in October. Hoping Tom Brady pays a little more attention to this game than Gisele or Kraft or whatever else was distracting him.
WASHINGTON COMMANDERS (+4.5) via Green Bay Packers
The portrayal of Daron Payne, Jonathan Allen and Montez Sweat learned a few things from the Jets about how to approach Aaron Rodgers. Taylor Heinecke had a good game (268 yards passing, 95 yards rushing) at Lambeau last year, although Washington failed several times in the red zone and lost 24-10.
LAS VEGAS RAIDERS (-7) over Houston Texans
This is a difficult number as the Raiders don’t deserve to be favored by so much over anyone based on past performance. They were in a narrow 30-29 loss before the Kansas City reunion, and Josh Jacobs is coming off games of 144 and 154 rushing yards.
SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS (+2.5) over Kansas City Chiefs
Although it’s been a season of ups and downs for the 49ers, they’ve excelled in both of their home games, beating the Seahawks 27-7 and the Rams 24-9. The Chiefs are back to their old non-covering tricks at 2-4 ATS.
Seattle Seahawks (+5.5) via LOS ANGELES CHARGERS
The Seahawks have shown on offense (48 points in Detroit, 32 in New Orleans) and on defense (nine points allowed against Arizona). Hoping they can be good on both sides of the ball in the same week. The schedule could have a small advantage as the Chargers played almost full overtime Monday night.
Pittsburgh Steelers (+7) via MIAMI DOLPHINS
Was interested in the dolphins until the line reached the key number seven. Now it’s harder to pass over famous underdog Mike Tomlin. Also consider the under in a likely matchup of two quarterbacks coming back from concussions in Tua Tagovailoa and Kenny Pickett.
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (-8) via Chicago Bears
I hate playing the big favorite in prime time, but I can’t sit for three hours and pray that the Bears’ prehistoric offense will score against Bill Belichick’s defense. The Patriots shut out the Lions, who have good offense, so I don’t hold out much hope for Justin Fields here.
Betting on the NFL?
Patriots, Jets, Giants.
castle of the week
Patriots (lockdown 4-2 in 2022).
9-5 overall, 2-1 best bets.