Jaguars vs. Jets Odds, Picks, Predictions: New York’s COVID Outbreak Has Limited Impact On Betting This Game
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images. Pictured: Jets QB Zach Wilson
- The Jets have been contending with a sizable COVID outbreak on their staff and roster, but its impact is limited in terms of betting this NFL Week 16 game.
- Our analyst breaks down the Jaguars vs. Jets odds and matchup in order to make his picks and predictions below.
|Time||1 p.m. ET|
|Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NFL odds here.|
Jacksonville’s road trip to New York to take on the Jets may not have any playoff implications, but the status of the No. 1 pick for the 2022 NFL Draft and order of the top-five picks will be on the line when the Jaguars take the field for the second time since the firing of former head coach Urban Meyer.
The Jaguars were favorites for the second time all season last week — both against the Texans — and lost outright yet again. Despite this, the Jaguars are trending toward being favored for a second consecutive week on Sunday, given the COVID-19 outbreak within the Jets that is sidelining many key players.
Among that list is head coach Robert Saleh, who is reportedly symptomatic and — more likely than not — will not be able to coach on Sunday. He’s one of the 17 Jets players and personnel in the COVID protocols, and as of writing, it’s not yet clear how many of them will be able to return in time for Sunday’s scheduled game.
This game is just the fourth time in NFL history that the first- and second-overall pick quarterbacks will face off as rookies. Both have underwhelmed expectations considerably to this point with Zach Wilson and Trevor Lawrence ranking 35th and 36th in PFF grades, respectively, among 39 qualified QBs with at least 20% of team snaps this season.
So where’s the value on this matchup? Let’s take a closer look.
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Jaguars vs. Jets Injury Report
Jaguars vs. Jets Matchup
|Jaguars Offense||DVOA Rank||Jets Defense|
|Jaguars Defense||DVOA Rank||Jets Offense|
|Football Outsiders’ DVOA measures efficiency by comparing a team’s success on every play to the league average based on situation and opponent.|
Jaguars Seek Improvement From Trevor Lawrence
As bad of the Jaguars have been this season, almost all of the under-performances relative to the betting market have come on offense.
Jacksonville’s offense has scored more than 21 points once all season — a 23-20 win over Miami in London. The Jags are the only team to not score 200 total points all season, and Lawrence hasn’t shown the type of improvement in recent weeks that you’d expect of a No. 1 overall pick progressing through his first season.
Lawrence ranks 31st out of 33 qualified QBs since Week 8 in Expected Points Added (EPA) plus completion percentage over expected (CPOE) composite, per RBSDM. He has two big time throws and six turnover-worthy plays over the last five games, per PFF. Since the bye week, Lawrence has a yards per attempt greater than six just once in eight starts.
Jacksonville did shift play calling duties away from interim head coach Darrell Bevell to Brian Schottenheimer, a notoriously conservative play caller who prefers run plays on early downs. This could mean more of running back James Robinson, the Jaguars’ best offensive player. The Jets’ defense is 24th in Rushing Success Rate allowed and 28th in EPA/play allowed — so not good — but it’s actually a better unit than the secondary, which is even worse against the pass.
If you’re looking for potential signs of life, there aren’t many for this offense. They’re 29th on early downs and bottom 10 in Adjusted Sack Rate.
Certain Elements Favor Jets
Both Wilson and Lawrence have been terrible when under pressure, but Wilson does have two areas in which he could make fewer mistakes and hit enough explosive plays to get a small edge in this game.
First, Wilson’s highest PFF grade has been on downfield throws. And when the Jets’ offense beat the Titans and scored a bunch of points on the Eagles, a lot of that came from Wilson hitting big plays down the field. The Jaguars get very little pressure, so Wilson should be able to sit in a relatively clean pocket and take some shots down the field.
Whichever team gets more pressure probably forces the mistakes from the opposing rookie, and the Jets are 17th in pass rush while the Jags rank in the bottom-seven at generating pressure.
As bad as the Jets’ offense has been with Wilson, they’ve faced a brutal schedule of opposing pass defenses. Two games with New England and a game with Buffalo have been tough enough in division, but New York has in fact played the toughest opposing schedule of pass defenses and overall defenses in the entire NFL.
With Jacksonville generating less pressure and allowing plenty of big plays, this could be the game that Wilson finally flashes more good moments.
Jaguars vs. Jets Predictions
By almost any metric, the Jets and Jaguars are two of the three worst teams in the NFL. Both rookie quarterbacks have been terrible, among the worst in the entire league, and have shown very few signs of improvement.
For this line to show the Jaguars as favorites in New York, though, implies that they’re better across the board by at least a couple points to overcome any home-field advantage for the Jets. And with this game projected to be close, the Jets’ 10th-rated special teams by DVOA is significantly better than the Jaguars’ 30th-rated unit.
Despite all of the COVID-19 issues for the Jets, the team isn’t missing a ton of difference-makers because there aren’t a lot of noticeable difference-makers on the Jets’ roster overall.
The line move has overreacted to the loss of Saleh and the mounting list of players, but the Jaguars haven’t shown that they’re better than any team this season, and I’m not buying into the recent market love for them since the firing of Meyer.
While the Jets offense has been largely incompetent all season, New York has shown signs of life in a few games at home this season — against Tennessee, Philadelphia and Cincinnati — while the Jaguars offense has been almost nonexistent nearly every game for more than two months.
I wouldn’t recommend laying points with the Jets, but at even or better, you can fade the Jaguars as road favorites despite the COVID issues for New York (check real-time NFL odds here).
Pick: Jets at pick’em or better
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