Broncos vs. Jets Odds, Picks, NFL Sunday Predictions: Bet On Teddy Bridgewater To Cover Another Spread
Sam Greenwood/Getty Images. Pictured: Broncos QB Teddy Bridgewater
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The Broncos couldn’t have asked for a better schedule of opponents to start their season, opening with games against three teams that are projected to be among the worst in their respective divisions — if not in the entire league. And they’ve taken full advantage of their soft schedule, kicking off the season with a 27-13 win over Daniel Jones and the Giants before spoiling the home opener for Urban Meyer, Trevor Lawrence and the Jaguars in a 23-13 victory.
Now the Broncos return to Mile High for their home opener against the Jets, who are reeling in their first season with new head coach Robert Saleh and rookie quarterback Zach Wilson.
After a 19-14 loss to the Panthers in Week 1, the Jets were blown out in a 25-6 loss to the Patriots. Unfortunately, this week doesn’t get any easier for the Jets as they take on the Broncos in game in which where they’ve been installed as 10.5-point underdogs with a total of 42 points.
Can the Jets find a way to be competitive? Or will the Broncos once again dominate inferior competition?
Let’s analyze both sides and find out!
Jets Offense Has Uphill Battle
There’s not a lot to be excited about when it comes to the Jets.
They’re a team in transition that’s hoping to build for the future, and that starts with Wilson, who leads in the league in interceptions after throwing four against the Pats. While Bill Belichick-coached teams have historically done well against rookie quarterbacks, things don’t get any easier for Wilson this week against the Vic Fangio-coached Broncos defense. Wilson did complete 19-of-33 passes for 210 yards against New England, but he’ll need to clean up the turnovers.
A big part of the Jets’ issues is their offensive line, which has given up a league-high 10 sacks and is 31st in adjusted sack rate (12.7%).
The unit did improve last week, even in the absence of LT Mekhi Becton, but still gave up three sacks, 14 hurries and one hit. Regardless of how the offensive line is performing, Wilson has just 62.8 passer rating with a clean pocket while having a 50.0 under pressure. It’s no surprise that this offense is scoring just 10.5 points per game, ranking 30th in offensive success rate (38.1%) and 31st in drop back success rate (39.1%).
It’s clear their first-year quarterback is still raw, but even more troubling is the fact he’s been added to the injury report (groin). While he’s still likely to play, he’ll be playing hurt against a dominant Broncos defense.
If there’s one thing the Jets have done well offensively, it’s their rushing attack, which should go a long way in limiting the hits on Wilson. Last week, they rushed for 152 yards on 4.9 yards per carry with Michael Carter and Ty Johnson manning the running back by committee.
Defensively, this unit is has been a surprise, ranking eighth in success rate (42.5%) and 11th in expected points added, allowing just 22 points and 320 total yards per game. Of course, they’ve played the Panthers and Patriots, who don’t have particularly explosive offenses.
Given the struggles of this Jets offense, even having a solid defense might not be enough if they’re always on the field.
Broncos Benefit From Teddy Bridgewater
Teddy Bridgewater might as well have the nickname “Teddy Covers” because, as a starting QB, his teams have covered at a historically great rate of 37-14 (72.5%). That makes him the most profitable quarterback in NFL history.
He’s completing 77% of his throws for 296 yards per game while ranking second in ESPN’s Total QBR, fifth in Football Outsiders’ DVOA and second behind only Patrick Mahomes in EPA. Did I also mention Bridgewater is in the top five in touchdown passes (four) and hasn’t thrown a single interception all season?
While we’re used to seeing Bridgewater dink and dunk while relying on his defense, he’s also throwing it down the field this season, ranking second in air yards (10.0). He leads the league in pass attempts of more than 20 yards with 13, so this is an offense that’s capable of scoring and covering these big spreads.
While the Broncos are missing Jerry Jeudy, the cupboard is far from bare with running backs Melvin Gordon and Javonte Williams; wide receivers Courtland Sutton, Tim Patrick and K.J. Hamler; and tight end Noah Fant. The Broncos are seventh in rushing EPA and just 26th in rushing success rate, and it feels like this is a good breakout game for this rushing attack against as Jets defense that ranks just 26th in rushing success rate.
While the Broncos offense is part of the reason for their success, Fangio-coached teams typically make their living on defense, and that’s exactly what this team is doing. They’re holding opposing teams to just 13 points per game and are top 10 in both EPA and success rate. They will be without OLB Bradley Chubb (ankle), but given the struggles of this Jets offense, I’m not sure Chubb’s loss will comeback to bite them until next week at Baltimore.
After two road games, the Broncos finally have their home opener at Empower Field, where they hold one of the best home-field advantages in the NFL at a time when the advantage of playing at home is decreasing rapidly.
The Jets did take some money within the betting markets pushing this line down (check real-time pubic betting data here). And while it does make sense given the low total of 42 — making the points more valuable — it’s pretty clear they’re facing an uphill battle with a rookie quarterback facing a Fangio-coached defense that is in the top 19 in EPA/play and success rate.
All things considered, Wilson has been a turnover machine, and if he turns the ball over this week, I’m not sure how the Jets stay within this number given their struggles offensively.
As a result, this feels like a 24-10 or 27-13 game.
Bridgewater is a whopping 37-14 (72.5%) against the spread, according to our Action Labs database. With a game against the Ravens in Week 4, this feels like another good spot to back the Broncos before hopping off the train.
Pick: Broncos -10.5