TNF: Broncos-Jets Betting Preview, Picks, and Props
Did you think the presidential debate was embarrassing? Can I interest you in some more pain and shame? Let’s dive in!
The 0-3 New York Jets host the 0-3 Denver Broncos in a game with the lowest projected over/under of the week at 39.5 points. Several reasons go into this: A myriad of injuries to both teams, the Broncos starting their third-string quarterback in Brett Rypien, and Adam Gase being the coach of the New York Jets.
On Denver’s side, this will be Rypien’s first start in the NFL, filling in for the injured Drew Lock, in a road game, playing on the east coast, in prime time. Denver’s star wide receiver Courtland Sutton is out for the season, and both running back Phillip Lindsay and rookie wide receiver Jerry Jeudy are questionable to play.
His weapons will likely be running back Melvin Gordon, rookie wide receiver KJ Hamler, and the lone bright spot so far for the Broncos, tight end Noah Fant. Denver’s offensive line is pedestrian at best, but this shouldn’t matter as much as the Jets have a 24th-ranked defense and 29th-ranked pass rush in the NFL, per Pro Football Reference.
On New York’s side, injuries are also plentiful. Darnold threw to castoff journeymen Braxton Berrios and Chris Hogan last week while the Jets used 37-year old Frank Gore, rookie La’Mical Perine and Kalen Ballage as their running back stable last week. This is where I remind you that head coach Adam Gase has never had an offense that didn’t have Peyton Manning on it finish better than 26th in the NFL in points or yards. In the last three years, Gase’s offenses finished 31st, 32nd, and currently 32nd this year. The team is the only team in the league not to play one second of one game with a lead yet this season.
Defensively, the Broncos are a mash unit. Edge rusher Von Miller is out for the season, run-stuffing defensive tackle Jurrell Casey, cornerback AJ Bouye, linebacker Austin Calitro, and cornerback Davontae Harris are all expected to miss the game — and hard-hitting safety Kareem Jackson is questionable to play. The team has been lit up in the passing game through the first three weeks of the season, so if Darnold can’t play decently against this defense, then it’s time to start questioning his quarterbacking ability.
The Jets have an adequate rush defense led by Henry Anderson and Quinnen Williams, but that’s about where the good news ends for them. They traded all-pro safety, Jamal Adams, in the offseason, and linebacker CJ Mosley opted out of the season due to coronavirus concerns. As such, the team can’t cover the middle of the field. Fant should have a field day if Rypien can get him the ball. Their cornerbacks and linebacking corps are completely anonymous.
Sam Darnold is still too talented not to put up over 221.5 passing yards against an injury-wrecked Denver team in a home game. His safety blanket, wide receiver Jamison Crowder returns. I don’t think he puts up much more than this, but 221.5 passing yards is such a low bar that I think he’s a good bet to go over it, especially with Bouye missing as Denver’s primary cornerback and Miller missing at edge rusher. I like Darnold over 221.5 passing yards.
Situationally, this is a big game for both head coach Adam Gase and Darnold, as reports indicate that Gase will likely be fired if the team loses tonight. There are starting to be whispers of a “tank for Trevor Lawrence” for the Jets. Denver’s general manager John Elway and head coach Vic Fangio are both on the “hot seat” as well, but Denver, as highlighted above, has had more injuries than can be held against Elway/Fangio realistically to be fired for.
My analysis? The Jets are my home team. I’ve followed them since Vinny Testaverde played quarterback for them. The team is broken, and the cupboard is bare for many reasons: Gase’s ineptitude, the team-owning Johnson family, looking at the team more as entertainment than trying to win, and former general manager Mike Maccagnan’s steadfast refusal to invest in the offensive line.
That said, my pick is the Jets +2 and under 39.5. The Broncos are still starting an undrafted free agent quarterback, traveling east, laying points to a 0-3 team on national television. The Broncos and Jets’ injuries at wide receiver and the questions around quarterback play should have this game limp to the finish line with an exhilarating 13-10 victory for New York.
(I should freely admit here that this is also some hope on my end that Gase doesn’t get fired yet so we can keep losing more games and either draft Trevor Lawrence or trade back to accumulate draft picks and let general manager Joe Douglas actually build the team correctly).