The New York Jets’ 2014 season is quickly falling apart, and things could get even worse before they get better. New York will begin Week 7 when they visit the New England Patriots on “Thursday Night Football.”
After winning their season opener, it’s been all downhill for the Jets, who have lost five consecutive games. On Sunday, New York moved to 1-5, retaining sole possession of last place in the AFC East with a 31-17 loss to the Denver Broncos.
Geno Smith had another subpar performance, completing just 23 of 43 passes for 190 yards, and continuing his streak of throwing an interception in each game. His interception on New York’s final drive sealed the loss for the Jets, who it appears will miss the playoffs for a fourth straight year.
It seems that head coach Rex Ryan will keep Smith under center, even though he’s performed as poorly as any quarterback in the NFL. Smith ranks last among all starters with a 69.7 passer rating, and second-to-last with 190 yards per game. His seven interceptions are only exceeded by Kirk Cousins, and 30 other quarterbacks have been more accurate than his 57.1 completion percentage.
While it’s hard for the Jets to win with Smith in the lineup, New York’s problems run deeper than just the quarterback position. The Jets usually sport one of the best defenses in the league, but they rank 25th in 2014, allowing 26.3 points per game.
Peyton Manning looked uncomfortable at times in Week 6, but he still managed to throw for three touchdowns and record a 117.9 passer rating against New York. His performance was much like that of all the quarterbacks that have faced the Jets in 2014.
In the offseason, general manager John Idzik was criticized for not improving the team’s secondary, and his lack of moves in free agency has come back to bite the team. No quarterback has registered a rating worse than 94.7 against the Jets, and New York is tied for last in the league, allowing 15 passing touchdowns and intercepting just one pass.
It’s hard to imagine the Jets playing the Patriots at a worse time. After a slow start that saw New England begin the year at 2-2, Tom Brady and the rest of the offense appear to finally be in midseason form. The defending AFC East champs have won their last two games, outscoring their opponents 80-39.
Questions about Tom Brady's effectiveness at 37 years old have gone by the wayside in recent weeks, as the quarterback torched the undefeated Cincinnati Bengals and first-place Buffalo Bills for 663 yards, six scores and no interceptions.
Coming off multiple surgeries, Brady’s top target had a slow start to the season. Rob Gronkowski has come on strong, though, in the last two games, catching 13 passes for 194 yards. He’s more than likely to find the end zone against New York, who has allowed tight ends to score seven times in the last four games.
New England will be without their top running back on Thursday. Stevan Ridley suffered a knee injury against the Bills, and the Patriots fear an MRI will reveal a torn ACL. The running back leads the team with 340 rushing yards.
The betting odds at Las Vegas casinos have the visiting Jets getting 9.5 points, though the point spread is up to 10 points at some sports books. The over/under is 46.5 total points.
Prediction: The Jets nearly covered the spread against the Broncos, and actually had a chance to tie the game in the final minutes, but it’s hard to imagine they’ll be very competitive in New England. The Patriots haven’t lost at home since 2012, and they should extend their streak in Week 7.
Predicted Score: New England over New York, 31-13