Patriots

What experts are predicting for Sunday’s Patriots-Jets game

The Patriots are slight favorites, but several experts are predicting an upset on Sunday.

Mac Jones and the Patriots will look to beat Zach Wilson for the fourth time in his career. AP Photo/Adam Hunger

We’ve really only had one good Sunday of NFL football this season. The Patriots just happened to be idle.

Not sure if that’s a coincidence.

Whether it be a rash of injuries to star players, an over-saturation of the product, or just the realization that you shouldn’t have to pay to sit through that pathetic Patriots-Colts “showdown,” it’s been a pretty uneventful season in the NFL. Scoring is down (the 43.4 average total points per game over the season’s first seven weeks marked the lowest output the NFL has seen since 2010), Thursday night is still Thursday night (Al Michaels be damned), and even as some star quarterbacks start to fade into the limelight (Aaron Rodgers, Matt Ryan, Bailey Zappe) few young players at the position seem adept at stepping up for the torch.

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Two of the latter just happen to face off this weekend when the Jets “invade” Foxborough to take on the last-place, seventh-seeded New England Patriots. In fact, as things stand right now, both Zach Wilson and Mac Jones are “leading” their respective teams to the playoffs.

Neither played last Sunday, which just so happened to be the most-enticing afternoon of football the NFL has managed to produce thus far this season. Vikings-Bills. Cowboys-Packers. Brady’s Oktoberfest in November and, yes, even Lions-Bears was reason to tune in.

Here come the Pats and Jets to mess it all up.

Maybe that’s no way to speak about a pair of “playoff-bound” teams, but it’s been a slog, at least where New England is concerned. In fact, on the same afternoon that the Patriots outlasted the pathetic Colts in a game that only Benjamin Moore could love, the Jets beat the division-leading Bills, creating chaos in the AFC East. All four teams, as it stands now, are heading to the postseason.

But that’s really just an indication that the East stinks less than the rest of the NFL.

Perhaps now, on the doorstep of Thanksgiving, we’ll start seeing some more enticing, competitive games where offenses actually show up.

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Just don’t look for it in Foxborough on Sunday.

This week’s predictions:

Joe Manniello, Newsday: Jets. “It’s all right there for the Jets: Win Sunday and they’re in first place. Lose and they could fall to last place. The stakes couldn’t be higher in the franchise’s biggest game in over a decade. The Jets have lost 13 in a row to the Patriots, including a brutal 22-17 loss in Week 8 in which Zach Wilson threw three interceptions. What people seem to forget is that the Jets rebounded by beating Buffalo the next week. Its defense and run game dominated, and I expect both to be the driving forces in a win on Sunday. The Jets have been the better team for most of the season, and if Wilson can avoid mistakes – a big “if” considering he’s thrown 7 INTs in three losses to Pats – they can finally break the New England hex. Jets OC Mike LaFleur also needs to call a more balanced game: 15 runs vs. 41 throws in the first meeting is not a winning formula. I like that the Jets had a week off to savor the Bills win, regroup and recharge for the rematch.”

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NJ.com staff: Three of four like the Jets.

Globe staff: Four of six pick the Jets (+3.5).

Tony Massarotti, 98.5 The Sports Hub: Patriots. “Murray likes the Pats. Felger likes the Jets. I’m of the potentially foolish belief that the Patriots fixed at least some of their offensive problems during the bye week, which is a risky assumption. The last time these teams played, the Jets defensive line dominated but Zach Wilson blew the game. The Pats have won the last 13 meetings and haven’t lost to the Jets at home since 2008. Under Bill Belichick, the Pats are 35-7 against the Jets in the last 42 regular-season games and 17-2 in the last 19. Those numbers are absolutely, positively ridiculous.”

Pete Prisco, CBS Sports: Patriots 20, Jets 16. “This is a big game in terms of the playoff possibilities. The Patriots beat the Jets three weeks ago at their place in a game dominated by the defenses. This should be another game dominated by the defenses, and at home I will take the Patriots defense.”

CBS Sports staff: Six of eight pick New England (-3).

Gerry Dulac, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Jets 27, Patriots 24. “The Patriots won the first meeting just three weeks ago, 22-17. But instead of starting their customary slide, the Jets showed some uncharacteristic resiliency and bounced back the next week to beat the Bills. What’s more, they are unbeaten on the road (4-0).”

ESPN staff: Seven of eight pick New England.

Michael Hurley, CBS Boston: Jets (+3.5). “This one pretty much hinges on whether or not Zach Wilson can keep at bay his burning desire to throw one-hundred-and-seven interceptions against the Patriots. It’s no sure thing. But short of those picks, the Patriots aren’t really at ‘beat the same team twice in a season’ level right now. No, not even the Jets.”

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Jimmy Kempski, Philly Voice: Patriots (-3). “In three career games against the Patri*ts, Zach Wilson is 0-3, going 45 of 84 (53.6%) for 616 yards, 2 TDs, and 7 INTs, for a passer rating of 50.5. I think the Jets have the better roster overall, but I’ll believe that Wilson can beat Bill Belichick when I see it.”

Frank Schwab, Yahoo! Sports: Jets (+3). “The Patriots just beat the Jets 22-17 a few weeks ago. But the Jets keep gaining momentum and confidence. The Patriots offense still has a lot of issues. I worry about Zach Wilson melting down against a Bill Belichick defense again, but I’ll go with the Jets and the points.”

Sheil Kapadia, The Ringer: New England (-3.5). “The smart move here is probably to take the points. This figures to be a low-scoring game where the defenses dominate. But until Wilson shows me he can get through a game like this without committing critical turnovers, I have to take the other side.”

Vinnie Iyer, The Sporting News: Patriots 20, Jets 13. “The Jets and Patriots are coming off byes. Second-year first-round QB Zach Wilson will again lean on a run-heavy attack. So will second-year first QB counterpart Mac Jones. Bill Belichick’s team won the first meeting in New York 22-17 to end October and he will be well prepared for the mid-November rematch in New England. The Jets remain too one-dimensional and not multiple enough to win here while the Patriots will introduce new offensive wrinkles.”

Bill Bender, The Sporting News: Patriots 24, Jets 21. “These teams met in Week 8, and the Patriots won 22-17 on the strength of five field goals by Nick Folk. The Jets had a bye week to enjoy the victory against Buffalo. Zach Wilson had a season-low 48.8% completion percentage in the first meeting against the Patriots. What will Wilson learn from that experience on the road against a Bill Belichick defense?”

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Mike Florio, Pro Football Talk: Patriots 23, Jets 17. “The Pats keep getting better and better.”

Michael David Smith, Pro Football Talk: Patriots 20, Jets 14. “All four AFC East teams are in playoff contention, which makes this a big game. Look for the Patriots’ defense to play well against Zach Wilson as New England wins.”

FiveThirtyEight: Patriots, 61 percent (-3).

Gregg Rosenthal, NFL.com: Jets 19, Patriots 16. “A Patriots sweep of the Jets in this season, of all seasons, feels too cruel for even Bill Belichick to accomplish. The point spread in this game is surprising because the Jets’ defense is so clearly the best unit in this game. The difference between Mac Jones and Zach Wilson is either insignificant or non-existent, unless the bye week somehow solved Jones’ deep slump. Until I see that, it’s hard to trust this Patriots team, even in a matchup that has heavily favored Belichick in the past.”

NFL Pickwatch: Sixty-eight percent Patriots (-170).

It says here: Patriots 16, Jets 10. A battle for last place in the division could also help sort out possible playoff seedings. Go figure.

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