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Posted at 11:30 AM EST
1:00 PM EST. QB Aaron Rodgers suffered a groin injury on the final play of the first half in Week 15. Rodgers and interim coach Joe Philbin expect him to play but that doesn’t make sense, does it? Why risk further damage to a guy they signed for 33M per season when the team has nothing to play for? Furthermore, even if Rodgers does play, the Pack are coming off their “last gasp” at a playoff opportunity against one of, if not their biggest rivals, the Bears. Rodgers and company will now close out their second consecutive losing season, as they play the first of two meaningless games. The vibe around the Packers this week is not one of a team focusing in on winning the final two games. It’s more about what the offseason is going to bring, as the local media is ripping this franchise to threads and speculating on what changes need to be made. We seriously have to question the Packers mindset, motivation and intensity levels or lack thereof.
The New York Jets played the early Saturday game last week and failed to cover as a 6½-point dog when they lost to the Texans 29-22. For the Texans to cover that game, roughly 35 things had to go right and 35 things did. It was seriously the luckiest cover of the season, as those holding a Texans ticket would have sold their ticket for five cents on the dollar with the Jets leading 22-19 with six minutes left. In any event, a loss is a loss and the Jets keep losing but they have had an extra day off, they played an inspired 60 minutes of football last week and they brought intensity and focus. The Jets are not in disarray like the Packers. They’re saying the right things and they have a cohesive and enthusiastic locker room.
We’re not even going to discuss or worry about what the Jets did prior to Week 13 because it was without Sam Darnold. Now two games back and after getting a different perspective by watching from the sidelines for a few weeks, Darnold looked sharp last week. Against one of the best defenses in the NFL, Darnold went 24/38, 253 yards, 2 TDs with 35 rushing yards and zero turnovers. It is the second time in four starts he has not turned the football over despite playing a top tier defense (Chicago a few starts back). Even with the standard unimaginative playcalling, a pair of sixth round running backs, Andre Roberts, Jordan Leggett and Eric Tomlinson all playing over 25 snaps, Jermaine Kearse playing over 60 snaps, Darnold made plays all over the field. The improvisation/young Tony Romo skills were on full display.
In closing, the Packers are a team with a diva leading them that suffered the proverbial “stick a fork in it” last week that now has to travel to play an AFC team that they see every leap year. The Pack can’t make life miserable for the Jets and have absolutely no juice left in them. By contrast, the Jets are enthusiastic about their future, Sam Darnold is loved by his teammates, coaches, fans and media because he’s pure class, ala Tom Brady, and the team is intently focused on finishing strong. The Jets deserved a win last week against Houston. This week, they’ll get that win.
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N.Y. JETS +3 -109 (Risking 2.18 units - To Win: 2.00)