The Jets have a season-long struggle ahead of them

The New York Jets had an impressive 2022, all things considered. Knowing they were getting nothing out of the quarterback position, they were 7-4 at one point.

It’s hard to keep that up all season. Eventually the Jets’ other 21 positions couldn’t keep carrying the weight of the team and it collapsed. The Jets lost six in a row to end the season. Then they got Aaron Rodgers this offseason. As we know, that lasted four plays.

Maybe it was memories of that 7-4 start or just the short-term euphoria of an exciting overtime Week 1 win that seemingly everyone in America watched, but there was a lot of optimism about the Jets last week. “The Jets are still going to be a playoff team even without Rodgers!” was a thing in some circles.

Reality set in last Sunday. The Jets lost 30-10 to the Dallas Cowboys. The offensive output was a great run and catch for Garrett Wilson on a 68-yard score, and practically nothing else. Zach Wilson had a 38.1 passer rating. Garrett Wilson, one of the game’s true stars at receiver, only got two catches. If you can’t get Garrett Wilson the ball more than two times in a game, that’s a sign of how bad your offense is.

The Jets have to know what they’re in for. Unless Zach Wilson makes a leap — he’s just 24 years old and was once the second pick of the draft, so it’s no impossible — then every game will feel the same. The defense needs to be just about perfect, and even then a win isn’t guaranteed. The Jets did that for 11 games last season before the burden was too much. Can they do it for another season? It’s a lot to ask.

That’s not a slight on the Jets defense or any of their players. They’ll try hard. At 1-1, they haven’t given up on the season or anything of course. They’re good enough around the quarterback to stay in the playoff hunt all season. But they already know every win will be a grind, just like last season. Sunday’s loss was a reminder of the challenge ahead.

Oddsmakers don’t have much faith in the Jets. They made the New England Patriots a 2.5-point favorite at BetMGM on the road for Sunday’s game. The Patriots haven’t played poorly for two weeks, but they didn’t win either game. I’ll take the 0-2 Patriots, even as a road favorite. I just don’t trust Zach Wilson enough to pick the Jets, unless they’re getting at least a field goal and probably more. The Jets’ trust level in Wilson can’t be that high either.

Quarterback Zach Wilson (2) and the Jets offense had a rough day in Dallas last week. (AP Photo/Sam Hodde)

Quarterback Zach Wilson (2) and the Jets offense had a rough day in Dallas last week. (AP Photo/Sam Hodde)

Here are the against the spread picks for Week 3, with the odds from BetMGM:

Giants (+10.5) over 49ers

I have no idea how the Giants are going to cover, but you’ll say that a lot if you bet NFL underdogs. A more complete breakdown of Thursday night’s game was in The Daily Sweat.

Titans (+3.5) over Browns

Going forward with the Browns, we need to ask: What has Deshaun Watson done with Cleveland to give us any confidence he can carry the offense? Watson still has time to turn things around, but I’m not betting on that until I see it. I’ll fade the Browns without Nick Chubb against a Titans team that always overachieves.

Falcons (+3.5) over Lions

This line has been moving. It was Falcons +5.5 last week, then moved to +4.5 and is down to a little more than a field goal. Lions injuries are piling up. We know David Montgomery is out. If Amon-Ra St. Brown can’t go due to a toe injury or is at less than 100%, the Lions offense is pretty thin.

Packers (-2) over Saints

It’s hard to pick this game before we know the Packers’ injury report. Will Christian Watson, Aaron Jones and David Bakhtiari play? If they do, I really like the Packers at less than a field goal. Though the Saints’ 2-0 start isn’t a fluke. They’re a good team. I just like the Packers at home, if they’re relatively healthy.

Dolphins (-6.5) over Broncos

I’m just going to keep on with this angle until it runs out: Since the start of last season, when Tua Tagovailoa has been healthy the Dolphins have been an elite team. The odds really haven’t treated them that way. If you’re making a teaser this week, feel free to start with this game.

Vikings (-1) over Chargers

I don’t know how you can have any faith in the Chargers. They’re consistently disappointing. You can say the same for the Vikings but if you want to bet on the Chargers as a road favorite, prepare to be let down.

Commanders (+6.5) over Bills

I’m not sure what to make of the Commanders. They are 2-0, but nearly lost to the Cardinals at home in Week 1 and trailed an obviously mediocre Broncos team 21-3 in Week 2. Do we give them credit for comeback wins without acknowledging they shouldn’t have been trailing in the first place? At the end of the day, it’s 6.5 points for a home team I don’t think is that bad. I’ll take it.

Texans (+9) over Jaguars

The Jaguars haven’t been too impressive yet. Neither have the Texans. Their offensive line issues should get better with Laremy Tunsil likely to return. Maybe they can start to get all their intriguing offensive pieces clicking together. More than anything, I don’t want to lay nine points with the Jaguars until I see them play better.

Ravens (-7.5) over Colts

I’m not sure how you can even put up a line on this game, not knowing if it will be Anthony Richardson or Gardner Minshew II at quarterback for the Colts. Richardson was in the concussion protocol on Wednesday. We’ll see if he is cleared before Sunday. Minshew is capable, but Richardson adds a lot of dimensions Minshew can’t. I’ll take the Ravens due to the uncertainty, and because Baltimore might be pretty good this season.

Seahawks (-6) over Panthers

The Bryce Young injury came out of nowhere. We’ll see if he plays. Young should be starting all season if he’s healthy and has a great upside, but in Week 3 of his rookie season … is Andy Dalton a downgrade? Probably not enough to move the line much. I’m not completely comfortable with the Seahawks yet, but haven’t seen much out of the Panthers this season.

Bears (+13) over Chiefs

I don’t know that it could have been a much worse week in Chicago. In just about every case I’ll take a double-digit NFL underdog and assume I’ll win more than I’ll lose. But it won’t be fun to back the Bears in this one.

Cardinals (+12.5) over Cowboys

See above. The Cardinals have a lot more fight than I anticipated this season. Still not comfortable to pick them against the Cowboys, but you already know if you’re taking Dallas here you’re paying a tax.

Steelers (+2.5) over Raiders

Pittsburgh is 1-1 but has been a disappointment. The Steelers would be 0-2 if Deshaun Watson didn’t give them two touchdowns. This is just a blind pick on Mike Tomlin over Josh McDaniels.

Eagles (-4.5) over Buccaneers

The Bucs were one of the 19 teams that have gotten the “They’re obviously tanking for Caleb Williams!” treatment already, but they’re clearly a lot better than that. It’s impressive in a strange way that the Eagles are considered a bit of a disappointment so far. They’re 2-0 against two decent teams. They set the bar very high for themselves. The Buccaneers have been better than expected, but the Eagles might expose them a bit.

Bengals (-3) over Rams

This pick took a lot longer than it would have two weeks ago. I am not comfortable taking the Bengals, with Joe Burrow limping around and the offense looking broken. They have no downfield passing game, which is shocking. It doesn’t even resemble the Bengals offenses of the past two seasons. Still, is Cincinnati falling to 0-3 with a home loss to the Rams?

Last week: 9-6-1

Season to date: 18-13-1

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