New York Jets (0-2, 0-2 ATS) at Denver Broncos (2-0, 2-0), 4:05 p.m.
Implied Team Totals: Jets 15.5, Broncos 26
Spread/Total Movements: 42.5 to 41.5
Weather: 85 degrees, 0% chance of rain, 10 mph
Jets Injuries to Watch: WR Jamison Crowder (groin, doubtful), RB Tevin Coleman (non-COVID illness, out)
Broncos Injuries to Watch: OLB Bradley Chubb (ankle, IR), LB Josey Jewell (pec, IR)
Brolley’s Jets Stats and Trends
The Jets have opened the last three seasons 0-2 ATS.
New York is 1-5 toward unders in its last six games
The Jets are 2-7 ATS in their last nine road games since 2020.
Zach Wilson had a day to forget with four interceptions in his second career start. He joined not so elite company in Nathan Peterman (2017) and Kyle Orton (2005) as the only rookie QBs to throw four INTs in their first 10 attempts of a start. The Broncos just limited #1 overall pick Trevor Lawrence to 118 yards on 33 attempts (3.6 YPA) for one touchdown and two INTs.
Corey Davis finished with 2/8 receiving on five targets last week, which was two fewer catches than Patriots’ defenders. Davis has had a propensity to disappear for games at a time even during his breakout 2020 campaign. He’s with 10 or fewer FP in six of his last nine games dating back to last season (postseason included). Marvin Jones posted 6/55/1 receiving on 11 targets in this matchup last week.
Elijah Moore posted 4/47 receiving on eight targets (24% share) in a lopsided loss to the Patriots in Week 2 after going for negative yardage in his pro debut. He also led them with 31 routes last week but he needs more stable targets with a 17.2 aDOT on his 12 looks this season. The Broncos are giving up 158.5 receiving yards per game to WRs.
Jamison Crowder nearly returned to the lineup in Week 2 off of his groin injury, but the Jets decided to give him another week to recover from his injury. He could immediately be active out of the slot with Wilson struggling as a first-year starter after Braxton Berrios saw a whopping 11 targets (33% share) in their Week 2 loss to the Patriots. Sterling Shepard posted 7/113/1 receiving in this matchup in Week 1
Tevin Coleman moved to the back of the pack in a negative game script with just 5/24 rushing in Week 2 on only 10% of the snaps while Michael Carter and Ty Johnson each played 45% of the snaps. Carter played the best of all Jets’ skill players against the Patriots, posting 11/59 rushing and 2/39 receiving on three targets. Johnson also had some success as a runner with 12/50 rushing and he finished without a target. We should expect another negative game script this week with the Jets entering as double-digit underdogs, but the Broncos are allowing just 8.9 FPG (2nd-fewest) through two games.
Brolley’s Broncos Stats and Trends
Teddy Bridgewater has covered the spread at an incredible 75% clip in his career with a 38-13 ATS record.
The Broncos have opened as favorites in each of their first three games after they were the only team not to be favored in a game last season.
The Broncos are 5-2 ATS in their last seven games.
The Broncos are 7-3 toward unders in their last 10 games.
Teddy Bridgewater has topped 20+ FP in both games and he’s averaging 8.5 YPA with four TDs. He completed 26/34 passes for 328 yards (9.6 YPA) and two touchdowns against the Jaguars last week. The Jets weren’t tested last week in a lopsided game while Sam Darnold posted 20.1 FP in the season opener.
Courtland Sutton put his quiet, one-catch performance from Week 1 behind him with 9/159 receiving on a team-high 12 targets. He ended with a 32% target share and no other pass catcher got more than six looks from Teddy. D.J. Moore posted 6/80 receiving against the Jets in the season opener.
Tim Patrick came through again last week like he always seemingly does when he’s given a big role. He caught all four of his targets for 37 yards and a touchdown, and he’s now scored in each of the first two games after scoring six TDs on only 79 targets last year. The Jets have allowed just one touchdown reception to WRs in the early going.
K.J. Hamler flopped as Jeudy’s replacement in the slot with just a five-yard catch on three targets despite running 28 routes. Hamler’s aDOT sits at 19.6 yards through two weeks, and the Jets did give up a 57-yard TD catch to Robby Anderson.
Noah Fant has cleared 12+ FP in each of his first two games with Bridgewater and he’s seen an excellent 21% target share. Albert Okwuegbunam has been a little more involved than Fant’s owners would like, though, with 7/40/1 receiving so far. The Jets have given up 9.2 FPG to TEs through two games.
Javonte Williams and Melvin Gordon have each handled exactly 29 touches, with Javonte posting 115 scrimmage yards and Gordon producing 187/1 scrimmage. Melvin has held a major edge in routes with 42 compared to 25 for Williams. That edge in the passing game shouldn’t matter too much this week since the Broncos are projected to play in a positive game script as double-digit home favorites. The Jets have given up 9.0/70.0 receiving per game to RBs but they’ve faced Christian McCaffrey and James White in the early going. They are giving up 4.2 YPC with two rushing TDs allowed.
Barfield’s Pace and Tendencies
Week 1-2 – Pace (seconds in between plays): 22.8 (1st)
Week 1-2 – Plays per game: 65.5 (13th)
Week 1-2 – Pass: 66.4% (10th) | Run: 33.6% (23rd)
Week 1-2 – Pace: 36.4 (32nd)
Week 1-2 – Plays per game: 70.5 (9th)
Week 1-2 – Pass: 58.0% (22nd) | Run: 42.0% (11th)
Much better days are ahead for Zach Wilson after last week’s struggles against the Patriots, but we’re likely looking at a very similar game-script for the Jets as they travel to Denver as double-digit road dogs. I’m sure the Jets have played much faster and gone way more pass-heavy than they would ultimately like, but this Broncos secondary has been up to snuff against Trevor Lawrence and Daniel Jones to start the season allowing the lowest completion rate (52.2%) and the third-lowest passer rating (67.4) thus far. Wilson is on that talent spectrum with those two. Meanwhile, the Broncos have gotten plays off at the slowest clip in the league because they’ve been in two positive scripts so far and will have no problem rolling with a slow-paced, run-heavy attack here to salt away the Jets. This game has the lowest total on the slate for good reason.
(Note: We’re dealing with very small sample sizes early in the season – so I’m saving the deep dive into play-calling tendencies until Week 4.)
Huber’s Key Matchup Notes
You might’ve noticed just how good Teddy Bridgewater looked/played in Week 2 against Jacksonville, after a similar performance in Week 1. The first factor working in Bridgewater’s favor is having the support of a playoff-ready Broncos’ defense, very likely the best defense “Tuddie” has played with since his Minnesota days. But the comfort provided by a defense can only extend so far. The Jaguars’ coverage shells are among the shells Teddy has the most success against… and the Jets play a similar scheme. Teddy still might roll this week.
Given Bronco WRs Courtland Sutton and Tim Patrick are given the green light in their recovery from bruised hips, Patrick (6’5”) is likely to work across from Bryce Hall (6’1”) due to the alignment percentages and Hall’s size. That leaves 2021 sixth-rounder Brandin Echols (5’11”) drawing the responsibility for covering Sutton (6’3”). Nelson Agholor had problems with Hall last week. I don’t think that’s overly restrictive for Patrick, but Echols is very exploitable for Sutton.
For the Jets… I do suppose WR Corey Davis has some upside against rookie Patrick Surtain II. But QB Zach Wilson’s favorite target through two weeks, slot WR Braxton Berrios, draws a tough one with slot CB Bryce Callahan.
Dolan’s Vantage Points
The Broncos have played really well through two weeks, and Teddy Bridgewater has been a significant part of that, distributing the ball effectively while avoiding mistakes. He’s a viable QB streamer against an impossibly young Jet secondary that hasn’t really been tested.
For reasons Wes went into above, I really like Courtland Sutton this week. Why would Teddy not keep going back to him after Sutton exploded for 9/159 on a team-high 12 targets in the Broncos’ first game without Jerry Jeudy? He’s a WR2. I think Tim Patrick is a defensible WR3, but I’m not going to go to the well with slot WR KJ Hamler. Hamler had just 1 catch on 3 targets last week, and rookie Jet slot CB Michael Carter II (their other rookie Michael Carter) has been a revelation, allowing just 9 yards on 46 coverage snaps in the slot (SIS).
Rookie RB Javonte Williams has already forced a 50/50 timeshare with Melvin Gordon. The Broncos are in as good of a spot as they might get all season as 10.5-point home favorites against a Jets defense that has given up 323 scrimmage yards to Christian McCaffrey and Patriots RBs already. Sure, Williams and Gordon will split touches again as the 1A/1B combo, but they will both have plenty of opportunity to produce. I like both as RB2s… and I frankly have a gut feeling about Williams busting out this week. Coaches have been singing his praises.
Pat Shurmur said Javonte Williams being really good in pass protection is “very rare” for a rookie.— Zac Stevens (@ZacStevensDNVR) September 23, 2021
“He has some rare traits... He’s got a very bright future. And he’s showing up early in the season, early in his career. I think he’s going to be fun to watch for a lot of years.”
TE Noah Fant is 10th among tight ends in routes run, but tied for 4th in targets. He’s a solid TE1.
The Jets… yeah.
Against this very good defense, let’s say I’m willing to go to the window with Corey Davis as my WR3. I’m keeping an eye on RB Michael Carter in the backfield after his usage significantly increased in Week 2. With Tevin Coleman (non-COVID illness) out, it might be a good chance to stash Carter.
Otherwise, I’ll let this wise young man describe my feelings.