Big Al's Daily Angle: Monday Night Football Preview

by Big Al Staff

NFL Monday Night Football game on ESPN between the New England Patriots and the New York Jets dominates the Monday sports card.

New England limps into this game amidst a four-game losing streak. The Patriots were in a position to win (or at least force overtime) late in the game on the road at Buffalo before Cam Newton turned the ball over with a fumble to hand the Bills a 26-23 victory. New England did outgain the Bills by a 349 to 339 margin in the loss. The Patriots find themselves with a 2-5 record and a losing grip on the opportunity to make the playoffs.

New England is averaging only 19.4 points-per-game on offense. Despite losing five of their seven games, they are only being outgained in these contests by -5.6 net yards-per-game, given their 351.7-357.3 yards-per-game averages this season. The Patriots have become a run-oriented offensive attack that is third in the NFL with their 31.6 rushing attempts per game and their 159.7 rushing yards-per-game. Having Newton under center helps that cause with his 298 rushing yards along with a 5.1 yards-per-carry average. But while Newton is completing 66% of his passes, he has only thrown two touchdown passes to his seven interceptions. Newton has fumbled three times, including the fateful turnover that cost his team the opportunity for a victory last week.

Newton does not deserve all the blame for the woes of the New England passing game. The Patriots have only ten receptions from the tight end position as they still look to fill the shoes of that Rob Gronkowski used to wear. With Julian Edelman on Injured Reserve and N’Keal Harry out for this game with a concussion, the wide receiver depth chart consists of Damiere Byrd, Jakobi Meyers, Gunner Olszewski, and Isaiah Zuber off the practice squad. Seventeen players are also listed as questionable by head coach Bill Belichick including cornerback Stephon Gilmore, running back Damien Harris, and offensive tackle Isaiah Wynn.

The Jets are winless after eight games with their 35-9 loss in Kansas City last week, where they were 20-point underdogs. New York managed only 221 yards on offense while allowing the Chiefs to gain 496 total yards. The Jets have lost six of their eight games by double-digits. Critics looking for ammunition against head coach Adam Gase can point to the zero points that his offense has scored in the second half in three straight games.

New York is averaging only 11.8 points-per-game along with 258.8 yards-per-game. The Jets’ defense is giving up 29.8 points-per-game along with 398.9 yards-per-game. Both units will be without perhaps their best player tonight. Quarterback Sam Darnold is doubtful with a shoulder injury. Defensive end Quinnen Williams is doubtful with a hamstring injury. New York has six players on their Injured Reserve list with another three players declared out.

Joe Flacco will likely be the starting quarterback for the Jets with Darnold out. In his three games this season, he has completed only 41 of 79 passes for 397 yards and a 51.9% completion percentage. He has thrown one touchdown pass with one interception while being sacked five times.

The Jets’ last victory in this AFC East rivalry was in 2015. New England won both meetings between these teams last season by 30-13 and 33-0 scores. BetAnySports lists the Patriots as a 10-point road favorite with an over/under of 41. Game time on ESPN is at 8:15 PM ET.

All photographic images used for editorial content have been licensed from the Associated Press.

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