After missing his team’s last three games because of mononucleosis, New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold returned on Sunday to lead the club to its first win of the season: the Jets defeated the Dallas Cowboys 24-22 to improve to 1-4 on the year. This week, however, a different challenge awaits as the reigning world champions will visit East Rutherford — and they are undefeated six weeks into the season.
Coming off a 35-14 blowout victory over the Jets’ cross-town rival Giants on Thursday, the New England Patriots are in the driver’s seat for their 11th straight AFC East title and also the top seed in the conference’s playoff race. Despite some offensive inconsistencies recently, the team still fields a Hall of Fame quarterback and the NFL’s best defense — one that has surrendered just three touchdowns so far this season.
Add it all up, and you get why the odds are in the Patriots’ favor heading into the Monday night matchup (via Oddsshark):
Odds: Patriots -9.5
Oddsmakers are confident in the Patriots’ ability to defeat New York a second time this season: the two teams already met in Week 3, with New England winning 30-14 in a game that was thoroughly dominated by the home team. Despite Monday’s game taking place at MetLife Stadium and with Sam Darnold being back in the lineup, the expectation is that this matchup is more of the same and that the Patriots will improve to 7-0.
The win probability models used by advanced statistics website FiveThirtyEight also come to this conclusion and favor the Patriots heading into the contest:
New England: 75%
New York: 25%
Only one of this week’s games — the Buffalo Bills’ meeting with the winless Miami Dolphins — is more lopsided at this point in time according to FiveThirtyEight. That being said, divisional games often seem to follow their own rules and with the Jets’ starting quarterback being available again the Patriots cannot afford to take their upcoming opponent lightly despite its 1-4 record.