At the start of the season, if someone told you that the New York Jets would be in the playoff picture in Week 15, it would have been very fair to assume that Zach Wilson took major steps forward in his second NFL season.
Well, the first part of that statement is true. The Jets are 7-6 and very much alive when it comes to the wild-card race in the AFC. However, the second part hasn’t exactly come to fruition. Zach Wilson displayed zero growth from his subpar rookie season, and as a result, he was benched after a 10-3 loss to New England in Week 11.
Mike White took over as the Jets’ starting quarterback and has played the last three games. However, after taking numerous massive hits last weekend against the Buffalo Bills, White suffered a rib injury. He was cleared to practice this week, but won’t be cleared for game action on Sunday. As a result, the Jets are handing the keys of the operation back to Wilson.
With Wilson back under center, oddsmakers have made it clear what they think the move means for the Jets’ chances of winning against the Lions on Sunday. New York was a betting favorite prior to the news. Now, they are underdogs.
Jets opened as favorites, now underdogs
Week 15’s matchup between the New York Jets and the Detroit Lions is massive for both sides.
The Jets are one of the three 7-6 teams in the AFC competing for the final wild-card playoff spot, alongside the New England Patriots and Los Angeles Chargers. On the other side, the Lions received a boost with the Seattle Seahawks losing on Thursday night. If the Lions win Sunday, they will be just half a game out of a playoff spot.
Early on Friday morning, the Jets were 1.5-point home favorites over the Lions. They were -125 favorites on the moneyline. However, after the news broke that Wilson would be starting at quarterback for New York, the betting market shifted in a noticeable way.
It’s now the Lions who are 1.5-point road favorites at BetMGM. The Jets’ moneyline pays out at +100.
There’s no denying the Jets have been a different team this year depending who is under center. In three starts to open the season, Joe Flacco averaged over 51 passing attempts per game. In Wilson’s seven starts, he’s averaging just 27 attempts per game. With White, the Jets were throwing the ball 43 times per game.
Those numbers make it pretty clear that the Jets don’t trust Wilson with the ball in his hands. They’ve used him as a game manager, just hoping he doesn’t make catastrophic mistakes that cost them the game. With anyone else under center, they’ve been slinging the ball all around the field.
Quarterback wins is as useless a stat as there is, but surprisingly, Wilson has a dramatic edge there. Both Flacco and White are 1-2 in games they’ve started. Meanwhile, the Jets are 5-2 in games started by Wilson. The Jets will certainly hope that trend continues Sunday.
Lions have been red hot
Through seven games, the Detroit Lions were 1-6. It looked like it was going to be another lost season for Lions fans. However, they’ve certainly turned things around.
Detroit has won five of its last six games, and in that stretch, it’s gone 6-0 against the spread. The playoffs are suddenly a very realistic possibility for Detroit. A win on Sunday would go a long way in making that a reality.
Bettors have taken notice of the Lions’ success and have made them a popular bet this weekend. At BetMGM, 70% of the bets are backing the Lions to cover the spread against the Jets.
The game offers an interesting clash of styles. The Lions are just 1-5 when being held to 28 points or less. The Jets have only allowed more than 28 points once this season, all the way back in Week 2.