New York Jets + 8.0 -115 @ Arizona Cardinals
University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, Arizona
October 17, 2016, 5:30PM PDT
Our primary factors like make Cardinals about a touchdown better than the Jets this evening. As such, we are taking the points (importantly, above a key level) and backing the road dogs to beat the number in the week 6 installment of Monday Night Football.
The Cardinals' starting QB, Carson Palmer, is fit for action this evening, however, the 13th year man out of SC is by no means the Carson Palmer that ranked tops at the position (by Defense-adjusted Yards Above Replacement) in 2015. In fact, statistically, last year's standout performance appears more an anomoly than it does the norm. To this point, before last year, Palmer only cracked the top ten list of QBs (by DYAR) once since 2009 -- and then only barely. Palmer's average annual ranking by DYAR is worse than 13th over this horizon.
Additionally, at age 36, Palmer is right around the point where experienced QBs' skills tend to start to deteriorate sharply. To this point, the author of this Boston Globe article observed that after about age 37, completion percentages and yards per attempt dropped significantly, while interception rates skyrocketed for long the set of long-tenured NFL quarterbacks under examination. Palmer's lackluster output this season (i.e. 6 touchdowns to 5 interceptions) fits with the profile of the prototypical, past his prime quarterback.
On the other hand, Ryan "The Turnover Machine" Fitzpatrick too has regressed substantially since last season (the Jets' QB has logged 10 INTs vs only 5 TDs through the first five games of the year, good for the 30th slot on FootballOutsiders' QB ranking by DYAR). Moreover, the Cardinals' formidable passing defense might be equipped to capitalize on this weakness. However, Arizona's stopping power is significantly softer versus the run, while the Jets' rushing offense ranks 11th. Thus, although Fitzy is unlikely to get a reprieve tonight from the kind of pressure that has caused turnovers in weeks past, we are looking for New York's ground game to keep the Jets within striking distance.
Separately, the Cards are 0-6 ATS is its last half dozen Monday Night Football appearances, 1-5 most recently facing competition from the AFC, and 4-8 at home since 2014. Thus, through the lens of betting trends, the Jets +8 does appears a reasonable proposition.