New York Jets vs. New England Patriots
Date and Time: Sunday, December 31, 2017, 1 p.m. ET
Location: Gillette Stadium, Foxboro, MA
Opening NFL Odds: Patriots -16.5
Patriots vs. Jets TV Coverage: CBS
The math for the Patriots is simple in Week 17: Win, and you're the No. 1 seed. Lose, and you're almost certainly going to be No. 2.
The Steelers are virtually assured of beating the winless Browns at home in Week 17, so the Pats have to take care of business against the Jets to lock up No. 1.
New England has thrived in these situations before, and there's little reason to believe that it is going to take its foot off of the gas pedal. The Patriots boast the No. 1 overall offense in the NFL and have been beaten just one time since October 1, a somewhat fluky 27-20 loss at Miami.
The Jets were once playoff contenders in the AFC, but losses in three straight, five out of six and eight out of 10 have ended the dreams after a 3-2 start to the season.
This game could end up being relatively important for more than a few Jets, though.
For starters, Todd Bowles could be coaching for his job. He has a team that isn't talented at all, and the fact that New York was competitive should be commended. However, 5-11 would be 5-11, and it's hard to justify letting him be the man in charge of this rebuilding project, even if he turned a team with arguably less talent than Cleveland into a five-win bunch.
This is also one last chance for Bryce Petty to prove that he could be a viable quarterback in this league. He hasn't done so in these first couple games under center, completing just 47.4 percent of his passes and posting a quarterback rating of 46.6. Another stinker, and Petty could easily just be released next season and never be heard from again.
5 – The number of consecutive games in which Tom Brady has thrown an interception.
There aren't many stretches in which Brady has had a pick in five straight games, but we're in the midst of one at the moment. Brady is probably going to win the league's MVP honor once again merely based on the fact that he's the best quarterback on the best team in the NFL, but he hasn't quite looked sharp in this last month.
Is the end near? That's always the question for a 40+ quarterback who is in a bit of a rut. Brady will tell you otherwise, but if we're being realistic, he's got four touchdowns and five picks in his last four games and barely has a quarterback rating of 85.
Jets vs. Patriots Free Picks
The New England defense has been remarkable at the end of this season, and this is the unit that is going to carry this team to a victory in Week 17 over the Jets.
However, we can't help ourselves from wondering if New York is going to be competitive over the course of the rest of this game. The Jets were surprisingly competitive against both the Saints and Chargers, two particularly good teams that are going to finish above .500 this year and one of which could legitimately win the Super Bowl at this point.
Petty is awful, and that isn't going to change, but just as we saw the Jets start last week with an onside kick against Los Angeles, we're going to see some stunts in this one that the Pats are going to have to be ready for. With the Jets playing loose, we'll take the points given to us by all of the top online sportsbooks.
NFL ATS Pick: Jets +16.5 at BookMaker.eu
NFL Score Prediction: Patriots 27, Jets 13