The only thing at stake in Sunday’s New York Jets at New England Patriots matchup to conclude the regular season is perhaps better draft position for the Patriots if they lose. Cam Newton is expected to remain the team’s starting quarterback Sunday, but SportsLine oddsmakers believe it’s likely his last game with the franchise. Meanwhile, Sunday absolutely will the last game as Jets coach for Adam Gase and it could also be the finale with the team for quarterback Sam Darnold. The Patriots are 3-point favorites on the William Hill Sportsbook NFL odds.
New England’s one-year experiment with Newton clearly hasn’t worked as the former NFL MVP is among the worst-rated QBs in the league at 78.9. Newton has just five touchdown passes to 10 picks, and the Patriots as a team have eight touchdown passes. No NFL club has had fewer than 10 TD passes since the 2012 Chiefs, who finished with eight behind Matt Cassel and Brady Quinn.
Newton, who does have 12 TD runs, was pulled from Monday night’s ugly 38-9 home loss to Buffalo after going 5-for-10 for all of 34 yards, with Coach Bill Belichick saying on Tuesday “I would imagine” that Newton would start here. Young backup Jarrett Stidham was no better in completing 4-for-11 for 44 yards and a passer rating of 49.1 vs. the Bills – and he hasn’t been good at all in limited 2020 action.
Clearly, New England will have to address quarterback this offseason and the Pats would pick No. 15 overall in the first round of the 2021 draft as things stand. A loss could move them up a few spots.
As for the Jets, there’s no need to tank as they are locked into the No. 2 overall pick in the 2021 draft thanks to back-to-back wins and the Jacksonville Jaguars out-tanking them.
It has been reported nearly everywhere that the Jets have told Gase that he will be fired either right after this game or no later than Monday – that’s no surprise, and SportsLine will have odds on the next Jets coach next week.
Now that the Jets can’t draft Trevor Lawrence, however, might they decide to give Darnold another shot in 2021? The Jets could draft stellar offensive tackle prospect Penei Sewell of Oregon at No. 2 overall or a top receiver like LSU’s Ja’Marr Chase instead of quarterbacks such as BYU’s Zach Wilson or Ohio State’s Justin Fields.
Most around the NFL still believe New York will take a QB at No. 2, however. Darnold has started 36 NFL games and his career passer rating is 78.4, which ranks 39th out of 40 qualifying quarterbacks since 2018.
Via SportsLine oddsmakers: Who will be the Patriots’ Week 1 starting QB in 2021?
- Other current NFL quarterback -250
- 2021 draft pick: +400
- Jarrett Stidham +750
- Cam Newton +1200
So which teams should you back in Week 17 of the 2020 NFL season? And which Super Bowl contender goes down HARD? … Join SportsLine right now to see who wins and covers every single NFL game this week, plus get the exact final score, all from the acclaimed model that has returned over $7,900 on its top-rated NFL picks!