By Abraham Gutierrez
At the start of the 2015 NFL season, pro football oddsmakers believed that the Miami Dolphins were the biggest threat to the New England Patriots’ hopes of winning the 2015 AFC East crown. However, after Joe Philbin’s debacle in South Florida, NFL betting experts would like a mulligan heading into Week 5.
With Gang Green delivering the knockout blow to Philbin’s era in Miami, NFL oddsmakers have adjusted their figures, demoting the Dolphins and substituting them with the Jets as Bill Belichick’s most formidable adversary in the chase for the division.
In retrospect, New York had the absolute worst odds to win the 2015 AFC East championship during the offseason. As of July 20, Todd Bowles’ chances were calculated at a +750 – followed by the Bills (+425), Dolphins (+400) and the aforementioned Pats (-150).
Oddly enough, as the organization continued to make moves to improve its roster, the Jets’ chances to win the first divisional title since 2002 took a nosedive. On August 22, the Jets’ AFC East betting odds tumbled to a whopping +1200, while Buffalo dropped to +500, Miami improved to +300 and the aforementioned Pats remained idle as -150 favorites.
Fast-forward to Week 5, NFL betting “experts” have not only reconsidered, but all of the sudden have nothing but love for the once left-for-dead “J-E-T-S!” NFL odds prior to Week 5 show that undefeated (4-0) New England has raised its stock, but so has Bowles Jets, as they now occupy the second spot among AFC East contenders at +500 odds. As far as Rex Ryan and Dan Campbell teams are concerned, the Bills’ chances are now very long at +2000, while the Dolphins have fallen out of contention, listed at a whopping +5000.
What’s the moral of the story? Never judge an NFL team solely on its head coach’s experience. Truth is that the job that Bowles has done through the first quarter of the season has been nothing short of NFL Coach of the Year worthy. Playing in one of the toughest divisions in football, the 2015-16 New York Jets have not only made their presence felt in the AFC East, but in turn, have put the entire league on notice.
After pounding Miami into submission – on both sides of the football – last week in London, Gang Green appears to have all the ingredients of not only a playoff-caliber team, but more so, a championship contender: defense and a bruising rushing attack.
With its stoic play, the Jets’ defense has catapulted itself to the top of the mountain, while the offense has proven to feature one of the most violent, vicious running backs in the National Football League.
New York’s “D” goes into the bye week ranked first in points (13.8 ppg), second in total yards allowed (280.2 typg), third in the passing game (185.5 pypg), and 11th against the rush (94.8 rypg) in the NFL. Meanwhile, Chris Ivory closed out Week 4 with the third most rushing yards in the National Football League, despite sitting out Week 3 against the Eagles due to injury.
Will the New York Jets continue to prove NFL oddsmakers wrong by dethroning the reigning, six-time defending AFC East kings, New England Patriots? Only time will tell. The Patriots and Jets are slated to collide in Week 7 (Oct. 25) in Foxborough, and again on Dec. 27 (Week 16) at the Meadowlands.
Abe Gutierrez’s (Twitter: @GutierrezAbe) passion led him to ditch law school journey in order to launch his own publishing company. His expertise make him a valued addition to Examiner.com, AXS.com and the CBS-Sports family. Some of his work can be found on CBS-Miami (Dolphins), CBS-LosAngeles (Chargers), CBS-BayArea (Raiders), CBS-NewYork (NY Jets), CBS-TampaBay (Buccaneers), AXS.com, Examiner.com and other online publications.