This pair of AFC East rivals are each involved in games that are predicted to be decided by at least 20 points. The Patriots are 22.5-point home favorites against another East squad, the New York Jets, while the Dolphins are -21.5 point underdogs against the Cowboys in Dallas. This is the first time there have been multiple 20-point favorites in a weekly NFL slate since 1987.
The 1986 season was marred by a player’s strike that forced replacement players to be utilized during Weeks 4-6. In Week 5, the San Francisco 49ers were the biggest road favorites in NFL history, as the Atlanta Falcons (limited to three regulars who crossed picket lines) were 23-point underdogs. Elsewhere that day, the Cowboys were 21.5-point favorites over Philadelphia. While both the 49ers and Cowboys won their games outright, each failed to cover.
Each participating squad’s situation makes this gambling anomaly unsurprising. The Patriots have routinely defeated the Jets by sound margins in recent years, especially at Gillette Stadium. New York hasn’t won a regular season game in Massachusetts since 2008 and has scored a total of 12 points in their prior three visits.
They’re also coming off a 23-3 home loss to the Cleveland Browns on Monday night. With franchise quarterback Sam Darnold battling mono, the Jets saw backup Trevor Siemian depart due to injury late in the first half, and will now miss the season. Second-year player Luke Falk is set to make his first career NFL start. Against Bill Belichick and the Patriots. In Foxboro.
Meanwhile, Miami’s ridiculous season of rebuilding will continue in Arlington. The Dolphins were 18.5-point underdogs last week against the mighty Patriots, marking the fourth time in NFL history that a road team was favored by at least three touchdowns. Unlike the previous three occurrences, the Patriots covered to the tune of a 43-0 victory. Miami squares off against a strong Cowboys team (2-0 with a +28 point differential) without young cornerback Minkah Fitzpatrick, who was traded to Pittsburgh on Monday night.