Monday Night Football Pick (Week 5)

Week 5’s “Monday Night Football” features the undefeated Houston Texans and haphazard New York Jets.

Rex Ryan and his Jets have never needed a win more than they do today. After losing all-pro CB Darrelle Revis and WR Santonio Holmes for the season, the Jets need to prove they’re a legitimate playoff candidate. According to NFL.com, their locker room is supposedly a disaster, with players blaming each other after losses almost every week. A huge win over the number 1-ranked Texans (ranked by NFL.com’s expert power rankings) could give Ryan’s Jets enough to make a push for the playoffs – and take Ryan off the hot seat.

The Texans are looking to get an important road win – always a plus in the NFL – and extend their undefeated streak to five. Moreover, the Texans are looking to continue the momentum they’ve built up through the first four weeks of the season. A weak performance – or worse, a loss – will kill all momentum and may bring up unjustified questions about the true strength of the Texans.

When the Jets have the ball, QB Mark Sanchez needs to stay mistake-free. (Easier said than done, I guess!) RB Shonn Greene needs to get his motor going and break out some solid 10+ yard runs to keep the chains moving and free up the play-action pass for Sanchez. TE Dustin Keller needs to stay strong when hanging out over the middle. He can’t get bullied by the Texans’ linebackers; he needs to be visibly open and always available as a dump-off option for Sanchez.

On the other side of the ball, RB Arian Foster needs to run consistently, giving the Texans manageable 2nd downs. QB Matt Schaub needs to play responsibly, throwing deep balls only when he has a wide-open Andre Johnson down field. Forcing passes into double or triple coverage should not be the Texans’ game-plan. The Texans are huge favorites in this game; all they need to do is avoid letting the Jets make any huge plays (both on offense and defense).

The Texans will win this game, but I think it’ll be close. The Jets are going to scheme to run the clock and shorten the length of the game. The loss of Revis hurts, but Antonio Cromartie will still be able to lock-down on top receiver Andre Johnson. The fact that the Jets have nowhere to go but up can only help.

Bold prediction: Texans escape New York with a win, 21-20.

DynamicPicks Computer Prediction:

Houston Texans @ New York Jets

Projected win: Houston, 50.7% – CORRECT

Projected ATS win: New York +9, 72.7% – CORRECT

Take the Jets straight-up. It’s almost exactly 50-50, and the moneyline is around +300. There is an insane amount of value in that. Take NYJ +9; at 72.7% there is also a lot of value.

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