NFL upset of the week: Talking ourselves into the Jets! Jets! Jets!
By its very nature, this column is binary. The Upset of the Week either wins or loses. That's how sports work. So when the Dolphins lost to the Raiders in overtime, we took our first loss and fell to 2-1. You know better, though, as a burgeoning sports betting sharp. A +170 winner in Week 1 and a +210 winner in Week 2 means we still sit 2.8 units to the good. Not to mention that all of our pups have covered the spread.
Does that mean we can get a little loose in Week 4? We can, in this case, but not by choice. You know the rules: it's got to be a team with longer than +150 odds and usually a squad that's more than a 3.5-point underdog. The 4.5-point underdogs of Carolina and Arizona are tempting, but we're going next level this week.
Ladies and gentlemen, here come your 2021 New York Jets!
Let's start our case for victory on offense, which has been truly offensive this season. Zach Wilson suffered three full weeks of "Welcome to the NFL" moments against the best defenses in the league.
It might be a chicken-and-the-egg situation for the Panthers' defense - are they good because they shut down the Jets (and Saints, and Texans), or did they shut down New York because they're good? Whatever the case, Carolina's talent on all three levels wasn't fun for a quarterback debuting.
Next up was a Bill Belichick defense that's eaten rookie quarterbacks alive for decades. Not literally, that's against the rules.
Last week, the Denver Broncos shutout our hapless future heroes. While there may not be another shutout in the NFL this season, this was a mismatch you could see coming, with Denver loaded on all three levels.
Up next for the Jets is the Titans, and their defense isn't as solid. Tennessee ranks 15th in yards per game, but that's about as misleading as it gets. The Colts went to Nashville last weekend for a must-win contest and started a quarterback who had the maximum amount of sprained ankles a human can have.
It went as well as you'd expect. Carson Wentz lumbered around as Indy managed just 267 yards, cosmetically altering the Titans' defensive yards per game average down to 359.
Maybe Wilson and the Jets' offense will consistently perform as though the quarterback has two sprained ankles. But at the very least, when compared to the units they've played already, the Titans' defense might make Wilson feel like he's back at BYU, facing the likes of Utah State.
There's no shutdown corner for Tennessee to stick on Corey Davis, so he may be able to get loose in the same way he did in Week 1. The Titans' 20th-ranked rush defense will also provide more room for Michael Carter to run than he had against his first three opponents, who all rank in the top-five for stingiest run defenses.
On the other side of the ball, it starts with Tennessee's weapons, or potential lack thereof. A.J. Brown is week-to-week, which isn't a designation you get when you're ready THIS week. Julio Jones is questionable as well. If they're both out, that's a far less dangerous offense for New York to handle.
As convincing as the losses have been, given the Jets haven't even covered yet, the defense has actually allowed the 11th-fewest yards this season. Christian McCaffrey is the only running back to rush for more than four yards per carry. Perhaps, against a pass offense without its top two outside threats, New York can load up on Derrick Henry with less fear of being burned by Ryan Tannehill.
Finally, maybe he misses his old offensive coordinator, but the Titans quarterback hasn't been his 2020 self this young season. Tannehill's 87.7 passer rating and 7.4 yards per attempt rank 23rd and 21st, respectively, against the eighth, 20th, and 28th best pass defenses by yards per attempt. How would those numbers look if Tennessee faced the same defenses New York encountered?
No one is saying the Jets are better than the Titans, but this early in the season, as bad as it's looked for New York, it might not be that bad. Meanwhile, Tennessee is a bit overrated, taking advantage of a lousy division. After a key win over their most likely AFC South competition, the Titans are in a bit of a letdown spot Sunday.
Pick: Jets +280
Matt Russell is a betting writer for theScore. If there’s a bad beat to be had, Matt will find it. Find him on Twitter @mrussauthentic.