Why The Final NFL Preseason Game Matters For The Eagles And Jets

Raise the NFL betting and emotional stakes. When the Philadelphia Eagles invade the New York Jets Friday night, New Jersey online sports bettors observe more than the final pre-season contest.

It’s a referendum on new coaches, new quarterbacks, and opposite directions from the two weak 2020 teams.  The Jets have used the preseason to raise expectations, while the Eagles have scuffled.

Besides the regional rivalry, this is the final dress rehearsal for the Sept. 12 season opener for both teams. The game has a multi-layered backdrop, maybe some urgency.

The games don’t count officially, but the Eagles have been outscored 52-0 over the last six quarters. This game must count for something.

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Eagles-Jets betting angles

Here are some early wagers New Jersey bettors can make.

At DraftKings Sportsbook, the Jets toast the rare world of minus numbers. The team that was so bad it earned the No. 2 overall pick in. the most recent NFL Draft. Yet, the pick is chalk.

Here are the odds as of Tuesday night:

  • The Jets are a 3.5-point favorite
  • They are -180 on the moneyline
  • The over-under is 33.5

Meanwhile, the Eagles are +155 on the moneyline.

Another interesting betting tier emerged earlier in the week.  It’s a double chance. Both combinations must come out.

The Jets and the under is +170.

The Jets and the over is +165.

The Eagles, plus either the over or under, are +400.

These bets represent excellent insurance for bettors, who can’t be certain about the lineups.   If the presence of backups forms a low-scoring game, for example, some combos with the under can be creative.

Caesars Sportsbook and BetMGM have the game a little more lopsided. Both books have the Birds at +4.

Eagles-Jets victory margin prop

BetMGM also put up an interesting victory margin prop.

Pick the margin of victory, in six-point increments, including overtime.

Here are the Eagles odds:

  • Win by 1-6 points is +375
  • Win by 7-12 points is + 575
  • Win by 13-18 (OK, have a good laugh) is +1300

Here are the Jets odds:

  • Win by 1-6 is +300
  • Win by 7-12 is +340
  • Win by 13-18 is +525

More bets will emerge closer to kickoff.

History versus necessity

These teams meet every preseason. Believe it or not, the last time these teams cleared 30 points was in 2015, when they totaled 42. Two years ago, the Jets triumphed 6-0.

The asterisk here is these are only the preseason results. As far as the regular season goes, the Birds are a perfect 11-0 against the Jets all-time. The two teams will meet again on Dec. 5 at MetLife Stadium.

But for now, the focus is on preseason NFL betting.

Bettors of the “over” this preseason have grabbed onto light expectations on the Eagles.  Despite the Eagles offense struggling, their games have rewarded the “over” bettors twice, because the Eagles gave up 59 points.

Coaches may want to use star players sparingly, but there is a case for Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts playing here because he has only seen 10 preseason snaps. He missed the second preseason game against the New England Patriots with a stomach problem.

If management protects him and limits Hurts in this game, he will enter regular-season Week 1 with, for all intents and purposes, a one-month layoff.

Bettors might wager lightly until receiving news about how much Hurts and Jets star QB Zach Wilson will play.

Eagles rookie head coach vs Jets rookie head coach

The Jets feature fiery Robert Saleh, who will likely change the Jets’ defeatist culture. He lights fires under players, addresses the small details, and has already displayed an aggressive management style.

Will the Jets. who won all of two games last year, go 3-0 for the preseason? They’ve already had a successful campaign, defeating the Green Bay Packers last week.

Granted, there was no Aaron Rodgers for Green Bay, but Rodgers said he’s excited about Wilson. The Jets are rising off of the NFL mat.

Eagles coach Nick Sirianni, meanwhile, is a grinder, coming from a conservative Indianapolis Colts structure. He’s known as an offensive specialist, but the Birds offense has been grounded.

They have not scored a touchdown in seven quarters, nor a point in six. The Eagles at least need to look like they are trying.

They have not engineered a preseason touchdown drive. (Their score came on a 79-yard screen pass to Quez Watkins). The offense looks out of sync. Sirianni is praising how the Eagles look in practice. That’s a low bar.

The battle of the young quarterbacks

The Jets try to change the narrative of the season behind Wilson, the second pick of the draft.

He tossed 11 passes, completed nine, and lofted two touchdown passes against Green Bay. He got rid of the ball quickly, looked comfortable leading the offense and the Jets played confidently.

Teams build attitude around that, and the Jets, at least now, respond to their new coach and quarterback.

Hurts, by contrast, has been nearly invisible. He’s back on the field after the stomach problem, but will he play against the Jets. If he does, how much? That could be a bet in itself.

There is already salt in the wound for the Eagles regarding the league’s young quarterbacks landscape. Rookie Mac Jones engineered a nine-minute drive against them for a second-quarter touchdown last week by the Patriots.

Hurts has the same relative career starting point to recent draftees Trevor Lawrence of the Jacksonville Jaguars, Wilson, Justin Fields of the Chicago Bears, Trey Lance of the San Francisco 49ers, and Jones

. For the Eagles to succeed, Hurts at least needs to be compared favorably to the next generation of quarterbacks.

The Eagles need to show life

There’s only so much “these games don’t count” sentiment fans will accept.

The Eagles were blanked by the Patriots 35-0.  It doesn’t count, but this is the only shutout recorded in the entire NFL preseason.  All 33 games. And this was the largest margin of victory.

Granted, the team can’t risk injury to Hurts and to DeVonta Smith, the high-profile, first-round draft pick. He has been rightfully nursed back from a knee injury sustained in training camp.

But the quarterback trio of Hurts, Joe Flacco, and Nick Mullens has not inspired confidence.

And the defense gave up 486 yards against the Patriots. That’s a large total for teams supposedly playing preseason close to the vest. And few clubs are less flashy than the Patriots, who advance the ball in slow, painful chunks.

There are three numbers that stick in the craw of the Eagles coaching staff. They are:17 plays, 91 yards, 9:04. That was the length of the New England scoring drive that took up most of the second quarter.

The downturn included Philadelphia yielding a first down when New England had 3rd and 13, on its own 6.

With people fighting for jobs and needing to impress the coaching staff, that was startling, even for a preseason match.

That’s why the Eagles need to place more emphasis on this preseason game.

AP Photo/Chris Szagola

About the Author

Dave Bontempo

Dave Bontempo, a multiple national award-winning boxing commentator and writer, authors NFL betting columns for the Press of Atlantic City and IGaming Player, among others.