One franchise escaped turmoil. One showed signs it could do that one day. Another sank deeper into the mess.
That’s how New Jersey online bettors might assess the recently-concluded regular season for the Philadelphia Eagles, New York Giants, and New York Jets, the teams they back.
All three began the season as roughly 80-1 long shots to win the Super Bowl and with double-digit odds to make the postseason across the major NJ sportsbooks.
The Eagles, 9-8, actually bumped up into the 50-1 range and made the playoffs. The Giants and Jets made 80-1 look far too optimistic and went 4-13.
The Eagles won more than the Giants and Jets combined.
Let’s examine the teams.
Eagles, Giants, Jets Season Overview At NJ Sportsbooks
Philadelphia looks wise for trading Carson Wentz in the offseason to the Indianapolis Colts and rolling the dice on quarterback Jalen Hurts.
This assertion does not come merely from the Eagles making the postseason and the Colts missing on the final week. Both teams had identical records with a quarterback that fits their system.
But Hurts has become a better player, with more upside. Clarity emerged in Week 18.
Wentz vs. Hurts At QB
Wentz illuminated his limitations on Sunday. The Colts were thumped 26-11 by the Jacksonville Jaguars as a 15-pointbetting favorite against the worst team in the league.
They were knocked out of the playoffs by a two-win team that had lost eight straight games and been taken down 50-10one week earlier by the New England Patriots.
When he was needed to lead the team, Wentz committed consecutive turnovers that sealed Indy’s fate in the second half.
They unfolded after Indianapolis trailed Jacksonville 13-3.
The first was an attempted left-handed shovel pass. Wentz held the ball aloft and had it knocked out of his hands for a fumble. Jacksonville recovered and made a field goal.
Wentz had been burned like this in some previous games, in which a pass he threw left-handed was picked off and returned for a TD.
On the next possession, Wentz had second and 20. He tried to scramble, but did not have the speed of Hurts. He was tripped up after a short gain. Hurts would have burst through the opening for substantially more yardage.
Wentz then had a wide-open receiver down the field. He overthrew it and suffered a pick. It was the first interceptionWentz threw on the road this year and he would have been the first player in NFL history not to toss a road interception had he gotten through this game.
But this was a costly setback.
The pick was followed by a TD, as Jacksonville went up 23-3 and coasted from there. Wentz is good at managing a game, but can’t create big plays and he’s not mobile. He fits a team with a dominant running back like Jonathan Taylor, but can’t improvise if teams manage to take Taylor away.
Wentz showed Sunday that he’s a good, but limited, quarterback.
Hurts has considerably more upside, even if some erratic decisions burn his team.
Big Blue Bettors Understood Their Team
Gamblers seized upon two major factors surrounding this team’s betting dynamics. The Giants sputtered offensivelyand played proud, tough defense. Result: They were 11-5-1 on the under, an excellent rate of return for any of the New Jersey online gamblers who keyed on those two factors.
That was the only success story around the team, which limped off the field with six consecutive defeats, and looked rudderless.
The Giants only partially cleaned house one day after the season.
General manager Dave Gettleman was allowed to retire rather than get canned. Joe Judge maintained his coaching job but will be on the hot seat.
Here was a bizarre statistic emerging from Big Blue’s 22-7 season-ending loss to the Washington Football Team:
When Darius Slayton scored late in the game, it was the Giants’ first TD catch from a wide receiver since Oct. 24, when Dante Pettis tallied in a 25-3 win over Carolina.
The G-Men finished the season with five, that’s five, wide-receiving touchdowns. As a team.
That’s fewer than 29 individual wide receivers around the league.
For reference, Cooper Kupp had 16 for the Los Angeles Rams. That’s more than three times the entire Giants team total. Ja’Marr Chase, a rookie with the Cincinnati Bengals, had 13. Tee Higgins of the Bengals had six.
That means two Cincinnati receivers each had more touchdown pass receptions than the entire Giants team.
Another rookie, DeVonta Smith of the Eagles, had five touchdowns to equal the Giants. And he played for a run-heavy team.
Conversely, Kenny Golladay, the Giants’ big free-agent signing in the offseason, had no touchdowns.
That is, in the immortal words of Dire Straits, “money for nothing.”
This will be one of the most sobering assessment areas of the Giants’ offseason. The anemic totals are the function of a weak offensive line, the absence of focus, bad quarterbacks, and coaches.
The New York Jets: Consistently Inconsistent
Imagine assessing this team on the strength of three different games:
Early in the season, they notched a home victory over the Tennessee Titans, the No. 1 seed in the AFC playoffs.
Toward the middle of the season, they defeated the Cincinnati Bengals, the eventual AFC North division winner.
Two weeks ago, they outplayed and should have beaten the defending Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Three easy covers and two moneyline wins as lopsided dogs.
Those games indicate the Jets have improvement qualities within them. The team will be expected to make a leap forward next year.
One needed improvement is victories within the division. The Jets are 0-12 against the AFC East the last two years. That’s the longest running futility for one team inside its division.
Bettors saw the Jets go 6-11 against the spread and could not get a handle as to how this team would play.
The Jets have an energetic coach in Robert Saleh, the second pick from last year’s draft in Zach Wilson, and a bevy of draft picks in 2022. Saleh will be under pressure to move this team up.
Wilson was an underwhelming rookie. He had only 2,334 passing yards, nine touchdowns, and 11 interceptions, about 1,000 yards and 10 touchdowns lower than preseason projections at the books. Congratulations if you took the under.
He was dwarfed by fellow rookies Trevor Lawrence (3,641 yards, 12 touchdowns, 17 interceptions) of the Jacksonville Jaguars and Mac Jones (3,801 yards, 22 touchdowns, 13 interceptions) of the New England Patriots.
Granted, Jones had a better offensive line and a seasoned coach in Bill Belichick in his favor. But Wilson needs to make an exceptionally strong leap next year for backers to believe he was worth being the No. 2 pick in the draft.
(AP Photo/Matt Rourke)