(CBSNewYork)- Five weeks into the 2020 NFL season it would seem that we have a pretty clear idea who the worst team in football is. There are several teams vying for that spot with 0-5 records but SportsLine senior analyst Larry Hartstein points out a particular AFC East squad that has been underperforming in several ways.
“The first thing that jumps out at you is just how historically bad the Jets have been thus far. Not only 0-5 straight up, but 0-5 against the spread and failing to cover by 11 points per game. So just the worst team in the league by a lot of metrics,” said Hartstein in an interview with CBS Local’s Katie Johnston.
The Jets have struggled so much that the Dolphins, led by Ryan Fitzpatrick, enter this Sunday’s matchup as 10 point favorites. It’s been a long time since the Dolphins were more than nine point favorites, by best count, it dates back to September 25, 2016 when they were 9.5 point favorites against the Cleveland Browns.
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While the Jets and Dolphins play an intra-division battle, we’ll also see the New England Patriots return to the field for the first time in two weeks. The team had several positive COVID-19 tests since the last time they took the field, but the situation appears to have now cleared up. They’ll face the Denver Broncos, who enter at 1-3 and that’s bad news for Denver.
“Bill Belichick is 22-6 against the spread in their last 28 against losing teams,” said Hartstein.
We dove deeper into each game with Hartstein, the full breakdown is below.
All times listed are Eastern.
Denver Broncos @ New England Patriots, Sunday, October 18, 1:00 p.m. (CBS)
The biggest question entering this game is who will be playing quarterback for each side. Cam Newton has been out since contracting COVID-19 and Drew Lock has missed the last several weeks due to a shoulder injury. But, based on the way this week has played out, it appears we’ll see both.
“It definitely looks like we will see both of them. Cam Newton is activated, and Drew Lock practicing in full with the shoulder injury. So that’s a great sign for him,” said Hartstein.
With those two back, there is still some question about how well they will shake off the rust from missing the past few weeks. Hartstein is looking for the teams to do it in different ways.
“I think with Cam, they’re going to ease him back a little bit. They’re going to rely on the run game. They average 5.1 yards per carry. They rank second in the league in rushing,” said Hartstein. “And then, for Drew Lock, the key thing to watch for me is not only how is he, but how is Noah Fant. That’s this number-one target that he loves to throw to. The big tight end basically getting five catches per game.”
However, Fant has been limited in practice this week so Hartstein says if you’re thinking of going with the Broncos, “make sure that he’s going to be available.”
New York Jets @ Miami Dolphins, Sunday, October 18, 4:05 p.m. (CBS)
We touched on the Jets rough start to the year at the top of the post and it seemingly got worse this week when the team released running back Le’Veon Bell. But, Hartstein doesn’t believe the move will be that big of a deal.
“I think getting rid of Le’Veon Bell doesn’t hurt them. He was averaging less than four yards per carry, a distraction, not being especially efficient. I don’t think that makes them any worse,” said Hartstein.
The Jets will now turn to Frank Gore and Lamichal Perine in the backfield in Bell’s absence, but starting quarterback Sam Darnold is still out. Joe Flacco will start in his place against a Dolphins team riding high off a 43-17 win over the San Francisco 49ers in Week 5. While Miami has been enjoying the Fitzmagic thus far, Hartstein cautions anyone looking at taking the points.
“If you look at the last 7 times the Miami Dolphins have laid nine or more points, they haven’t covered any of them,” said Hartstein.
Kansas City Chiefs @ Buffalo Bills, Monday, October 19, 5:00 p.m. (FOX)
Finally, the AFC East’s week wraps up with another difficult matchup for the Buffalo Bills. Still smarting from a 42-17 loss to the Titans on Tuesday night, the Bills draw a Chiefs squad who are hurting from a loss of their own. Hartstein points to the time to prepare for Chiefs coach Andy Reid as one of the key reasons he’s backing the Chiefs.
“Andy Reid, with even an extra day of rest, a lot of time to prepare, coming off the loss. Look what Ryan Tannehill did to that Bills defense. And now think about what is Patrick Mahomes going to do,” said Hartstein.
The Chiefs enter the Monday night matchup as 4.5 point favorites.
Which teams should you back in Week 6? And which Super Bowl contender goes down hard? Visit SportsLine now to see who wins and covers every single NFL game this week, plus get the exact final score, all from the acclaimed model that has returned over $7,500 on its top-rated picks.