I expected the Jets to control the game last week, and the fact that they did was a great sign for the rest of the year and their future. Geno Smith still made some horrible throws, but at the same time looked like not only an NFL quarterback, but a pretty good one, for most of the game. It was great to see him shake off whatever had been plaguing him the last few weeks and pull out a performance like that. He showcased all of his skills: his deep throw ability, his accuracy, and his mobility. That doesn't necessarily mean that he won't fall into another slump this week, but rather that he has the bounce back ability that an NFL quarterback requires. He regained his confidence, and it showed.
Geno leads his Jets into a very tough matchup in Carolina this week, against the second best run defense in the league, and a team that forces a lot of turnovers. That doesn't bode well for the Jets, because that means that Geno Smith will have to play great to have a chance in this one.
As for the Panthers side of the ball, the Jets have the best run defense in the league and it's not very close. Credit Rex Ryan for putting together such a dominant defensive line to give his team a major strength. They do at least one thing at an elite level, which is more than can be said about most teams. Luckily, that strength will be in full force today because the Panthers are better when they are running the ball. Cam Newton is great at both passing and running, but outside of Greg Olsen and Steve Smith, who has been pretty inconsistent this year, he doesn't have much by way of weapons. Certainly, he has big play ability, and as I've said, the Jets are vulnerable in that area, but there's no guarantee.
Overall, the Panthers are one of the best teams in the NFL. But, as for today, the Jets have the ability to stop the run better than anyone else, creating a bad matchup for the Panthers. This will be closer than you think, but still a Carolina victory.
Jets (+10.5) over PANTHERS.
Panthers 24, Jets 17