It’s safe to say that no team has exceeded expectations through two weeks quite like the Jets. In week 1, New York was a 3.5-point home favorite against the Browns, but won by 21 points (a 17.5-point cover). In week 2, the Jets won 20-7 in Indianapolis, despite being 7-point underdogs (a 20-point cover). The Jets are the only team to cover by 17+ points in each of the first two weeks; in fact, Arizona (+10 against New Orleans, +23 against Chicago) is the only other team to even cover by at least five points in both games so far.
The last team to pull off this feat? The 2007 Patriots. Yes, another day, another Tom Brady/Ryan Fitzpatrick comparison. From 1978 to 2014, there were 19 teams that covered by at least 17 points in each of their first two games. How did those teams do the prior year, and during the rest of that season?
I’ve included the relevant data for each team in the table below. Here’s how to read the line of the ’06 Chargers. San Diego covered by 24 points in week 1, and 21 points in week 2. The Chargers won 9 games in 2005, but the hot start in ’06 was a sign of things to come, as San Diego won 14 games. That was an improvement of 5 wins, although the Chargers season ended in the Division round of the playoffs.
|Year||Tm||Wk 1||Wk 2||Yr N-1 Wins||Yr N Wins||Diff||Playoff|
|2007||NWE||17.5||20.5||12||16||4||Lost in SB|
|2006||CHI||22.5||20||11||13||2||Lost in SB|
|2006||SDG||24||21||9||14||5||Lost in Div|
|1997||NWE||27.5||20.5||11||10||-1||Lost in Div|
|1992||PIT||17.5||19.5||7||11||4||Lost in Div|
|1991||HOU||27.5||25.5||9||11||2||Lost in Div|
|1981||BUF||27||30||11||10||-1||Lost in Div|
|1980||PHI||18||39||11||12||1||Lost in SB|
|1979||SDG||19||17||9||12||3||Lost in Div|
The Jets are 2.5-point favorites at home this week against the struggling Eagles. If the Jets manage to win by 20 points, they would be the first team to cover by 17 points in three straight weeks since the ’99 Rams. Before that, the 1996 Green Bay Packers, 1992 Steelers, and 1980 Raiders are the only other teams to cover by 17+ points in each of their first three games.
I also thought it would be fun to look at Five Thirty Eight’s ELO ratings. The Jets began the season with an ELO rating of 1440; now, they have a rating of 1503. That’s an improvement of +63. That’s larger than any team has improved after two games since 2007, when the Houston Texans jumped from 1430 to 1502, on the backs of a 20-3 win against Kansas City and a 34-21 victory in Carolina. Unfortunately for Jets fans, the Texans finished that season 8-8. For those curious, the Jets are the 14th team since 1978 to jump by 63 or more points in ELO after two weeks.