The Dallas Cowboys host the New York Jets in a 4:25pm ET game this Sunday (9/17/23) in week 2 of the NFL season. With the Jets’ Aaron Rodgers out for the season, betting odds have the Cowboys as heavy favorites at -9.5 while the over/under is set at 38.5 points. Continue below for Jets vs. Cowboys analysis, predictions and best bets to find out why the best bet recommendation is the under on 38.5 points.
Jets vs. Cowboys Prediction & Best Bet
Let’s get one thing perfectly clear: do not overreact to the Cowboys’ 40-0 drubbing of the Giants on Sunday Night Football in week 1.
That was absolutely a dominant and impressive performance by Dallas, but that is not something that is going to happen every week. It probably won’t happen again all season, even against a Jets team with Zach Wilson under center.
On the other hand, it isn’t really possible to overreact to the Aaron Rodgers injury. That was a devastating and depressing development for not only the Jets and their fans but football fans (and Jets futures bettors) everywhere. The impact cannot really be overstated, especially in the short-term.
There may be some room for optimism that Zach Wilson can benefit from Rodgers’ mentorship and improve as the season goes on, if the Jets don’t replace him via trade or an unretirement by another number 12. But for now we expect to see more plays like this from Wilson, especially against this dynamic Cowboys defense.
Brutal interception from Zach Wilson, and then a Jets fan shown flipping the bird on the ESPN MNF broadcast.
“Just a terrible read by Zach Wilson.”- Troy Aikman pic.twitter.com/UIpv36LXhS
— Awful Announcing (@awfulannouncing) September 12, 2023
That brings us to this matchup between Wilson’s Jets and Micah Parsons’ Cowboys. Lost in the aftermath of Rodgers’ injury was another Jet making a triumphant return from his own season-ending injury. Breece Hall looked just as explosive as he did in his rookie season before tearing his ACL, but perhaps is still regaining all his stamina after losing steam on his 83-yard jaunt that likely would have been a touchdown last year before the injury.
Breece Hall is so back.
83 YARDS on this play, 109 yards on 2 carries so far tonight.pic.twitter.com/1hATb5kJDv
— Ari Meirov (@MySportsUpdate) September 12, 2023
Expect the Jets to simplify the game plan for Wilson and rely heavily on Hall and Dalvin Cook in this game. The Cowboys are also likely to rely heavily on Tony Pollard and their rushing attack rather than attacking the Jets’ talent secondary. Both of these vaunted defenses were the top 2 graded pass defenses in week 1 according to Pro Football Focus, while they both graded out in the middle of the pack against the run. They also got two of PFF’s three highest run-blocking grades in week 1.
Between the two elite defenses and the strong rushing attacks, we expect the ground games to feature heavily in this game, which will also slow down the pace and limit the number of possessions. That is the main reason our best bet recommendation in this game is to take the under on 38.5 points at -110.
It’s certainly tempting to take the Cowboys -9.5 with no Aaron Rodgers, but again, we’re not overreacting to their week 1 performance. Barring multiple turnovers by the Jets – which is certainly possible, but less likely if they rely more on the rushing attack as expected – the Cowboys will struggle to score enough points to cover -9.5. We would lean towards the Jets against the spread, but we would rather stay away from betting the spread in this game.
Jets vs. Cowboys Prediction: Cowboys win 21-16
Jets vs. Cowboys Best Bet: Under 38.5 points (-110)
Jets vs. Cowboys Betting Odds
Early lines had this game at Cowboys -3 before the Rodgers injury, so oddsmakers are indicating that Rodgers is worth almost a full touchdown on the spread, though the lack of a solid backup quarterback also affects that. Any bettors looking to take the points should monitor the lines to see if the spread reaches the key number of 10.
The total also plummeted in this game after the Rodgers injury. It was as high as 46.5 at several sportsbooks before dropping as low as 38.
The implied outcome of the current odds is the Cowboys winning 24-14.5.
Jets vs. Cowboys Key Injuries
By now readers probably know that Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers suffered a season-ending Achilles injury on just the 4th snap of his first game with his new franchise. Not to oversimplify it, but that is the only injury in this game that really needs to be mentioned, as the significance of any others pales in comparison.
From a betting perspective, it’s also worth mentioning that the left side of the Cowboys’ offensive line – Tyron Smith and Tyler Smith – are both questionable for this game, with Tyler being more at risk to miss the game. The status of starting wide receiver Brandin Cooks is also worth monitoring.
For the Jets, both starting offensive tackles – Duane Brown and Mekhi Becton – along with running back Breece Hall are questionable. All three were able to log a limited practice on Wednesday, which is a good sign that they’ll be able to suit up, but it’s worth monitoring.
Jets vs. Cowboys Key Matchups
Check out the key matchups and mismatches for Jets vs. Cowboys below.
Jets’ offensive line vs. Cowboys’ defensive front
If the Jets have any chance to pull off an upset, let alone covering the spread, it all starts up front with their revamped offensive line. They need their big uglies up front to create space for Hall and Cook in the run game, while helping Wilson avoid turnovers when he drops back.
The Cowboys have a stacked front seven, but they are built more on speed than power. That is one of the reasons why they drafted mammoth nose tackle Mazi Smith in the first round. Smith saw 17 snaps (24.3%) in week 1 and was the Cowboys’ best interior run defender, but he’s still a rookie who’s developing. As long as Duane Brown and Mekhi Becton are healthy, the Jets’ offensive line should be able to overpower the Cowboys in the run game to help them control the ball and dictate the pace.
Pass blocking might be a different story against ferocious edge rushers like Micah Parson and DeMarcus Lawrence. The Cowboys will disrupt everything the Jets are trying to do offensively if they can get consistent pressure on Wilson, which could lead to turnovers as well. If the Cowboys cover the spread, the pass rush will be the biggest reason why.