It’s Jets week folks…actually, the week is basically over, since the game is tomorrow. If you haven’t heard. And you possibly may not have heard. This past week has been one of the quietest lead-ins to a Pats/Jets game for as far back as I can remember. Of course, most of that probably has to do with that loudmouth Rex Ryan being no longer here. But still…
Not much chatter this week, you can almost hear a pin drop. Sure, a couple of Jets have said a couple of minor things that the local media has tried to escalate the meaning of a bit. But nothing like the past. Kind of depressing I say. I’m used to a lot more hype for the game. Guess we will have the Bills’ games for that though.
Coming right out and saying Patriots 31, Jets 16. Full disclosure, I picked the Jets plus 9.5 in a weekly picks pool I am in. But that is more about superstition than anything else. Seems like when I take the Pats, they never cover…and occasionally do not win. So I basically just pick their opponent every week if there is any doubt whatsoever. Against Jacksonville a few weeks back? Nope, I took the Pats. But divisional games I have to say I mostly pick the opponent, plus the points (isn’t it ALWAYS the opponent getting “plus the points” with the divisional foes?). Makes me feel like I am being somewhat partial anyway.
In any event, why this score? I mean, the Jets are 4-1, shouldn’t I really give them more of a chance? Especially since they have given up only 75 points in 5 games? Well, have you seen what the 4-1 consists of? Wins against the Browns, Colts, Dolphins and Redskins and a loss against the Eagles. That’s quite a murderer’s row, right? Other than the Colts in their house, I pay no mind to the rest of the scores. And that’s also stretching it, since the Colts haven’t been as good as most people thought they would be, especially when they came out of the gate. So please, enough about the Jets bandwagon…settle down with that. They do have some overall talent on both sides of the ball. And maybe Todd Bowles is a good coach in the end. But 5 games against mediocre competition and some are calling the J-E-T-S the main competitor to the Patriots in the AFC? A win for the NY team Sunday would go a long way towards that maybe. But until then…relax.
The main reason I think the score is even this close is because of where the Patriots have some injury concerns. And no, I am not talking about Matthew Slater. An aside, I love what Slater brings to the table. He is all over the field on every special teams unit. As William Belichick will tell you, special teams are indeed a big part of the game. But if Slater goes down, can’t they get some other young dude that runs with abandon down the field on every special teams play? It’s not like he even returns kicks or punts. As great as he is at what he does, he should be replaceable in that capacity. But I digress…
The offensive line is what I am talking about of course, as far as the injury bug goes. Nate Solder is of course gone for the year. His immediate replacement, Marcus Cannon, has also been ruled out. Cannon is up and down for sure, but he is at the very least serviceable. So they are left at the tackle spot with Sebastian Vollmer, a good lineman, but playing on the left side instead of his usual right. And Cameron Fleming, a 4th round pick in 2014, who was waived after only a year with the team earlier in the year (fairly soon for Bill to give up on a 4th rounder, especially a big body on either side of the line.). Any team could have claimed him for cheap money and they didn’t. So he ended up back on the practice squad, then back on the active roster and now in the actual starting lineup. Who is the third guy now? No one on the current roster. Chris Barker and Blaine Clausell (who?) are on the practice squad. TE Michael Williams moving back to tackle for the short-term? Maybe one of those dudes, but it’s obviously not ideal.
Throw in the fact that Shaq Mason is questionable at one guard spot too. Maybe Ryan Wendell is ready to play in place of him finally, recovered from whatever illness he had. But that also leaves Joe Kline and Tre’ Jackson at the other guard position, and although they seemingly have been decent, I’m not excited about them against the Jets’ front four. Ditto for David Andrews. He’s acquitted himself well this year, but is still a rookie and faces a major test on Sunday. Kind of a scary proposition when all things are considered. The Patriots have no doubt game planned around all this. But then there is the secondary to be concerned about, what with Darrelle Revis leading the charge back there too.
So why 31 points? I think the Pats offense is too good to lock down every drive. I think they will use quick passes to combat the OL issues and try to keep the secondary at bay somehow. I think Ryan Fitzpatrick will help by giving up a fumble or an interception or two which will lead one or two scores. Either directly by a defensive score, or indirectly by giving the Pats a short field. I feel pretty confident in this.
16 for the Jets? I believe the Pats will game plan around Brandon Marshall and not let him be the one who beats them. As is said over and over, Belichick seems to be able to normally shut down the oppositions best player. Some may say that is Chris Ivory. I think Ivory has the potential to run wild in this game. But he will get shorter chunks of yards than Marshall would get if they focused on Ivory and not Marshall. Ivory will get yards, but as usual, the Pats’ “bend, but don’t break” defense will shut him down inside the red zone and thus force the Jets to kick field goals. Jeremy Kerley always seems to play big against the Patriots. And he may well do so again, but his will be of the shorter variety as well. But will he play a big role? He hasn’t played much this year. Some dude I’ve never heard of was actually their 3rd receiver but was suspended earlier this week. So maybe Kerley does take his spot. Eric Decker? Good player, but not afraid.
Should be a fairly decent game for the country to see I would say. As long as the Pats get a win and Tom Brady doesn’t get killed, that’s about all we can ask for I guess. But I wouldn’t mind some sort of fireworks coming out of this game to juice up the second meeting later in the year…
Posted on October 24, 2015, in Uncategorized and tagged AFC, Bill Belichick, Brandon Marshall, Chris Ivory, Darrelle Revis, Eric Decker, New England Patriots, New York Jets, NFL, Rex Ryan, Sebastian Vollmer, Todd Bowles, Tom Brady. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.