The Patriots will look to continue their dominance over the New York Jets in their home opener in Foxborough Thursday night.
Unlike years past though, one could argue that there are almost as many questions surrounding the Patriots as the Jets going into this one. After all, Tom Brady will most likely be missing his top 2 targets from week 1 in Shane Vereen and Danny Amendola, while Gronkowski is still on the mend. This is on the heels of a victory over the Bills in which Brady looked very unconnected with his WR’s and TE’s for almost the entire game.
On the other side of the field, for the second week in a row, a rookie QB will look put up points against a Bill Belichick led defense. Now, usually that would sound like a definite advantage to the Patriots, which I think it still is, but if you watched week 1 there could be slight reason for concern. Last week in Buffalo, Bills rookie E.J Manuel threw for 150 yards, 2 TD, and ran for 19 without turning the ball over once to the top ranked “take away” defense from last year.
As far as turnovers go though, you would think that could be the turning point in the game for both teams. Both teams turned the ball over multiple times in week 1 and ended up having to win the game at the end. It will be crucial for the Jets that they take care of the football and don’t let Brady and company seize the momentum, because that when they tend to step on your throat better than any other team.
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Lastly, we all know that when it comes to a rivalry, all bets are off. These two coaches and teams know each other very well, neither team looks to be very smooth on offense as of yet, and both defenses have given the other team’s fits over the past few years.
Prediction: What does all this mean? That the Jets are going to go on the road with a rookie QB and stun the 11 ½ point favorite Patriots. Let’s not get crazy. After all, it is still the Jets we are talking about. Plus, the Pats have one huge advantage we didn’t talk much about, but everybody already knows: they will be starting Tom Brady while the Jets will be going with Geno Smith.
In the end though, as long as Geno takes care of the football, don’t be surprised if it is closer than the spread indicates and the Patriots have to win ugly with a depleted WR and TE corps.
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