Last week I predicted a Pats blowout victory over the Steelers, and was told that predicting the sunrise isn’t very interesting. So this week, I’m going to go out on a limb. Way out there.
1) The game is in New England — advantage Jets? New York has *never* beaten Brady at home, and lost each game since ‘01 by an average of 12.67 points per game. In Foxboro, the Jets have lost by an average of just two points per game in the Brady era.
2) While the Pats are riding a 10-game winning streak at home, the Jets are the last team to win in Foxboro. New York won 17-14 in week ten last season. In the playoff game in January, the Jets were down just 17-13 with under 20 minutes to go before imploding. In a week 16 game that ended up deciding the division, the Jets crushed the Patriots in Foxboro in 2002, knocking New England out of the playoffs. That was the only time in a four year period where the Patriots didn’t win the Super Bowl. This Jets team has shown an ability to fare better in New England than nearly all other suitors.
3) The Jets, despite an ugly 3-10 record, are a lot more talented than you’d think. This team actually is on par with the playoff team of just a year ago, and with Thomas Jones, has a better rushing attack. Since the bye week, the Jets defense has improved, as we saw in an upset win over Pittsburgh, a thrashing of Miami, and a near upset over the high powered Browns.
4) Eric Mangini knows Belichick, and won’t leave anything behind in this matchup. This is the Jets’ Super Bowl, and expect New York to play it as if the team has nothing to lose. That will make them a more dangerous team, and I suspect we’ll see a good number of fourth down attempts, a possible fake punt, and some trickery courtesy of Brad Smith. Leon Washington and Smith may prove to be too elusive for the Patriots aging linebackers.
5) The Jets played a lot more competitively in the season opener than you might imagine: the Pats scored only fourteen points in the first half, and got their fourth offensive touchdown of the game with two minutes to go. Against ordinary teams, that’s embarrassing; against New England, that borders on impressive. If the Jets can keep the Patriots under 30, New York will have a chance to win, because…
6) Believe it or not, the Jets’ passing attack has fared well the past two seasons, since Mangini left New England. In four games, Chad Pennington completed 63% of his passes, at an average of 7.2 yards per attempt, while throwing 6 TDs and 3 INTs. Kellen Clemens, Jerricho Cotchery and Laveranues Coles — if both receivers play — should see similar success in New England on Sunday. And to complement that passing attack? New England has allowed over 165 yards on the ground in each of the past two games, since putting linebacker Rosevelt Colvin on injured reserve.
7) Thirty-mile per hour winds are expected in Foxboro on Sunday afternoon, which will do more to shut down Brady-to-Moss than any human being ever could. That means one streak should continue: Tom Brady has never had a 300-yard passing game against the Jets. Don’t ignore the elements as a possible neutralizer, as New York is one of the few teams in the league that won’t be out of their element on a cold New England day.
Will the Jets beat New England? Who knows. But they should be in the game late in the third quarter, and be a bit more competitive than most suspect. Watch out for rookie CB Darelle Revis, who just might turn in the defining play of the week.
This entry was posted on Thursday, December 13th, 2007 at 11:35 am and is filed under General. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.