Week 2 in the NFL begins with a classic AFC East skirmish between the New York Jets and New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium on Thursday night.
Both teams won their openers.
New York's victory was a surprise to most outside the organization. Rookie Geno Smith didn't look good in the preseason and missed valuable playing time while dealing with a minor injury, but he performed admirably against the improved secondary of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
And, even though the Jets won because Lavonte David didn't know when to ease up off the gas pedal, hitting Smith out of bounds with seconds left on the clock, a win is a win.
For the Patriots, the only surprise was the close nature of their victory. Many experts expected the Bills to get crushed by New England, but Buffalo almost shocked this team.
Tom Brady is going to have to work some magic, because his top receiving threats, Danny Amendola and Rob Gronkowski, are both listed as doubtful on the injury report. After losing running back Shane Vereen until at least Week 11, the Patriots are thin at all the skill positions on offense.
Here's a look at when and where you can catch the action.
When: Thursday, Sept. 12, at 8:30 p.m. ET
Where: Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, Mass.
Watch: NFL Network
Live Stream: NFL Sunday Ticket
Betting Lines (via Covers)
- Over/Under: 43.5 pts.
- Spread: New England (-11.5)
Jets Injury Report (via Patriots.com)
|Quinton Coples||DL||Ankle (DNP)|
|Jeremy Kerley||WR||Concussion (DNP)|
|Mark Sanchez||QB||Right Shoulder (DNP)|
|Jeff Cumberland||TE||Chin (LP)|
|Kennrick Ellis||DL||Back (LP)|
|Santonio Holmes||WR||Foot (LP)|
|Nick Mangold||OL||Elbow (LP)|
|Sheldon Richardson||DL||Shoulder (LP)|
|Kellen Winslow||TE||Knee (DNP)|
|Nick Bellore||LB||Oblique (FP)|
|Willie Colon||OL||Knee (FP)|
|Antonio Cromartie||DB||Hip (FP)|
|Clyde Gates||WR||Knee (FP)|
|Damon Harrison||LB||Knee (FP)|
|Stephen Hill||WR||Knee (FP)|
|Ben Ijalana||OL||Knee (FP)|
|Chris Ivory||RB||Thumb (FP)|
|Garrett McIntyre||LB||Ribs (FP)|
|Dee Milliner||DB||Hip (FP)|
|Bilal Powell||RB||Shoulder (FP)|
|Geno Smith||QB||Ankle (FP)|
Patriots Injury Report (via Patriots.com)
|Shane Vereen||RB||Wrist (DNP)|
|Danny Amendola||WR||Groin (LP)|
|Rob Gronkowski||TE||Back/Forearm (LP)|
|Brandon Bolden||RB||Knee (LP)|
|Aaron Dobson||WR||Hamstring (LP)|
|Nate Ebner||DB||Ankle (LP)|
|Duron Harmon||DB||Hamstring (LP)|
|Matthew Slater||WR||Knee (LP)|
|Zach Sudfeld||TE||Hamstring (LP)|
|Will Svitek||OL||Knee (LP)|
|Leon Washington||RB||Thigh (LP)|
|Marquice Cole||CB||Hamstring (FP)|
|Alfonzo Dennard||CB||Ankle (FP)|
|Stevan Ridley||RB||Shoulder (FP)|
Can Geno Smith Beat Tom Brady?
The Jets stymied Josh Freeman last week, and he finished the game having completed less than half his passes for 210 yards with one touchdown and one interception.
Despite dealing with a rash of injuries and a bunch of unheralded youngsters, Brady won't struggle like Freeman did—especially playing in front of his home crowd.
In order for the Jets to win at Gillette Stadium, Smith must be able to match Brady on Thursday night, but it won't be easy. New England's defense has forced at least one turnover in 28 straight games, as noted by Michael Whitmer of the Boston Globe:
That's 28 straight games with a forced turnover by the Patriots, 2 shy of the franchise record. Timely.— Michael Whitmer (@GlobeWhitmer) January 13, 2013
New England's front seven can get after the quarterback, which oftentimes leads to turnovers. It's hard to imagine the Patriots failing to take this streak to 29 games this week.
Even though New England's offense is depleted, the home team should win easily.
The Patriots shut down C.J. Spiller last week, and the Jets struggled to rush the ball against the Buccaneers. Without a strong running game to balance out New York's offense, Smith will be put in a difficult situation against a turnover-happy defense.
Which team will win?
Stevan Ridley will bounce back with a big game after getting benched for fumbling in Week 1, and the Patriots will run up the score against their divisional rivals.
Patriots win 31-17
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