NFL Picks: 10 Bold Predictions for Jets-Patriots Showdown
Here are some bold predictions for this week's division death match between the New York Jets and New England Patriots. And after a 12-4 record in Week 1, I am feeling like Miss Cleo.
Just like Red Sox and Yankees (used to be), this rivalry is growing. I say growing because just like the Yankees used to say, you can't have a rivalry between a hammer and a nail.
But now the Jets are actually pretty good, so things are heating up.
Here's what I see happening, and I welcome thoughts to the contrary.
10. The Jets Will Open Up the Play Book Early
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With Fireman Ed losing his mind and the crowd going crazy early, look for Sexy Rexy to demand that offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer dig deep in the playbook, and come with some reverses, flea flickers, something to get the crowd on their side and the Pats on their heels.
Depending on if this works or not, might have a big effect on the game.
9. The Patriots Will Throw the Ball...Early and Often
The Ravens, who have better running backs than the Patriots, averaged less than 1.5 yards per rushing attempt in the first game of the year.
Now that defensive lineman Kris Jenkins is gone, the Pats will keep them honest, but look for Tom Brady to have a 50-attempt day, and lots of screen passes to Randy Moss, Wes Welker, Brandon Tate, and to the two young tight ends.
8. The Jets Will Run the Ball Until It Hurts
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They had the best rushing offense in the league last year and this week they aren't facing Crazy Ray Lewis. They face a young and inexperienced Patriots defense, without Richard Seymour or Ty Warren.
LaDainian Tomlinson ran hard all preseason, and continued last week against the Ravens. If you had to give an offensive MVP last week, it would be him.
Either the run game will work, or the Jets will die trying.
7. The Patriots Will Keep an Extra Man In To Protect Brady
We saw Rex Ryan continually and mercilessly leave his rookie cornerback Kyle Wilson on an island, no pun intended, during the game with the Ravens.
Why would he do this even though the kid was getting penalties called on him, and getting beat like a drum by Anquan Boldin?
Because Rex knows only one way to play, and that is to go after the quarterback. He believes that he has to blitz and put pressure on the quarterback to win.
And to do that you have to leave your defensive backs one on one. The Patriots will keep a tight end or running back in to pick up the blitz.
Since the Giants in the Super Bowl a few years back, everyone believes the only way to beat Tom Brady and the Pats is to knock him down.
6. The Jets Will Put Revis on Welker
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It might not happen for the whole game, but if Wes Welker starts to kill the Jets, look for Ryan to switch Darrelle Revis on to him.
Why? Because in the past Antonio Cromartie has had success stopping Moss. The last time the two met in 2008, Moss caught three passes for 26 yards and a fumble.
So if Revis moves over to Welker, and Moss is contained by Cromartie, the Pats could be in trouble.
5. The Pats Are Going To Go To Brandon Tate
The Pats young receiver out of North Carolina caught his first four receptions in a Patriots uniform last week. With Julian Edelman limited due to injury, look for Tom Brady to try and find Tate as a third option.
Especially if the two Jets corners are blanketing Moss and Welker.
Last year when teams were bracketing Moss and Welker, it was another unknown Tar Heel receiver, Sam Aiken who had a two-game stretch of eight catches for 170 yards and a touchdown.
Brady will throw to whomever is open.
4. Shonn Greene Will Show Up
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Unfortunately for the Jets, their starting running back last week took the game off. When your starting back gives you five carries for 18 yards and two fumbles, (one lost). And catches one pass for nine yards and a couple of drops, you might want him to return his game check.
Needless to say he won't play that bad again. He can't. Not if the Jets plan on winning.
3. Tight Ends Will Be Key To Whichever Team Wins
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Dustin Keller was on all the highlight films after the last game, and I'm sure he stayed away from Sports Center because of that.
First there was the criminal hit Ray Lewis put on him. Then he stepped out of bounds one yard short of getting the first down on the Jets final drive of the game.
Mark Sanchez loves to go to Keller so if he plays small, so will the Jets passing game.
Meanwhile the Pats have two of the most hyped rookie tight ends in the league in Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez.
Hernandez caught a 45-yard pass, and Gronkowski scored. With Julian Edelman hurt and Brandon Tate being inexperienced, the Pats might go more to these youngsters.
Alge Crumpler has caught a few passes in his day as well.
2. Randy Moss Will Catch a Touchdown on Ren Or Stimpy
He is one of the best receivers to ever play the game. I know Revis called him a slouch and it's also true that Revis said he and Cromartie are the "Jordan and Pippen" of the NFL.
(Side note: Terrell Owens said they remind him more of Ren and Stimpy.)
Look for Moss to catch a score, and give the crowd a salute.
1. Sanchez Will Have a Chance to Win the Game
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Late in the game, with the Patriots in the lead or tied, Sanchez will have the opportunity to win the game.
He will have a chance to lead the Jets to the winning drive at home against their fiercest rival.
He'll finally get a chance to get some of these critics off of his back, and prove that the Jets are the team to beat in the AFC East.
After seeing what I saw last week and all of preseason, I think he will fail.