What the Patriots Need to Do
By now, the entire football world should be briefed on the situation in New England. So what do they need to do?
They need to stay calm and play Patriots football. If I recall correctly, before last season the Pats didn't employ a huge vertical passing game. They didn't try to pile on points.
They just won football games.
Matt Cassel needs to remember that on each and every down. He needs to remain composed in the pocket, and avoid throwing ill-advised passes. He needs to just drive the bus for now.
The Jets' defense is much better against the run this year than it was last year, but New England has depth at the position. If they can run the ball enough to wear down New York's front seven, they might be able to control the clock in the second half.
While the Favre-led Jets offense is obviously more potent and versatile than the Pennington-led offense was, let's not forget that more passes equals more chances for turnovers.
Everyone knows that Brett Favre has a tendency to get sloppy, so the Patriots need to put pressure on him. They need to force him to make quick decisions, because a four-man rush isn't going to get the job done against that line. He'll have all day to throw if they don't bring lots of blitz coverage.
What the Jets Need to Do
New York comes into this game knowing that they have an advantage offensively. However, they'll need to make sure that they utilize their advantage appropriately.
If the Jets come out throwing, they might find themselves making some early mistakes and having to come from behind.
If they want to win this game, they will have to use their strong offensive line to pound the football and wear out New England's defense. Thomas Jones ran very well against Miami last week, and Leon Washington is a guy who can take any play and make six points out of it.
Once they've established the run, then they'll have the ability to stretch the field and get some shots downfield to Jerricho Cotchery and Laveranues Coles. If they can effectively execute this game-plan, the Patriots don't really stand a chance.
On defense, I think that a conservative approach which limits the amount of yards New England can get on screens and dump-offs will be enough to come out with a victory.
It wouldn't appear as though they need to worry about deep bombs to Randy Moss, since I doubt Belichick is ready to put that kind of faith in the arm of Matt Cassel, who hasn't started a football game since high school.
Start: Thomas Jones, Wes Welker, and Jerricho Cotchery
Sit: Laurence Maroney
I picked New England to win in my pick 'em league, mainly because as a Patriots fan, I have high hopes. But I have to be realistic in my game preview:
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