‘I hate the Jets’- Tom Brady, QB, New England Patriots. The oft-soft spoken Brady uttered those words when the media asked if he had watched the Jets during HBO’s series, ‘Hard Knocks’. Some people blew Brady’s comments out of the water. Others thought that Brady was just speaking his mind. Me on the other hand, believed that this was a true display of hatred for the Jets. Brady has never been one to publicly display his dislike for another team. It’s obvious that Brady dislikes the Indianapolis Colts, but he and Peyton Manning seem to have the unwritten rule of quiet respect for one another. This isn’t the case with the boisterous New York Jets. The Jets defeated the Pats at the Meadowlands last year, 16-9, so are we in for a repeat performance?
1. Who will Darrelle Revis cover?
I don’t think the answer is as obvious as everyone thinks. Revis and Randy Moss have both been chirping at each other this week. Revis has called Moss a ‘slouch’. Moss fired back by saying Revis will have to deal with ‘this slouch for 60 minutes on Sunday’. In two games against Revis last season, Moss posted nine catches for 58 yards and one touchdown. Revis claims that Moss’s touchdown was a fluke. But I don’t expect Revis to stick Moss all game.
Slot receiver, Wes Welker torched the Bengals last week, posting eight catches for 64 yards and two scores. Putting either Antonio Cromartie or Kyle Wilson on Welker will leave the Jets in a dangerous situation. Welker only played in one game against the Jets last season, but he posted 15 catches for 192 yards. Anquan Boldin hung over 100 yards on Wilson/Cromartie last week. Welker should easily top the century mark if Revis stays on Moss.
2. Jets third down defense
It seemed like whenever the Ravens had a third down, the Jets brought the heat. A lot of that pressure came from defensive tackle, Kris Jenkins, who once again tore his ACL and is lost for the season. The Jets pressure got to quarterback Joe Flacco early in the game, but he adjusted to the pressure. The Ravens converted 11 of their 19 third down chances, constantly taking advantage of hot receivers. If Joe Flacco can easily beat the Jets defense on third down, what could Tom Brady do?
Subsequently, I could see Rex Ryan sticking Revis in the slot against Welker on third downs. Revis has been limited in practice all week with a tight hamstring. If Ryan shys away from a Revis/Welker match-up on third down, that will tell all of us that Revis isn’t feeling like Revis. Maybe Revis just isn’t in shape yet and that could prove costly on Sunday afternoon.
Also, the Jets had 125 yards worth of penalties last week. Ryan prides himself on crisp defensive play and that can’t happen with his corners illegally draped all over the oppositions receivers.
3. The entire Jet offense
Look up the word pathetic and you’ll see a picture of the Jets’ offense in there. Mark Sanchez only completed 48% of his passes last week. Also, Sanchez was extremely quick to check down, completing half of his passes to runningbacks. Sanchez has a big, physical receiver in Braylon Edwards and a normally sure-handed speed guy in Jericho Cotchery. Sanchez needs to utilize these receivers to open up the ground game.
Sanchez’s progression won’t happen unless the offensive line improves. Left guard Matt Slauson looked absolutely dredful against Haloti Ngata and the rest of the Ravens’ inside pressure. Ngata beat Slauson on a key third-down late in the fourth quarter, styming the Jets last attempt at a comeback. The hole left by Alan Faneca at left guard really stuck out in the Week 1 tilt.
Key Match-Up: Jets Rushing Attack vs. Patriot Front Seven
Runningbacks LaDainian Tomlinson and Shonn Greene ran for 90 yards on 16 carries last week, but Greene had a costly first half fumble and didn’t return. At times, Greene looked extremely timid running the ball.
Cedric Benson and Bernard Scott only ran for 78 yards against the Pats, but after finding themselves down 24-3 at halftime, the Bengals abandoned the run game and let Carson Palmer throw for 345 yards. The Patriots don’t have Tedy Bruschi, Mike Vrabel, Richard Seymour anymore and lost Ty Warren for the season, so new faces have emerged in the front seven. Watch out for Jerrod Mayo, Brandon Spikes, and Tully Banta-Cain.
Key Players: Tom Brady (NE), Mark Sanchez, Shonn Greene, and Darrelle Revis
In two games last year, Brady threw for an average of 250 yards with one touchdown and one INT. The Jets sacked Brady only two times, but the Patriots be without their left side of the offensive line. Nick Kaczur is out with a bad back and Pro Bowl guard, Logan Mankins is holding out.
Mentioned above, Mark Sanchez and Shonn Greene need to play much better this week. Sanchez needs to give his receivers an opportunity to make plays down the field. Subsequently, the running game will see more running lanes. Greene looked terrible against the Ravens, but he should see more room to roam against the Pats. Greene needs to run with authority and a purpose.
Finally, how effective will Darrelle Revis be? Hamstring injuries are very tricky and one awkward move could cause Revis to sit out for a few weeks. Who will he cover?
I found this line to be extremely interesting. Before Monday night’s game against Baltimore, the Jets were a one-point favorite. The line has swung to New England -2.5 points.
New England: Wes Welker-clone, Julian Edelman is questionable with a foot injury. Edelman torched the Jets for 98 yards in the team’s Week 2 meeting last year. Edelman did not play last week against the Bengals.
For probably the fifth straight season, Tom Brady is listed on the injury report with a right shoulder injury. Obviously, Brady will play in this game. Fred Taylor (toe) is listed as probable will start the game.
Tackle Nick Kaczur (back surgery) and corner Terrence Wheatley (foot) will miss this game.
Kris Jenkins tore his ACL last week and has been lost for the season. Linebacker, Calvin Pace will also miss this one with a foot injury.
Safety, Brodney Poole missed the game against the Ravens with a sprained ankle and is listed as questionable. When asked about Poole Ryan said, “Brodney Pool is still questionable for the game, but I feel good about him”. Whatever that means.
Revis is also on the injury report, but #24 will be out there, looking to put someone on an island.
New England 17
New York 13
This game will be close from start to finish, but the Jets’ sluggish offense will once again be the issue. Major improvements are needed from the offensive line if this team wants to be a force in the AFC. For most of the game, Brady will shy away from Revis and pick the receiver covered by Cromartie/Wilson. Brady will find that receiver and while also utilizing the young TE duo of Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski.
Finally, this is the week that Randy Moss makes his plea to the Patriots front office. Moss is in the final year of his contract. After seeing Tom Brady receive a new deal, Moss obviously wasn’t too happy that he hasn’t been extended. Moss wants to stay in New England. Moss wants to retire as a Patriot. It’s time for him to break free of Revis Island and have a monster game to prove he’s worthy. Maybe the Pats are witholding the money to motivate him? Who knows, but I’m expecting a big-time game from Moss this week.
Fearless Projection: 6 catches, 75 yards, 2 TDs (against Revis)
The Patriots used a special teams touchdown from Brandon Tate to firmly pull away from the Bengals last week. Keep an eye on him.
I’ll go on the record right now and say that the Jets will start the season 0-3. After losing to the Pats this week, the Jets will go down to Miami for a Week 3 Monday night tilt during prime time.
You can’t talk your way through the season, Jets faithful.