Jets vs. Patriots Round III – 12 Pack of Predictions

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Another week of Jets football means another 12 pack of predictions. TOJ actually fared well with his wild-card picks, going 3-1 on the games against the spread. In terms of my specific picks for Jets/Colts…eh, it was very hit or miss. Let’s see how we fare this week –

1. Shonn Greene and LaDainian Tomlinson will combine for 40 carries as the Jets attempt to control the clock and shorten the game. They will the run ball with some success but neither will crack the 100 yard mark individually.

2. Mark Sanchez will manage the game effectively. The Jets will be conservative with their playcalling, especially in the passing game. Sanchez will have at least one turnover but will also hit one big play down the field off play action when given the chance to go deep.

3. Tom Brady isn’t going to turn the football over.

4. The Jets will get one big play from their special teams, whether it is a return from Antonio Cromartie (who will be deep on kicks), a fake punt, or a surprise onsides kick. This play will help keep the game close into the fourth quarter.

5. The Jets defense will dare New England to run the ball to beat them and won’t stack the box. You will see plenty of Marquice Cole, Kyle Wilson, James Ihedigbo, and Dwight Lowery on the field and less of Bart Scott and Bryan Thomas. BenJarvus Green-Ellis will run for at least 65 yards and Danny Woodhead will add 65 total yards of offense.

6. Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez will both have big games working against the Jets safeties. One of them will score a touchdown and they will combine for at least 90 yards receiving.

7. Santonio Holmes or Braylon Edwards are going to beat Kyle Arrington for a touchdown on a long pass off play action.

8. Dustin Keller is going to have at least 6 receptions and be Mark Sanchez’s favorite target on third downs.

9. The Jets won’t attempt a field goal over 45 yards with Nick Folk, instead opting to go for it or punt on fourth down. Shayne Graham is going to miss at least one field goal attempt.

10. Brad Smith or LaDainian Tomlinson is going to throw a pass for the Jets.

11. There is going to be at least 3 or 4 scrums after the whistle and a personal foul or two in the first half alone.

12. My heart wants to pick the Jets, but in a lame attempt to be somewhat objective I have to admit the logical pick is New England. I do think the Jets will play them tight into the fourth quarter and ultimately lose something like 27-20. However, if the Jets can get the big special teams play I mentioned, and a signature performance from Mark Sanchez, and catch a break on defense with a tipped pass turned into an interception or a timely forced fumble, I wouldn’t be stunned if they stole the game late…I know those are a ton of ifs but this is the NFL and on any given Sunday…anything can happen.

Divisional Round Picks

Jets (+8.5) at New England

Baltimore (+3) at Pittsburgh – Wow, am I excited for this game. You know you could almost take a low-scoring game decided by 3 points or less to the bank. Baltimore is due to knock Pittsburgh out and I think this is the year for them to do it. The Steelers have problems on the offensive line and will miss Aaron Smith on defense. I expect the Ravens to steal a close one in the final seconds of what should be a great game.

Green Bay (+2.5) at Atlanta – I know everybody is on the Green Bay bandwagon, but guess what? So am I. Aaron Rodgers is going to be the best player on the field Saturday night and now that it looks like Green Bay found a running game, they will be balanced enough on offense to steal a tight, high-scoring game.

Seattle (+10) at Chicago – This line just feels too high after watching Seattle last week and knowing Jay Cutler is under center. This is going to be a close one and I wouldn’t be shocked if Seattle won the game, however in the end I do think Chicago will do enough to escape with a victory.

TOJ Power Rankings – Divisional Weekend

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Some final thoughts on Wild-Card Weekend, a ranking of the remaining teams, and initial thoughts on the divisional round match-ups —

  • If you would have told me I would pick 3 of the 4 games right for the past weekend and the one I got wrong would be Seattle/New Orleans, I would have never believed you. Who could have seen that coming? Seattle grabbed the momentum and took advantage of a terrific game by Matt Hassleback. The funny thing now is that Seattle has already won in Chicago this year and has a decent shot at doing it again this weekend. Could you imagine the Seahawks actually hosting the NFC Championship Game as a 9-9 team?
  • It was a great weekend of games, outside of the complete dud laid by the Cheifs at home. Baltimore was the superior team but Kansas City could have put up more of a fight. How do you not target Dwayne Bowe once? It isn’t like the Ravens have Darrelle Revis out there.
  • The Packers are peeking at the right time, which is incredibly impressive considering all the injuries they sustained. It felt like Mike Vick was taking Philly in for a touchdown on that final drive but a few inches underthrown and a great play by Tramon Williams ended it.

Divisional Weekend Power Rankings

1. New England Patriots – They are the unquestioned favorite. Let’s see if the Jets can make Belichick and Brady look human again, like they did way way back in week 2.

2. Atlanta Falcons – Would anybody be surprised if Green Bay went into Atlanta and won this weekend? The Falcons don’t have the same clout as most number one seeds normally do.

3. Pittsburgh Steelers – Let’s see how their offensive line holds up in round III vs. the Ravens.

4. Baltimore Ravens – You can’t love football and not be beyond excited for Ravens/Steelers this weekend.

5. Green Bay Packers – The Packers have the feel of a team who is hot at the right time and with enough talent to win it all.

6. Chicago Bears – If Jay Cutler has his head on straight, the Bears should roll to the NFC Championship Game. However, I have a feeling Seahawks/Bears is going to be a tight one.

7. New York Jets – Nobody will give them a chance this weekend. Let’s see if they can shock the world.

8. Seattle Seahawks – Well they shut us up last weekend.

Initial Thoughts on Divisional Weekend

Ravens at Steelers – Tape the knuckles up and get ready for old-school, smashmouth, defensive football between a couple of teams who couldn’t know each other any better and couldn’t hate each other more. Take the under and look forward to one hell of a football game.

Packers at Falcons – Their regular season game a few weeks back was terrific and this one should be even better. A couple of great young quarterbacks and high powered offenses at work in the prime-time game.

Seahawks at Bears – I can’t help but have an early feeling Seattle is going to build off last week and take this game. This is coming from somebody who spent the entire year bashing the Seahawks as one of the five worst teams in the league. However, they did beat Chicago earlier in the year and I am not fully sold on the Bears yet. Remember the playoffs are about who is hot at the right time.

Jets at Patriots – Do I expect the Jets to win? No. Will I spend the whole week coming up with every possible way for them to win and talking myself into it happening? Yes.

Wild-Card Weekend Highlights