Time for a NimbleTV Turn On The Jets 12 Pack. Traveling this autumn? Sign up for NimbleTV and see the Jets or any NFL game wherever you happen to end up. On to the predictions, preceded by a few thoughts on the Jets match-up with the New England Patriots
Thursday Night Football is a weird thing. There is barely time to digest what happened the previous Sunday before a critical division game in primetime. It feels silly to say any game is critical for a 1-5 team but if there is any microcosm of hope left in this season, it starts with a pair of AFC East wins to close out of the first half of the season. The curtains are 90% down on 2014, they go 100% down with a loss tonight. A win against New England matters for a multitude of reasons for this team but primarily it gives a feeling of staving off elimination for the next 10 days leading into a home game against Buffalo.There are a few factors working against the Jets tonight. New England very, very rarely loses at home since Tom Brady has taken over at quarterback. Thursday Night Football favors the team with the superior, veteran quarterback because he is better equipped to handle a short week of preparation. The Patriots are outright better than the Jets this season, like they are just about every season.
However, the Patriots are banged up just like the Jets right now. They are likely down two starting offensive lineman tonight, inside linebacker Jerod Mayo and starting running back Stevan Ridley. It is going to be raining tonight, which helps the team who is worse at throwing the ball and defending the pass (hint…that is the Jets). The Jets played in this same spot last season…on a Thursday night, in New England, in the rain. They had four turnovers. New England had zero. They had a touchdown and a fumble recovery overturned on a replay. Sounds like a blowout, right? The final was 13-10.
There is no mystery to what the Jets need to do tonight. They have to run the football effectively, ideally with Chris Ivory and Bilal Powell. Geno Smith has to protect the football and make a handful of plays with his legs. Somebody besides Eric Decker and Jace Amaro (who will get the full Belichick/Revis treatment) needs to make plays in the passing game, looking at you Jeremy Kerley, David Nelson and Jeff Cumberland. On defense, the Jets can’t expose their secondary too frequently with the blitz and cover zero looks, while hoping their defensive line can get after a generally weak Patriots offensive line. More accurately, they need Muhammad Wilkerson, Sheldon Richardson, Quinton Coples, Damon Harrison, Jason Babin and maybe even a freshly activated Antwan Barnes to dominate upfront. Hopefully, Antonio Allen can channel his 2013 performance against Rob Gronkowski, you bracket Julian Edelman and make one of the Patriots’ other pass catchers beat you.
The line is 10.5 tonight, which seems high despite the Jets record. There are some rumblings that New England is going to use Darrelle Revis at wide receiver to rub a little salt in the Jets wound. The story leaked yesterday so you can bet Rex Ryan used it as billboard motivation for tonight because the Patriots using Revis like that (which would be monumentally stupid and thus unlikely) would be a flat out smack in the face to them. If it does happen, I’d wager Rex will simply have him tackled at the line of scrimmage and we’ll probably see some type of scrum on the field. Needless to say, it will be interesting to watch for.On to the predictions…
1. Tom Brady will throw for 225 yards or less, along with a pair of touchdowns and have one turnover.
2. Muhammad Wilkerson and Sheldon Richardson will both have sacks.
3. Chandler Jones will have a big night working against the Jets offensive, with a sack, a couple of quarterback hits and a few tackles for a loss.4. Darrelle Revis will not play any offense but will have a strong all-around game, spending most but not all of the night shadowing Eric Decker.
5. Jace Amaro will have 3 catches or less, as the Patriots will focus on taking him away.
6. Rob Gronkowski will have 70 yards receiving and a touchdown.
7. Chris Ivory will have at least 15 touches on offense, finishing with at least 70 total yards. He will also get in the endzone.
8. Jeremy Kerley, Jeff Cumberland and David Nelson will combine for 10 catches.
9. Geno Smith will throw for 195 yards, rush for 35 yards and have a touchdown passing or rushing.
10. Tim Wright will make a few plays down the seam for the Patriots offense.
11. Nick Folk will stay perfect on the season.
12. Maybe the Jets have no idea how to win a close football game, which this is likely to be. But maybe tonight is the night a fumble bounces the right way for them, they actually catch an interception when it hits their hands or have a big call break their way. Maybe, they are due. Maybe with their backs against the wall, they go down swinging with a few punches, as they’ve done a few times for Rex Ryan. 17-14, Jets.
12 Pack Record
Against The Spread (3-3)