The New England Patriots and New York Jets will face off tonight at 8:25 p.m. at Gillette Stadium for what should be a hard-fought, rivalry game between these two teams. While the Patriots are the significantly better team, the myriad of injuries they are up against combined with the fact that both of these teams know each other very well means that we are most likely in for a close one. Both teams squeaked out victories in Week 1, and I expect this to be another tough game for both of these sides.
Tonight’s game will be broadcast to a national audience on the NFL Network, and those in the Boston area can view the game on CBS. Brad Nessler and the great Mike Mayock will be calling the game, while Alex Flannagan will be the sideline reporter. This game can be listened to on radio via 98.5 FM The Sports Hub and will also be broadcast nationally by Westwood One Sports. The duo making the radio call will be Trent Green and Ian Eagle, with the always excellent Ross Tucker delivering takes and info from the sidelines.
New England Patriots Pass Offense vs. New York Jets Pass Defense
The big storyline for the New England Patriots in this game is the fact that they are dealing with so many injured pass-catchers. Receiving running back Shane Vereen is out until Week 11, Zach Sudfeld is questionable with a hamstring injury, and both Danny Amendola and Rob Gronkowski are locks to miss tonight’s game. That leaves Michael Hoomanawanui and Matthew Mulligan as the only fully healthy tight ends, and the Patriots only have one non-rookie wide receiver in the top four. Kenbrell Thompkins should improve, but he’s going to have an extremely difficult matchup against Antonio Cromartie, who will almost certainly bounce back from a subpar display against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Meanwhile, the Patriots only dependable option is Julian Edelman, as neither Josh Boyce nor Aaron Dobson are proven. Dobson will be making his NFL debut tonight (barring any unforeseen circumstances or setback on his hamstring), and he is an incredibly raw wide receiver. While his playmaking ability could prove to be an asset, Dobson is still quite a ways away of being a difference-maker.
Patriots Rushing Offense vs. Jets Run Defense
The New York Jets run defense looks like a very strong unit, based on the way they bottled up Buccaneers star RB Doug Martin in Week 1. Damon Harrison is turning into a really good DT, and the first sign of great things to come for Harrison was when he beat out Kendrick Ellis for the starting gig. Harrison is bookended by Sheldon Richardson, who had an impressive NFL debut last week, and Muhammad Wilkerson, who is arguably the best player on the team. Wilkerson is going to be a menace for the New England Patriots, because he is an elite player. Last season was a huge one for Wilkerson, who will cause huge problems for the Patriots offensive line, running game, and passing game, hopefully Logan Mankins and Co. are up to the task. The Jets linebackers looked much better in run defense in one game than they did at almost any point last year, but I wonder if it’s even worth reading into just one game. Still, David Harris looked like a man on a mission, and he certainly has plenty to motivate him this year.
Stevan Ridley was benched last week after fumbling, but Bill Belichick and his teammates don’t sound concerned at all. Ridley is clearly the No. 1 back with Shane Vereen out, and it would take another fumble for him to seriously be in the doghouse. He’s a talented running back, an the Patriots really need him to be effective in order to comfortably win this game. If Ridley has a rough time, then the Patriots odds of winning will definitely dip because of it; they need him to set the tone.
Continue reading for my thoughts on how the New England Patriots defense stacks up against the New York Jets offense.
Topics: Aaron Dobson, Alfonzo Dennard, Antonio Cromartie, Bilal Powell, Chandler Jones, Chris Ivory, D'Brickashaw Ferguson, Damon Harrison, David Harris, Geno Smith, Jeremy Kerley, Kellen Winslow Jr., Kenbrell Thompkins, Kyle Arrington, Muhammad Wilkerson, New England Patriots, New York Jets, Santonio Holmes, Shane Vereen, Sheldon Richardson, Stevan Ridley, Tom Brady, Tommy Kelly