New England Patriots Pass Defense vs. New York Jets Pass Offense
Geno Smith had a very encouraging debut against the Bucs, but things are going to get tougher against the Patriots. First of all, the Patriots probably took a closer look at the tape from Sunday’s game and realized that blitzing Smith is the best way to beat him. They have plenty of able blitzers in the back seven in OLBs Jerod Mayo and Dont’a Hightower, MLB Brandon Spikes, nickel back Kyle Arrington, and strong safety Steve Gregory. The Patriots pass rush wasn’t consistent against the Buffalo Bills, but it’s a much better unit than the one the Bucs have (they really should have kept Michael Bennett). That said, the Jets have an elite center, one of the best pass blocking left tackles in the game, and a solid right tackle who can handle Rob Ninkovich. The Patriots will need Tommy Kelly, Rob Ninkovich, and Chandler Jones to step up against some difficult matchups, and I honestly think the Patriots need to blitz Smith.
Jeremy Kerley is a huge injury for the Jets, and it’s one that just isn’t getting talked about enough. Kerley is, in my opinion, the Jets most consistent and best receiving threat, and I would definitely take him over Kellen Winslow Jr. The absence of Kerley will hurt Smith, but he definitely has another good target to throw it to in Kellen Winslow, who has a favorable matchup going against a Patriots defense that has a tough time covering TEs. The only way I see Winslow not having a good game is if Tavon Wilson plays significant snaps and shuts down Winslow (he shut down some good TEs last year). The Patriots secondary looked great on Sunday, and Alfonzo Dennard, Devin McCourty, and Kyle Arrington all deserve shoutouts for tight coverage. Against a team without a true impact receiver (Santonio Holmes isn’t consistent enough to count), the Patriots secondary should have a good day.
Patriots Run Defense vs. Jets Rushing Attack
Bilal Powell is one of my least favorite running backs in the league, and the Jets need to give Chris Ivory as many carries as possible. He is clearly the more talented rusher than Powell, who is far too inefficient and clearly is less talented than Ivory. I loved Ivory’s production with the New Orleans Saints, and it’s too bad the Saints never actually used him (they are terrible when it comes to using running backs not named Darren Sproles). The Patriots run defense is absolutely amazing, so I don’t think Ivory will have a big game against the Pats. But if he can run with authority and explosiveness on the inside and show some shakes on the outside, then Ivory could end up helping give Geno Smith a cushion and the Jets offense a solid rushing outlet.
Continue reading for a final prediction on the game.