Listening to the local radio stations in New England would make one think that the Patriots lost by 40 points last week, but regardless of what the blowhards think, the Patriots are 1-0. There were some ugly moments, especially on the offensive side of the ball, but the defense had a strong game. Two braincramps in coverage resulted in the two touchdowns the defense allowed, but other than that, they were stout. Vince Wilfork, Tommy Kelly, Rob Ninkovich, Chandler Jones-who played better inside-and the cornerbacks, led by Kyle Arrington, all played very well in the opener. In order for New England to begin the season 2-0, these same players are going to need to step up tonight. Let’s take a look at tonight’s matchup in Foxborough.
- How will the Patriots move the ball? Valid question with all the injuries they are dealing with. Stevan Ridley gets his job back due to another injury for Shane Vereen and LeGarrette Blount will also see an expanded role in the backfield. With Danny Amendola out, Julian Edelman will be sure to see his targets increase, but he will have his hands full with Antonio Cromartie. Aaron Dobson is listed as questionable, but I get the feeling he plays tonight. Kenbrell Thompkins, who struggled in Week One, will also be looking to rebound. Josh Boyce may also have a say in who wins this game.
- Can the Jets score against New England’ defense? The answer is pretty simple- no. The Patriots held a surprisingly game-ready EJ Manuel and a talented Buffalo offense to 14 points in Week One. The Jets don’t have the same type of playmakers the Bills have and this will be a major problem tonight. Watch for the Patriots to be very aggressive to open the game. The Jets desperately need Santonio Holmes to step up, especially with top wideout Jeremy Kerley out.
- Who has the edge in the coaching matchup? Since Rex Ryan sauntered his way into New York, the Jets have been more than formidable foes for the Patriots. The thing is, the 2013 staff has had some changes and with that comes growing pains. New England returns with the same coaching staff, and having that type of continuity cannot be understated. New England has the edge.
- Will the Jets find a way to give Brady fits? The Jets have given Tom Brady trouble at times, and if they can find a way to get a middle pass rush, it could be a long night for the future Hall-of-Famer. The Bills were able to get a middle pass rush at times last week and every time it disrupted the play. Ryan Wendell needs to pass block better if they plan on keeping Brady upright.
- Who wins the game? I see New England winning this game, but it won’t come easy, regardless of what the final score looks like. The Patriots passing game is not going to be fluid tonight, but they will be able to run and hit a few off play action. The Jets offense is going to struggle to move the ball against New England, and they most likely won’t score more than one touchdown. Look for the Jets defense to possibly score more points than the offense.
Prediction: Patriots 24, Jets 10
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