Joe Soriano (MusketFire.com Lead Editor):
Nov 22, 2012; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New England Patriots linebacker Dont
I see this being another close, ugly, rivalry scrap, but I just can’t see the Patriots losing this game. The Jets have a stout run defense, but Stevan Ridley can fight for tough yards with the best of them. The fact that the Patriots secondary (well, their defense as a whole) is better-equipped to stop the opponent’s passing attack than the Jets secondary is an advantage in itself. Combine the fact that the Patriots have more talent on offense, and I can’t see the Pats losing this game. That said, it’s not going to be easy, because Zach Sudfeld, Danny Amendola, Shane Vereen, and Rob Gronkowski are all injured. I think only a maximum of two of those four players will play, and Vereen is a guaranteed absence. The Patriots will win this game, but it will be more like the Bills game than most of us would like. The Pats will certainly be better once the young players click and the other guys get healthy, but it’s not as easy to blow out a division rival than it is to blowout an even-strength opponent outside of the division. New England is too talented to lose this game, but this is going to be a pretty close affair.
Prediction: New England Patriots 17 – New York Jets 13
I expect running back Stevan Ridley to show up and play some “grown man football” this Thursday. Ridley has everything to prove, and by some stroke of luck, he is given a second opportunity to prove he deserves to stay the starter.
Seeing reports that wide receiver Danny Amendola is doubtful for Thursday with that groin trouble, so we could be without several key players this game. Does it mean Gronk might come back for this game? Doubt it… It means that the rookies need to step up and have more of an impact. Sudfeld was nonexistent, and must have a solid game for this team to win on Thursday. Wide receiver Julian Edelman played great on Sunday, and we could really use another huge game from him (especially in the Special Teams department).
Jets quarterback Geno Smith looks alright after one game, but it is clear how the Patriots will beat the Jets’ offense: rush the QB! He had an abysmal 25% completion when the Bucs put the pressure on. I’m hoping to see some creative personnel usage by the Patriots on defense.
Prediction: New England Patriots 27 – New York Jets 20
For the second straight week the Patriots square up against a rookie quarterback, Geno Smith. Whom won his first game of his career Sunday vs the Buccaneers. The Jets now feel very confident coming into Thursday’s game. Meanwhile it is the opposite for the Patriots.
Even though they won on Sunday at the Bills it wasn’t pretty. Day(s) later news broke that the Patriots had been hit with an injury bug, Danny Amendola, Zach Sudfeld, and Shane Vereen. Plus Aaron Dobson had been questionable to return and Stevan Ridley is coughing up the ball.
What good to come out of this is Julian Edelman who stepped up, Brady who still showed his consistent throwing ability, and the defense only had given up 14 points (the bills scored a TD by a defensive fumble return). Expect the Patriots defense to stop the running game, and to give Geno Smith pressure. I am predicting a defensive touchdown to help out. I also think that the Patriots offense will score as long as they do not turnover the football. I say this ends up being closer than advertised because of the uncertainty and questions yet to be answered for both sides of the contest.