Nov. 22, 2012; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets wide receiver Jeremy Kerley (11) is tackled by New England Patriots cornerback Alfonzo Dennard (37) during the second half on Thanksgiving at Metlife Stadium. Patriots won 49-19. Mandatory Credit: Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports
Welcome to Week 2 of the NFL season! Last week, I fully admit to falling flat on my face with my AFC East picks (With the exception of predicting a close game between the Pats and Bills). Lavonte David let me down big time, as did the entire Cleveland Browns franchise (This must be what it’s like to be a Browns fan).
No matter. I’m back at it again to offer some quick hits, predictions and projections for this weekend’s AFC East games. Let’s get to it!
Dolphins at Colts — This one should be tight the whole way. I think the difference will be Indy’s passing game against what I think may be a suspect Dolphin secondary. Look for the Colt tight ends to have a big day, just as Cleveland’s Jordan Cameron did last week. On the other side of the ball, expect the Mike Wallace saga to continue. He has never been anything more than a deep threat. He’ll continue to take the top off the defense and get minimal targets while Tannehill hurries to find an open receiver.
Prediction: Colts 24-16
Panthers at Bills — Unfortunately for Buffalo fans, I think last week was a mirage of false hope. That close score was aided by two unforced Patriot turnovers. Buffalo’s offense, especially the run game, had limited success against the Patriot defense. The Panthers held Seattle to 70 yards rushing last week. I think they can do the same or better against the Bills. Unfortunately, I don’t think E.J. Manuel can have the same success against Carolina that Russell Wilson did. On the flip side, Cam Newton’s elusiveness will allow him to avoid the same pressure that got to Brady repeatedly. I like Carolina big in this one.
Prediction: Panthers 28-10
Jets at Patriots — After a disappointing showing against an inferior opponent in a regionally broadcasted game, the Patriots return to Gillette Stadium for their home opener. The Pats are banged up and people are again doubting what Brady can do with this bag of misfit toys. Tom Brady thrives off that doubt. I expect him to be magical under the lights tonight in front of a national audience, playing with that famous chip on his shoulder — not to be outdone by Manning a week earlier. I don’t think he’ll toss seven touchdowns, but I predict his performance will dominate the talk radio circuit tomorrow after he leads the Patriots to a surprisingly impressive win. Look for New England’s defense to come after Geno Smith aggressively, knowing he has few options around him. The Jets offense will be outmanned in every way tonight, and the final score should be indicative of that.
Prediction: Patriots 34-6