We’ve got the first “Thursday Night Football” game of the season! From now until week 16, the NFL Network will air a contest that is hopefully better than some of the stinkers they put up last season. But who am I to complain? IT’S EFFING FOOTBALL! I’ll take it. This week sees first place in the AFC East on the line as rookie Geno Smith and the stunningly undefeated Jets travel to New England to take on the banged up Patriots. Let’s preview this one, shall we?
(1-0) New York Jets at
(0-1) New England Patriots
The Jets defense appears to have an actual pass rush, judging from what I saw in the preseason and their only regular season game. Muhamad Wilkerson and Sheldon Richardson are beastly at times. They’ll be missing Quinton Coples, but they’ll get decent pressure on Tommy Brady, if he lets them. Never count out that Patriot pass protection though. Their offensive line has held strong for years, giving Brady enough time to find his target and get the ball out quick.
I’m certainly not saying the Jets’ display against the offensively challenged Bucs in week one means they’re a dominant D again. Still, it was a nice stepping stone performance for a team that needed to build its confidence. This Patriot offense, even with its injuries, is simply schematically superior to what they faced last weekend. And the quarterback differential? FUHGEDABOWDIT.
These Patriots will probably be without Danny Amendola and Rob Gronkowski, with both listed as doubtful. Tight end Zach Sudfeld is questionable, so who knows what that means coming from Bill Belichick. As Shane Vereen recently went on short-term IR, expect running back Stevan Ridley to see the majority of the carries. If he struggles (or the Pats need a change of pace), perhaps we’ll all get hot, sweaty, punchy, LeGarrette Blount action. You’re into it, I can tell. And we all know Brady will spread the ball around to the open receiver and do just enough to get this team through another week.
As for the Jets’ offense, they’re going to have trouble. It’s not that the Patriot defense is overwhelming, because it isn’t. They were inconsistent against the Bills in week one. It’s really due to the ineptitude of the New York offense. Geno Smith performed reasonably well in his debut, but he’s a near lock for two bad turnovers going against a scheming Belichick that has had this game circled ever since Smith looked like the starter. With that in mind, and considering the shallowness of the talent at receiver (Kellen Winslow, yes THAT Kellen Winslow, leads the team in receptions) and running back (Smith actually leads the team in rushing yards), how many points can they really score? Can they get above 20? If not, I don’t see a win happening at all. But is it slightly possible? Maybe.
And there you have it! Hope you enjoyed it! I’ll be tweeting throughout the game @MostlyAverageJoe. so come follow!
Check back before Sunday for The Opening Drive of Week 2 in the NFL, as well as the Gameday Preview for Bears vs Vikings! Hooray for football!