In much the same fashion I have responded from a couple losses with baseball, I bounced back and compiled a winning streak heading into this week. I have been money with primetime games dating back to three years ago, so I look to continue those good fortunes when the New York Jets visit the New England Patriots in Foxborough Thursday night. The Jets are fresh off, to some people, a shocker of a victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in week 1. That line at -3 smelled fishy from the start, as all the talk in the offseason was about how bad the Jets quarterback situation is. Sure enough Vegas and the books were able to trap money in with the low line on the Bucs, giving Geno Smith a victory in his first career start. It wasn’t pretty, but they still made it happen with seconds remaining off a field goal.
While the Jets still have their fair share of problems, the Patriots are turning into a hospital with the amount of injuries that have occurred. Name a playmaker other than Tom Brady and he is probably banged up and sitting out Thursday night. I’ll get into the injuries further down in the article, but this as depleted as the Patriots’ offense has been since the Drew Bledsoe era. The Patriots have made it work with a lot of different players, but there comes a point perhaps when Brady can’t do it all with so little to work with. Read on for a complete writeup for this TNF matchup.
Jets vs. Patriots Betting Odds:
New York Jets +11 (-105)
@ New England Patriots -11 (-115)
Under 43.5 (-105)
Betting odds provided by Bovada.lv
Jets vs. Patriots Pick:
Injuries are the big story surrounding this game, so let’s get right to it and breakdown the injury situation for the Patriots. Like I alluded to above, the team is riddled with injuries on offense that is giving the Patriots offense a look we haven’t seen in quite awhile. I had the Patriots last week, but when Stevan Ridley fumbled deep in Buffalo territory which was then taken back for 6, I knew that I wasn’t meant to win that one. Ridley had other issues throughout the game holding on to the ball, good idea, Shane Vereen galloped for over 100 yards, BUT broke his wrist in the process, deeming him out until at least week 11. Vereen figured to play a big role in the running game and passing game. The Patriots actually wished to use him as a receiver in numerous sets due to how much they’re hurting at the receiver position. The Patriots are down to Julian Edleman and Kenbrell Thompkins as the main targets for Brady in New England. No disrespect to Edleman or Thompkins, because I predicted a big year for Edleman at the start of the year and Thompkins has the potential to be good. Other receiving options that are questionable heading into Thursday night are Aaron Dobson, rookie out of Marshall, Matthew Slater and finally tight end Zack Sudfeld who had an impressive preseason. Rob Gronkowski will of course be absent, so that leaves Brady with little talent to toss the rock to.
There hasn’t been much talk of the Patriots winning games solely because of their defense in nearly a decade. In fact, I think the last time their defense was their major strong suit was when they were winning Super Bowls. Sure, Brady was good, but it was defense and a solid run game that won games for them back then. It gets lost in the mix since the Patriots have had a dominant offense for the past several years, but Bill Belichick came into the NFL as a defensive mind, and has continued to do a good job with the defense whether people like to admit or not. Yeah sure, they gave up a ton of yardage a season ago, but they kept teams out of the end zone, allowing an average of only 20.7 points per game. They also are one of the best teams in the NFL at generating turnovers. In my writeup last week I said they were going to make life tough for rookie E.J. Manuel, which they generally did, only passing for 150 yards, but he did have the 2 touchdowns. I expect more of the same out of the Patriots’ defense against Geno Smith.
The Jets got by the Bucs by a hair last week, and it seems like some of the negative Jets talk has began to slow down. However, I think after this week that will come to a boil once again. While the Patriots have offensive issues of their own, I believe the Jets is much worse. I think Brady will carry the Patriots, but I have no faith in rookie Geno Smith. The Buccaneers had one of the worst pass defenses in the NFL last season, so putting up 18 on them at home doesn’t really impress me. Receiving options are slim for the Jets as well, but the problem is they don’t have Brady operating under center. Jeremy Kerley may very well be the Jets best receiver, which isn’t really saying much. Smith won the game last week and played adequately, but he still fumbled a ball away to the Bucs and had a careless interception. Unlike the Bucs, the Pats do know how to get pressure on the quarterback which they should be able to get against Geno. All you need to do is frustrate this guy a little bit and the wheels will fall off soon after.
Let’s be honest, the Jets were lucky to win that game last week. If the Buccaneers didn’t commit a dumb penalty I wouldn’t be talking about the Jets winning last week at the moment. Geno Smith still isn’t a good quarterback in my eyes, and I think the lights are going to be too bright for him Thursday night in Foxborough. Like many of you, I scratched my head when I seen a line of 13 in favor of the Patriots. It kind of reminds me of the playoffs two seasons ago when the Patriots were identical favorites over the Broncos in the playoffs against Tebow. With all of these injuries to the Patriots on offense, how could this be possible? Well, thankfully for the Pats, I don’t think their defense is going to need to do much. I think this is going to be a game won by pressure coming from all angles at Geno Smith. I also believe the Patriots’ offense will run more efficiently after struggling last week. They are a team that notoriously bounces back after a bad week no matter the circumstance. I’m not taking the trap here like so many did with the Buccaneers last week. I’ll take lay the points with the Patriots in their home opener.
PICK: Patriots -11 (-115)