The New Orleans Saints and Tampa Bay Buccaneers had Game of the Year material written all over it last night. Then they played the game. So much for a great game, as it was one of the worst Sunday Night Football games of the year. The Saints blew the doors open in Tampa for a 38-3 win. The Buccaneers needed a long field goal to score their only points of the game. Tom Brady was uncharacteristically bad with no touchdowns and 3 interceptions on 209 yards passing. Even if the offense had it together, I’m not sure the Buccaneers were going to be able to stop the Saints. The Bucs’ defense was just as bad as the offene. No one seemed to care and the Saints took advantage.
If you were hoping for a better game on Monday Night Football, I’m not so sure we’re going to get it. The New England Patriots are not the same team from the last two decades, and the New York Jets are the Jets. This used to be a bitter rivalry. That was more true when Rex Ryan was the head coach of the Jets, and they were finding some semblance of success with Mark Sanchez. Then the butt fumble happened against the Patriots and everything has been pointing down for the Jets since.
They will turn to Joe Flacco with Sam Darnold injured on Monday night. I wouldn’t be surprised if we see a sloppy game, but we’ll see how things go at the Meadowlands. The Patriots are coming off a tough 24-21 loss against the Buffalo Bills last week. All Cam Newton had to do was protect the ball, and at the very least, the Patriots were going to be able to force overtime. That didn’t happen because of Cam fumbling the ball and game away. Tough loss, but it’s the Jets in Week 9. If they lost this one, that would make some interesting shows on Boston sports talk radio. If you’re looking for a pick on the total, check out my other overview for this game. Head below for our free Patriots vs. Jets props.
— New York Jets (@nyjets) November 6, 2020
Cam Newton Rushing Yards
There are no secrets that the offense centers around Cam Newton. With a lack of weapons on the outside, the Patriots are essentially forced to run the ball with Newton and hope for the best when the offense isn’t going their way. The power run with Newton off tackle appears to be the Patriots’ best offensive play in 2020. They ran the same play on that last drive against the Bills, and they weren’t stopping it before Cam coughed the ball up.
Newton carried the ball for 54 yards on 9 attempts against the Bills. Damien Harris led the Patriots with 102 yards on 6.4 yards per carry. His progress has been the one big positive for the Patriots this season. Harris has been showing that he can be the feature back for the Patriots. With James White more of a 3rd down runner, and Rex Burkhead more of a chance of pace back as well, Harris is playing a feature role.
However, Harris is currently questionable to play on Monday night at the Meadowlands. I’m going to say he plays with the ankle injury after being limited in practice, but Newton should get a big workload on the ground tonight if Harris isn’t 100%. Cam has gained 298 yards with 5.1 yards per carry through six games. He’s rushed for at least 50 yards in two out of his last three performances. Look for Newton to chew up plenty of yardage on the ground.
Rex Burkhead Receiving Yards
The list of offensive playmakers are few and far between. Even Tom Brady had problems making things work in this offense last year, and the frustration was pretty clear on his face. The Antonio Brown experiment didn’t work for the Patriots, though Belichick tried to keep Brady happy with that signing. I don’t believe Brady was too thrilled about the release of Brown, but he kind of forced their hand.
The Patriots weren’t able to reload with talent in the offseason. They did replace Brady with Cam Newton, but that’s not enough to get this offense back on track. J.J. Taylor is out and Damien Harris is questionable to play on Monday night. I think Harris plays, but Belichick might be cautious with his ankle against the Jets. They should be able to get ahead in this one and rest Harris, who they’re going to need later in the season for a postseason push.
Rex Burkhead is expected to be used in this game as a change of pace back. He carried the Patriots in Week 3 against the Oakland Raiders. Burkhead was the best performer in the backfield, as he carried the ball six times for 49 yards and 2 touchdowns. He also helped in the passing-game, as Burkhead had 7 receptions for 49 yards receiving. Burkhead has caught 16 receptions for 141 yards through seven games, good for an average of 20 yards per game. I will side with the OVER on Burkhead receiving yards.
Frank Gore Rushing Yards
The fact that Joe Flacco and Frank Gore assume the leading roles as the quarterback and running back in this game tells you everything. The ageless wonder will assume the starting role in the backfield for the Jets again on Monday night. Gore would be a fine second or third option on a team, but he’s well past his time as a starting running back.
It’s the best the Jets have, though, despite me believing they should probably give a younger player a chance. In any event, Gore continues to chug along for about ten or more carries a game. The 37-year-old goes into Monday night with 340 yards on 3.5 yards per carry through eight games. He’s recorded at least 38 yards in four out of those eight contests. The Patriots have been one of the worst in the league at stopping the run in 2020.
The absence of linebacker Dont’a Hightower has played a big role in that for the Patriots. He was the heart of this defense, and after he opted out of the 2020 season, it was clear that the Patriots would have problems at linebacker. The Patriots are surrendering 140.4 yards per game on the ground, with only four teams in the NFL worse against the run. With Flacco getting the nod at quarterback, expect a heavy dose of the run for the Jets. I can see Gore recording at least 40 yards on Monday night.