No one expected the New England Patriots to have such a hard time during their Week 1 struggle, needing a late field goal to come out victorious. The New York Jets came out with a W as well, but the surprising part, considering the way they played for most of the afternoon, was that they managed to avoid the loss.
And so they travel to Foxborough, with a 1-0 record and a rookie quarterback who was stunned to see Tampa throw away the win against him on his debut with a silly personal foul that gave the Jets and improbable victory through a late field goal. Mark Sanchez is out, probably for the season, and maybe his time as a New York Jets player is over. Smith formally begins his era in the worst possible place.
The Jets have lost on their last four games against the Patriots, but what’s even more concerning is the fact that rookie quarterbacks do really badly against Tom Brady. No rookie QB has ever defeated Bill Belichick’s Patriots in Foxborough. It gets worst, according to this: Top 10 picks like Mark Sanchez, Ryan Tannehill and Andrew Luck have all lost by at least 14 points when playing there during their rookie season.
But even though the Jets are bad, and barely made it to the 18 points that were enough for them in the win over the Bucs, Tom Brady struggled in the season opener, and it’s about to get even worse. Shane Vereen, who had a total of 159 yards from scrimmage, isn’t playing. Danny Amendola, who caught 10 passes for 104 yards, isn’t playing. Brady has Julian Edelman to throw to, and that’s about it.
When he was targeting Vereen, Edelman (7 catches, 79 yards, 2 touchdowns) and Vereen against the Bills, he was 24-for-33 with two touchdowns. When he was targeting everyone else, he was a horrible 5-for-19 with an interception. Those suggesting that this season will be a true test of Brady’s greatness weren’t kidding, as the Patriots have to dig deeper than ever before when it comes to their receiving depth chart.
The key for the Jets will the halt the running game for the Patriots, which will feature Stevan Ridley, who did well against the Jets last time they met on Thanksgiving (97 yards, 1 TD). They managed to stop Doug Martin last week at 65 yards on 24 carries, and stopping the Patriots from helping Brady on the ground, and forcing him to win through his unknown bunch of receivers might be enough to help lighten the load off of Geno Smith’s shoulders.
Prediction – The New York Jets are a bad offensive team, even though they did manage over 300 yards against the Bucs. Their defense, which is better than usually given credit for, is the key in this one, and they will manage to pull off the upset, as the Patriots simply have too many offensive problems to bounce back from their terrible performance on the opening weekend.