Midway through the second year of a five-year deal, it’s been almost unanimously concluded that Darrelle Revis is effectively stealing money from the Jets. We wouldn’t be doing our jobs at Biased Boston Sports if this fact were not alluded to right off of the bat for the first Pats/Jets preview of the year. I can’t speak for every fan, but I’d be lying if I didn’t want Revis back in the blue following the Super Bowl victory. Belichick almost immediately deemed him him not worth it, allowing the Jets to ultimately auction against themselves and get sleeved for it. As much as some of his decisions make us scratch our heads, more often than not, he’s spot on. And this case is no different.
Contract aside, Revis is one of the biggest reasons this Jets team already had more losses than they did all of last season. That being said, he’s not the only reason. Fitzpatrick has regressed badly after his career year, debilitating the passing game, the O-line play has been shaky at best, and several other contributors on the defensive end haven’t performed up to expectations (Mo Wilkerson, Calvin Pryor to name a few). But at the same time, divisional games, especially between these two teams are rugged, grind it out matchups. No matter how good or bad either team is, these are typically (sans “Buttfumble") close bouts.
Let’s take it around the table and see if the BBS Staff thinks Sunday will be any different…
Tom Brady: Over/Under 310 yards passing?
Niko: OVER. This is a Brady game. The Jets are fourth in the NFL in rush defense, only allowing 85.4 yards per game. Spread them out and sling it, early and often.
Pete: Brady missed practice twice this week and is questionable for Sunday's bout against the Jets. That being said, like Niko mentioned, this is a Brady game. Along with having a stout rush defense, Brady has a knack for picking apart the Jets' secondary. OVER.
Jordan: Without Gronk or Hogan last week, Brady only threw for 280 against the Niners. Even though the Jets secondary is putrid, it's still better than San Fran, at least on paper. OVER.
LeGarrette Blount: Over/Under 67 yards rushing?
Niko: I alluded to the fourth ranked total rush D above, but New York is even better in average yards per rush. They give up 3.5 a pop, good for 2nd in the league. Going to lean UNDER here for Blount.
Pete: Blount has been the most consistent player on the offensive side of the football for the Patriots this year. However, like mentioned above, the Jets have one of the best rushing defenses in the NFL. I don't think Blount will have a bad game but rather, simply put, he won't be needed. UNDER.
Jordan: Again, going slightly UNDER for Blount. While Niko mentioned that the Jets defense is 4th in run defense, they have shown that they can be beaten on the ground. On November 6, Jay Ajayi ran for 111 yards on 24 carries (4.6 ypc) in a game where the Dolphins won. Not saying Blount is the type of back that Ajayi is, but he's still been very good. He'll come close.
James White+Dion Lewis: Over/Under 80 yards from scrimmage?
Niko: OVER. See “Key Matchup” and “Bold Prediction” below. Heavy dose of this pair should be in the gameplan.
Pete: The pass-catching running back has turned into one of the key positions on the field for the Patriots. After a great game last week against the 49ers, I expect to see more of the same this week. OVER.
Jordan: OVER. Brady went to Dion Lewis and James White quite a bit last week. Expect more of the same this week.
Julian Edelman: Over/Under 7.5 receptions, 72 receiving yards?
Niko: Jules is back putting up the numbers we’re used to (15 catches, 176 yards over last two weeks) with just an insane amount of volume (17 targets last weekend). Let’s go slightly UNDER on receptions, but OVER on yards.
Pete: OVER on receptions, UNDER on yards. Like Niko alluded to, Edelman has been getting an insane amount of targets the past couple of weeks, which worries me a little bit. Edelman is not the most durable player in the world and I am afraid he will get banged up if he starts reeling in 10 catches per game.
Jordan: Gotta love what you saw last week out of JE11. He finally is starting to get the looks we thought when the year began. He's answered the call, making him another scary man in this Pats offense. OVER on receptions, slightly UNDER on yards.
Rob Gronkowski: Over/Under 4.5 receptions, 75 yards receiving?
Niko: OVER on yards, UNDER on catches for Gronk.
Pete: I really don't know what to expect out of Gronk. The injury was clearly not that serious because he is already back in a week or two, but its Gronk. I will say UNDER on both, but he will be more involved than he was the first couple weeks of the season.
Jordan: UNDER on both. I know that both Brady and Gronk are playing and, if both are a go, they will feed off of each other. I just don't know how much Gronk will be used considering he wasn't named active until today. I don't see the Pats risking it. Could be wrong, but look for Marty today.
Martellus Bennett: Over/Under 4.5 catches, 59 receiving yards?
Niko: I was extremely bullish on Marty last weekend, really thinking he was going to put up monster numbers against a weak SF defense in the absence of Gronk. Obviously, statistically (continues to impress blocking), he was underwhelming. I say Bennett bounces back numbers wise, OVER on catches, UNDER on yards and finding pay dirt.
Pete: Weird game for Bennett last week, huh? Many, myself included, thought he was going to have one of the biggest games of his career with Gronk being out. This week, I am hoping Brady looks Bennett's way a bit more and gets him involved in the passing game. OVER on both, hopefully.
Jordan: While I think Bennett will bounce back from a down week, I don't think he will get the targets to eclipse this mark. However, when he is targeted, I can see some big plays ensuing. UNDER and OVER for Marty + a TD.
Ryan Fitzpatrick: Over/Under 235 yards passing?
Niko: As terrible as Fitzpatrick has been, he’s had a good deal of success against Patricia’s defense the last few times out. In the pair of meetings last season, he threw for 296 and 295 yards respectively. I don’t think it will be terribly efficient or blemish free, but I do think Fitz hits this mark. OVER.
Pete: OVER, but it isn't going to be pretty. Fitzpatrick can be one of the best quarterbacks in the league and put up gaudy fantasy numbers, but he simply overthinks almost every situation and ends up making crucial mistakes.
Jordan: Agreeing with Niko here. Fitzy is bad: Way worse than I thought originally. Not worth the money by any means. In fact, I was shocked it wasn't Bryce Petty this week over the vet. However, 235 yards seems too low considering the defense he's facing. OVER.
Matt Forte: Over/Under 90 yards from scrimmage?
Niko: Forte, a guy a lot of people (myself included) wanted the Pats to target in the offseason, has had a solid first season in green. He’s averaged 73 rushing yards a game, to go along with 18 receiving yards a game. He’ll be right around this mark, but with (see below) Powell cutting into his workload, and the likelihood that the Jets will have to abandon the power ground game eventually, I’ll go with UNDER here.
Pete: I stopped watching the Jets towards the middle of the season, but I saw Forte's absurd workload early in the season and was convinced he would get hurt. While there is still time, it appears as if Powell has taken some of the weight off of his shoulders and made him a more efficient player. I will say UNDER.
Jordan: Once again, I will agree with Niko here. I expect Bilal Powell to be the RB that the Jets will lean on to try and compete with the Pats. UNDER for Forte.
Bilal Powell: Over/Under 50 yards from scrimmage?
Niko: I’ve always been a fan of Powell’s. He’s solid between the tackles, and has reliable hands out of the backfield. The Pats have had well documented struggles against backs who can do both (see: Prosise, CJ). OVER.
Pete: Agree with Niko. The Pats struggle with these types of running backs, and I don't see anything so far that would change that. OVER.
Jordan: Powell is a very good, versatile back. These backs have given the Pats a hard time this year. Niko mentioned CJ Prosise above as one of those backs. I see Powell being the safety valve. OVER.
Brandon Marshall: Over/Under 5.5 receptions, 75 receiving yards?
Niko: Who gets Marshall this year? Will it be Logan Ryan again? Butler this time around? Will Eric Rowe get a crack? Regardless, Devin McCourty will be over the top and Marshall should attract plenty of attention, even if his play has slipped a bit. I’ll go slightly UNDER on both in what would prove to be a big victory for the New England defense.
Pete: UNDER on both. Brandon Marshall has been fantastic at times this season, but has also struggled through injuries and looks frustrated with no clear-cut quarterback. After a great game last week, I expect Malcolm Butler to shut Marshall down.
Jordan: To try and answer the question Niko asked, I'll say it'll be a clash of Eric Rowe and Malcolm Butler going at Marshall. Despite Ryan's great week last week, he hasn't earned the top CB position yet. As for the numbers? I'll go UNDER on receptions, OVER on yards. Butler will likely get burned once as usual.
Robby Anderson: Over/Under 3.5 receptions, 49 receiving yards?
Niko: The 6’3 190 pound undrafted rookie out of Temple has strung together a couple of effective weeks, and his volume has been steady with 6 targets in each of the last 3 weeks. With BMarsh expected to be the priority, I’ll say the rook hits these marks. OVER on both. Quincy Enunwa is another receiver to keep an eye on in green.
Pete: That is a hell of a lot of yards for a guy that I had to google to see who he was. I will say OVER on receptions, UNDER on yards. I want to see a healthy dose of Logan Ryan and Eric Rowe on this guy, with some possible help over the top from Devin McCourty.
Jordan: This is the matchup for Logan Ryan. Coming off a great week, Bill should see if he can string a few of these games together. With the bulk of the targets going to Marshall, the Pats will fall asleep on a few plays, and Anderson should be able to get some catches. OVER on receptions, UNDER on yards.
Niko: As previously mentioned, I don’t see the Pats forcing the power running game in this one. Dump offs, swing passes, check downs, and screens should collectively replace the majority of the traditional ground game. That will put a ton of pressure on New York’s cover linebackers (specifically first round rookie Darron Lee) against Pats’ dual receiving back threats, Dion Lewis and James White. If White and Lewis have their way getting open all afternoon, it’s going to be a very long day for the Jets’ defense.
Pete: Has to be the Patriots' defense vs. Fitzpatrick. As you can see below, Fitz has a horrendous touchdown to interception ratio. The Patriots have struggled to force turnovers all season and need to generate a few if they want to make a deep run in the playoffs.
Jordan: Fitzy has an 8:13 TD:INT Ratio. My key matchup is the Pats secondary vs. Fitzy. Can they make good reads on his throws and force him to struggle? Might we finally see some turnovers? It's the right QB matchup to test if the Pats D can actually do something against dog meat. Look for at least a couple turnovers.
Niko: My “key matchup” ends up being a huge advantage for the Pats. Lewis and White combine for 100+ yards from scrimmage and each find pay dirt in this one. Expect these guys to be utilized early and often, and sometimes even on the field at the same time. Yeesh.
Pete: My bold prediction is that the Patriots are going to have a horrendous time covering Bilal Powell. He is absolutely everything the Patriots hate in a running back.
Jordan: My bold prediction is the Pats force Todd Bowles to go to Bryce Petty at some point in the game. Meaning they'll force Fitzy to resort to his normal, horrendous self. I say 3 picks and 3 sacks, with 1 pick going for 6. Picks made by McCourty, Butler, and Hightower. Sacks by Flowers (1.5), Nink (1.0), Long (0.5).
Game Total: Over/Under 47 points?
Niko: I’ve been going back and forth on this number all week, but I’ve finally settled on slightly OVER. The Jets won’t just lie over at home against their bitter rivals like they have against some teams this season and the Patriots’ D still has questions that need to be answered. Plus, 12 and co. are always good for 30 themselves.
Pete: OVER. I don't think either team has a particularly good defense and Patriots fans will be tearing their hair out all game as Fitz has time in the pocket.
Jordan: I'll go with slightly OVER. These games are always close, regardless of what each team looks like on both sides of the ball. And, with the Pats being on the road, I can see the Jets sustaining more success than most of Pats nation is comfortable with.
Final Prediction (Patriots -8):
Niko: 31-20, Pats. Yes, it’s true it’s the Jets, but it’s also true it’s a divisional game on the road. New York will empty the tank, but it won't be enough. Expect another massive effort from the GOAT, who may chuck it 45 times. Bill, what do you think of of the Jets’ chances on Sunday?
Pete: This game is not going to be easy, regardless of how putrid the Jets are. Whenever a team plays the Patriots, it is their Super Bowl, simply put. The Jets are no different. 31-21 Pats, but yet again, no one is going to feel good after this one is over.
Jordan: 27-21 Pats. Like I said above, these games are uncomfortably close. The Jets suck, but the Pats defense hasn't shown that they can play with a set in these big games. Pats will still win, but it won't be easy.