Big one this weekend, with the AFC East lead on the line. Through five games, our Pats (expectedly) stand at 5-0, while New York’s gang green (to the surprise of most) counter at 4-1. It’s going to be extremely interesting to see how Jets Coach Todd Bowles deploys his defensive pieces. According to safety Marcus Gilchrist, the Jets are preparing for Tom Brady the same way they prepared for Kirk Cousins. If this were the case, on 2:45 Sunday afternoon the score would look something along the lines of 56-0 and Jimmy G would be handing the ball off to James White.
Let’s give Coach Bowles the benefit of the doubt and assume this quote was taken wildly out of context. In all seriousness though, there are several questions that need to be answered and this chess-match could very well be won in the film room leading up to kickoff. Does Revis shade Edelman, or Lafell? Does Skrine get Amendola or Edelman, does Cromartie matchup with Gronk? Can the Pats makeshift O-line hold off savages Sheldon Richardson, Muhammad Wilkerson and co. just enough for Brady to shred? Does Belicheck prioritize taking away Brandon Marshall or Chris Ivory? Let’s take it around the table and let the BBS staff take a stab at some of these key questions…
Tom Brady: over/under 300 yards?
Niko: Quite simply, the Pats need to have a great deal of success in the short/intermediate passing game to win on Sunday. The Jets are extremely good up front, and, led by Revis, have a formidable secondary. The good news is, their linebackers can be exposed badly in coverage. David Harris has had a long, solid career, but good luck if you think he can stick with Dion Lewis in coverage. OVER.
Pete: If the Pats want a shot at winning, this number better be OVER, and, truthfully, I think it will be. The Jets have one of the two best defenses in the NFL. However, they have been susceptible to running backs that can catch the ball in the backfield and big tight ends. Thankfully for the Patriots, they have two massive tight ends in Rob Gronkowski and Scott Chandler, and have one of the most dynamic running backs in the NFL in Dion Lewis. If Brady comes out hot, he should be able to pick away at this tenacious defense.
LeGarrette Blount: over/under 50 rushing yards?
Niko: UNDER. The power running game will be few and far between on Sunday, and the only way Blount hits half a century is if we’re milking the clock. Even then, I can’t see our o-line getting any push whatsoever on this Jets’ defensive front.
Pete: Do the Patriots really want to line up in the I-formation or goal line offense and run the ball right up the middle against Sheldon Richardson and Muhammad Wilkerson? The only way we see this number is if the Pats blow out the Jets early in this game and Blount has clean up duty. However, I don't envision that happening. UNDER.
Dion Lewis: over/under 85 all-purpose yards?
Niko: Need to say OVER here. Probably 80% of these will be receiving yards as well. Like I mentioned above, Dion 1 on 1 with any Jets linebacker is a glaring matchup advantage. I can see Lewis breaking a screen or draw for 20+ as well.
Pete: For all the good things that the Jets do on defense, like I previously mentioned, their weakness comes in running backs that can catch the football and tight ends. Thankfully, the Patriots could and should look to exploit that. If a stupid blogger like me can see this, Belichick will too. OVER.
Rob Gronkowski: over/under 80 yards and .5 touchdowns?
Niko: Going to go OVER, and OVER here. I think Cromartie gets the undesirable job of checking Gronk because of his physical traits (6’2 210) and ability to move north south. I don’t think it will go over well, even with timely safety help and linebacker jamming at the line of the scrimmage.
Pete: Like I said before, the Jets have trouble with tight ends and running backs. Gronk is the best tight end I have ever seen in all of my years of watching football. Put the two together. OVER.
Julian Edelman: over/under 6.5 catches, 68 yards?
Niko: This is key. I think Revis gets a good portion of snaps covering Edelman on the outside where Darrelle is most comfortable. I think we see a lot of slot work (Skrine will mix in here), maybe even some creative backfield looks from Edelman. McDaniels needs to find ways to get Jules some daylight. I’ll say OVER on catches, but UNDER on yards.
Pete: Fascinating matchup. Like Niko, I have heard that Revis could be blanketing Edelman for the entire game come Sunday. I have also heard that Revis may just stay on one side of the field and cover whoever is over there. Regardless, Edelman is going to go off this game. Not only is he Brady's favorite receiver, but he has quicker feet than Revis, if the Jets decide to go that route. Brady won't be afraid to throw at Revis, and Edelman won't be afraid to try and get underneath his skin. OVER.
Ryan Fitzpatrick: over/under 240 yards?
Niko: Let’s start with the positive for Fitzy. One, he’s a Hahvard guy. Two, he has brought a great deal of stability to the Jets offense after the volatile Geno Smith era. I think he will go OVER on the 240. The negative, in 7 career games against Belicheck, Ry guy has thrown 17 interceptions. 17 freaking picks! Not so smaht. 2 lollipops in this one will almost certainly shut the door on an upset.
Pete: Ryan Fitzpatrick has don't a relatively decent job of righting the ship in New York. Unfortunately, Fitzpatrick does realize that he's just not that good. He holds onto the ball for far too long and makes stupid mistakes. However, the only way the Jets win this game is if they throw the ball a ton. OVER, although I don't think it will necessarily equate to a win. More on that later.
Brandon Marshall: over/under 80 yards and .5 touchdowns?
Niko: Ridiculous laterals and fumbles aside, Brandon Marshall has been an absolute menace to opposing cornerbacks this year (511 yards, 4 touchdowns). He should get Butler and a heavy dose of safety help. I’ll say Brandon goes OVER on yards, but is kept out of the end zone. UNDER on the touchdown.
Pete: Brandon Marshall has completely changed his game since joining the New York Jets. He reminds me of a poor man's Calvin Johnson: a big, physical receiver who goes up there to get the football. Last year, you would have put Revis/Browner on Marshall and let McCourty cover over the top. This year, it will be interesting to see how they try to limit his effectiveness. I will go UNDER on yards, but I think he sneaks in for a touchdown.
Chris Ivory: over/under 90 yards rushing?
Niko: Ivory is the AFC East’s version of Marshawn Lynch. He doesn’t go down, period. Expect to see a lot of heavyweights Branch, Siliga, and Brown. If the Pats control the pace of this game, which I think they will, New York will have to pass more than they’d like. I’m going to say UNDER here. If Ivory and the rushing attack can take control of this game, the Jets have a real shot at an upset in Foxboro.
Pete: This is just my personal opinion, but I don't think that you can schematically run the ball 30 times in the national football league and expect to get a win. In the modern NFL, you have to throw the ball in order to be effective. Belichick knows this, and in my opinion, he will let Ivory run all over the football field if the Jets choose to scheme this way. OVER, just because the Jets are stupid enough to take the bait.
Niko: One of “the other guys” on offense needs to step up. I have Scott Chandler for 40+ yards and a touchdown.
Pete: This isn't a really sexy bold prediction, but I think that punter Ryan Allen and kicker Stephen Gostkowski are going to have HUGE games. This game is going to come down to field goals and field position. If the Patriots want to win, they better hope these guys' heads, or should I say feet (LOL), are screwed on straight.
Game Total/Final: over/under 48 points?
Niko: UNDER. This Jets D is stacked with jacks, queens, and kings. That being said, we have the ace. Brady is surgical again this Sunday. 27-16 Pats.
Pete: I'm gonna go OVER. I don't think that the Jets defense is going to be able to keep this team under 30, which should be their goal. Additionally, I think the Jets are going to find the end zone and make plays, but come up just short. 31-24 Pats.