Jets/Patriots: The PredictionsBy Ben Kamisar on December 6, 2010 at 2:44 am in Featured, Jets
Once more before the big game, Fan Huddle New York’s Ben Kamisar and Fan Huddle Boston’s Ben Mark bring you analysis and predictions for the upcoming Jets vs. Patriots Monday Night Football Matchup. With the game only hours away, here are their takes on how what many are calling “the game of the year” will go down.
Ben Kamisar’s Prediction: 20-14 Jets
The Jets will go 10-2 after this Monday’s game at Foxborough. I know, it’s the Patriots, but it doesn’t matter how good a team has historically been, all that matters is what team shows up. Look at the Indianapolis Colts, the perennial stars of the AFC. Sure, they may have won more than ten games in each season since 2002 and have one of the best quarterbacks in the history of the NFL under center, but as Peyton Manning has discovered his new penchant for throwing the ball right at the defense, they have struggled. The same thing goes for the Patriots. I know that they were once called the team of the decade and I know that they are 9-2 on the year. But the stats don’t lie. This is the worst defense and one of the more average offenses to suit up for the Patriots in recent memory and regardless of the luster, sheer skill will ultimately dominate.
That is not to say that this game will not be tough initially for the Jets. In the first quarter, Gang Green will look somewhat ineffective, as Rex Ryan will try too hard to establish the run. LaDainian Tomlinson and Shonn Greene will continue to hear their numbers called as Ryan tries to lure the Patriots defense into the box, making space for Santonio Holmes and the rest of the Jets’ receivers, but at first, it won’t look good. Both Greene and Tomlinson have watched their yards per carry plummet over the past few weeks and this won’t be any different. The Jets will stall on their first drive, as they rarely score touchdowns in the first quarter, and turn the ball over to Tom Brady and the Patriot’s offense. With safety Jim Leonhard out for the season with a broken leg, the Jets passing defense may need a bit of time to figure out their adjustments, time that Brady will take advantage of. But the offensive power will not come from Aaron Hernandez, who scorched the Jets’ secondary for 80 yards in the first half of the week two game and I called the player I am most scared of. Even though I am afraid he will spring free, the Jets will be ready for Hernandez’s great size and athletic ability and hold him to a pedestrian game. But with all the focus on Hernandez, the former Jet Danny Woodhead, will sneak out of the backfield and prove to be a valuable target in the first half, scoring on a 30 yard wheel route to put the first points on the board for the Patriots. On the Jets next possession, they will struggle once again, getting into field goal position but kicker Nick Folk will shank the kick.
However, the Jets will not lie down. Down 7-0 in the second quarter, Sanchez will show us how he has matured into a competent NFL quarterback as he puts the Jets on his back and brings them back into the game. Marching the team down the field with shorter passes, the Jets will score on their go to end zone play, the Braylon Edwards slant. In the last possession of the first half, the Patriots will tie the game with a field goal before going into the locker room with the game tied at 7-7.
Coming out of the locker room, the Jets defense will bear down and show why they are arguably the best unit in the league. After some half time adjustments to figure out how to best cover Woodhead, the team will stifle him in the second half. Making it even harder for the Patriots, with Antonio Cromartie and Darrelle Revis working on some combination of Hernandez, Wes Welker, and Deon Branch (who will record less than six fantasy points so I can punch my ticket to my fantasy playoffs by beating fellow Fan Huddle writer Sebastian Buffa), Tom Brady will be hard pressed to find openings. Forcing a turnover after a Jets field goal, the Jets will regain the ball on offense and once again score, this time with a beautiful 52 yard strike to Santonio Holmes.
With the score 17-7 and the Patriots on the ropes, Patriots fans will see a vintage Tom Brady trot out onto the field and coolly lead his team back into the game. With the focus on Welker, Woodhead, Hernandez, and Branch, Brandon Tate will catch a long touchdown pass in the deep center of the secondary, right where the Jets are weak, and bring the Patriots within three.
Handing the ball over to the Jets with about eight minutes left in the fourth quarter, a touchdown will effectively seal the deal for the Jets, but after getting the ball into the red zone, the Jets’ woes inside the 20 yard line will continue (tied for 29th in the league) and they will muster but a field goal.
Down six in the two minute drill, Tom Brady will step on the field knowing exactly what is at stake. But even for the league’s second most efficient passer, the Jets’ defense will be too good. After getting two consecutive first downs, the Patriots will stall out around the Jets’ 40 yard-line as the Jets prove to be victorious by a score of 20-14.
Ben Mark’s prediction: 27-25 Patriots
The game of the year, and the most highly anticipated Monday Night Football match-up in recent history is going to be as good as advertised.
On a frigid night in New England, the Patriots and Tom Brady are going to edge out the New York Jets 27-25 on a 40-yard Shayne Graham field goal as time expires.
It will appear that Mark Sanchez led his Jets to yet another stunning victory in the waning moments of a game by throwing a fade-pattern touchdown pass to none other than “captain-clutch” Santonio Holmes with 2:08 left on the clock.
Only one problem: Too much time for Tom Brady.
With the Patriots trailing 25-24 (for the first time all night, as a matter of fact) Brady will prove once again that you cannot beat him at Gillette Stadium in the regular season.
This one will start as a defensive struggle, as Brady will find it difficult yet again to navigate Rex Ryan’s complex and unpredictable defensive schemes. As for the Jets, they will work diligently to get the running game going, but Vince Wilfork, Gerrard Warren and the Patriots’ linebackers –who play the run quite well—will prove up to the challenge.
The Patriots will strike first with a Graham field goal and take a 3-0 lead at the end of the first quarter.
On the Pats opening drive of the second quarter, Brady will start orchestrating the offense like Keith Lockhart with the Boston Pops. A lengthy, 80-yard touchdown drive will be capped with a 15-yard screen pass to Danny Woodhead, making the score 10-0.
The Jets will muster two field goals before the half, as the Patriots will go into the locker room with a 10-6 lead.
The game will really take shape in the second half. Brady will march the Pats down on the opening drive of the third quarter, finding tight end Rob Gronkowski for a red-zone touchdown to extend the New England lead to 17-6.
With the game starting to become out of reach, Sanchez will again demonstrate why he is becoming a formidable, un-rattled quarterback. The Patriots, who have rarely given up the big play this year, will yield a deep touchdown pass to Braylon Edwards, making the score 17-13 late in the third.
After a Patriots three-and-out, the New England defense will stiffen in the red zone. Jets’ kicker Nick Folk will connect on his third field goal of the game, making it 17-16.
At the start of the fourth quarter, the Patriots chew up clock en route to a BenJarvus Green-Ellis five-yard touchdown run, making the score 24-16.
After a big return by Brad Smith gives the Jets great field position, Folk will deliver a fourth field goal to tighten the New York deficit to 24-19.
The Patriots’ stall on their next drive, leading to the Sanchez-to-Holmes go-ahead score. A failed two-point conversion gives the Jets a 25-24 lead.
Enter late game heroics from Brady. Keyed by a third down conversion to Aaron Hernandez for 25 yards, Graham will get in position to kick a 40-yarder for the win as time expires.
A Patriots win and an instant classic? What could be better?
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