By Tom Kiss
The first Sunday of football was an excellent one for Jets fans. I guess the late scare from the Dolphins may have taken away some good feelings, but despite that the Jets looked good.
Favre, even though he still doesn’t know the whole playbook, delivered with a couple vintage big plays. The revamped o-line seems to be coming together and Thomas Jones scored his first rushing touchdown of the year already.
The Jets defense looked like it has really come together as well. Calvin Pace could be a real force, Kris Jenkins held it down in the trenches, and Dwight Lowery has Jets fans thinking they have a cornerback tandem for the next 10 years.
Of course there was the icing on the cake, Tom Brady is out for the season. First off, I am not saying anyone should root for injuries but I cannot feel bad for the Patriots, Brady or their fans. Nobody felt bad for the Jets in 1999, 2003, or 2004 when Jets quarterbacks went down early in the season.
So the door is open for the Jets now, with Matt Cassel taking over the Jets are pretty much the favorite to take this division. Even without Brady the Pats were going to have a rough go of it with the secondary that they put out there every Sunday. This great rivalry, which has developed into the best and most heated in the NFL today, may be turning in a new direction, leaving Mass. and going down the coast to Florham Park.
When the Jets have the ball:
Another week of practice means another week for Brett Favre to learn more of the offense. Favre looked very good against the Dolphins and his bomb to Jerricho Cotchery was the kind of throw Jets fans have been dreaming of for years. The o-line was the real key to victory as they paved to way to a 100 yard day from Jones and gave Favre good protection. Expect to see more of Jones and even more of Leon Washington this week as the Jets will look to get the ground game working. It won’t be easy, however, the Pats front seven is still quite talented and you know Belicheat will try and create as much pressure on the o-line as possible.
As mentioned above, the Pats secondary is not what it has been in the past. In fact the last time I can remember it being like this was when the Pats had a young DB coach whose innovative thinking had Troy Brown covering receivers. I wonder who that was? Look to see Favre try and rip apart the secondary while trying to work Coles into the game more than last week.
When the Patriots have the ball:
What will Matt Cassel be able to do in his first start since he graduated high school? He certainly has a very talented team around him and it will still be challenging for the defense. Let’s be honest, I could throw a football real high in the air and Randy Moss could catch it. The real question is how much wind is taken out the Pats sails after this devastating injury.
Laurence Maroney will be the real key for the Pats offense. If Maroney can get rolling early, Cassel’s ability to succeed would be immensely greater. Expect to see the Jets try and use their newfound pass-rush to keep Cassel on his toes, but Maroney could really create problems. Kris Jenkins will have to play as well, if not better, than he did last week against Miami.
Match-up of the game: David Harris vs. Laurence Maroney
The running game will be very important to the Pats and of course Maroney will be the key. Harris was very quiet in week one and will need to play well in this game if the Jets want to take advantage of the change under the Pats center.
Prediction: NYJ 24 – NE 17