NFL Week Two Preview: Patriots at Jets

Laurence Maroney and the running game will look to break out against the Jets.

Laurence Maroney and the running game will look to break out against the Jets.

Overview: This battle of unbeaten teams could set the tone for the AFC East in 2009. Many think that if Mark Sanchez is the real deal, the Jets could compete with the Patriots for the division crown.

I expect that when the season is over and ready for analysis the Jets victory at Houston will end up being more impressive than the come-from-behind miracle the Patriots pulled off at home against the Buffalo Bills.

Rex Ryan has obviously brought some swagger and confidence to a defensive unit that badly needed both.

The Patriots stumbled through their opener, but still in the end proved that they are the Patriots and they know how to make the big plays when needed in crunch time.

Last Week: It was definitely not the kind of game the Patriots expected. Trailing the Buffalo Bills at home by 11 points with less than three minutes remaining in the season opener. However, years of success has taught the Patriots that anything can happen if you relax and let it come to you. That is exactly what Tom Brady and the Patriots did. They played within themselves and made the plays down the stretch to win the game.  Brady started out a little sluggish, but he finished strong and I believe ended any worries about his future health.

The Jets went into Houston with a rookie coach and a rookie quarterback and put a serious whooping on the home team. Mark Sanchez passed for 272 yards and a touchdown and generally did not look like a rookie making his first NFL start. Thomas Jones rushed for 107 yards and took pressure away from Sanchez. The defense limited the highly touted Texans offense to 183 yards. Their only touchdown of the game came on a fumble recovery.

All-Time Series: For the second week in a row, the Patriots are playing another original AFL franchise. The Jets hold a slight 49-47-1 advantage in the all-time series. Last season the Patriots won the first meeting of the season 19-10 at the Meadowlands in week two of the season. The Jets then won a shootout on November 13 by the score of 34-31 as Brett Favre passed for 258 yards and two touchdowns.

Key Questions Entering Week Two:
New York Jets: I guess for New York the biggest question this week is whether the Jets can sustain the momentum from week one. Even though they are at home, the Patriots will be a tougher test for the Jets than the Texans. These two teams have a long history and the Patriots will be more than happy to give Sanchez his first NFL loss. I believe that the key to the New York offense will ultimately be the running game. If Jones is able to continue taking pressure off Sanchez and keeping defenses from keying on the passing attack, I think the young quarterback will continue to be able to succeed.

New England Patriots: A defense that already is missing many key players from the past will likely be without another one this week as it is reported that Jerod Mayo could be out for several weeks following a knee injury on Monday. The second year player has been anointed the new leader of the defense, so his loss will definitely hurt the new-look Patriots defense.

David Harris could become a star in Rex Ryan's defensive system.

David Harris could become a star in Rex Ryan's defensive system.

Player To Watch:
New York Jets: Inside linebacker David Harris had 11 tackles and was all over the field against the Texans. It appears that Rex Ryan’s defensive schemes could make Harris a star. If he can frustrate Brady, the Jets could be poised for an upset.

New England Patriots: Laurence Maroney led the Patriots with 10 carries and 32 yards rushing against Buffalo. For the Patriots to have long-term success, either Maroney or Fred Taylor (9 carries, 25 yards) must have success running the football.

Predictions: I generally am not yet convinced that the Patriots are as average as they appeared for 58 minutes against the Bills. I also don’t yet believe that the Jets are as good as they were in their win over the Texans. If Jerod Mayo is indeed out, it will definitely hamper the Patriots. However, they are always motivated to beat the Jets and I think Brady and company still will find a way to get it done. The higher the score the better it will be for the Patriots, but I think they will find a way to win a relatively low scoring and intense contest.

Final Score: Patriots 17, Jets 13.

5 comments

  • I must say I disagree with a lot of this respectively. I think the Texans are overrated this year. Not only that but Im not looking to get much production out of the Pats running game, Maroney just isn't as good as hyped when he came out of college. I agree the game will be close but I see Randy Moss getting his feet in the endzone with the ball in his hands at least once in the game. On the other side I think Sanchez will be tested more by the Patriots, not only that but he will have all the pressure of performing in front of the coach enduced "home crowd cheering" I think him keeping his composure throughout the game and not making any mistakes like in week 1 will be the key for the Jets. Im saying Pats by 3.

  • Mike,

    When the Patriots went 16-0 in 2007 they ranked 9th in the NFL in rushing attempts and 13th in yards rushing. Last season they ranked fourth in attempts and sixth in rushing yards. Through the first week of 2009 they ranked 19th in attempts and 24th in yards rushing. If they hope to have a great season and keep pressure off Brady, they must see improvement in those numbers and at least get toward the middle of the pack in the NFL in rushing, which is why I see the running game as being a key for the Patriots. You may be right about Maroney, he has definitely been inconsistent. But between Maroney, Taylor, Faulk and their other backs, the Pats must get enough total production to balance the passing game.

    As for the Texans, I agree that they aren't a playoff team like some people have them, but I still expect they will win more games this season than the Bills, thus making the Jets win on the road in Houston a more impressive victory than the Patriots beating the Bills at home.

    As you saw, I also think the Pats will win, but expect it to be a close game throughout.

  • I think Fred Taylor and not Maroney will be the workhorse for the Patriots. Maroney has win be over with a few big games, he started out nice last week but tailed off.

    I will take Bill Belichick against a rookie QB any day of the week. Sanchez will lose this game for the Jets. I smell a pick 6.

    Pats 28 Jets 10

  • Hats off to Rex Ryan and the Jets D. They confused Brady and the offense was underwhelming for sure!

  • dehybl –
    Yes we did MUCH more running last year cause we had a rookie QB. If you think we need to run a lot this year you are CRAZY. Our RB are horrible. Bills will win more games then the Texans this year IMO as well. Our defense is too spotty as well. Not reliable as we can see when comparing individual stats from week 1 and 2. I agree we need to take some pressure off Brady by running but NO ONE can run. We are in for a long season, hopefully Bill will run more in the first half like he did in game 1 to ttire out the teams D for the passing game to take control in the second half. Maroney, Galloway and Watson love dropping passes as well.

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