New England Patriots at New York Jets: Three Bold Predictions
This is one of those division rivalries that isn't among the top three in the league, but it always delivers enough intrigue to keep you coming back for more.
In the two team's matchup back in Week 7, it was the Patriots that narrowly won the game, coming down to a Stephen Gostkowski 48-yard field goal in overtime.
That win by the Patriots, tied the all-time regular season series at 51-51-1.
In fact, the Patriots are 18-6 in the last 24 matchups and are on a three-game winning streak in the series.
The Jets have a lot to play for this week, especially if they have any aspirations of making the playoffs at all.
I predict they will be watching the playoffs from home once again this season, but we shall see in the coming weeks. Coming into the game, the Jets are 4-6 and three games behind the Patriots, at 7-3.
Lets get to this week's Three Bold Predictions, shall we.
1. The Patriots will win the game by double-digits.
As mentioned early, the first meeting needed overtime, but since that time the Patriots are averaging 47 points per game and they are 7-1 when scoring 29 or more points in a game.
Even with the absence of Tom Brady's favorite target, tight end Rob Gronkowski, Brady will find a way to put 30-plus on the board. It is on the defensive side of the ball, where the difference is going to come.
With the addition of Aqib Talib at cornerback, opposite Devin McCourtey, the Patriots have a more secure secondary and they will be able to put pressure on Mark Sanchez. The extra pressure will force Sanchez into bad decisions and turnovers. Look for a touchdown from the Patriots' defense in this game.
2. Stevan Ridley rushes for over 100 yards and a touchdown.
The Patriots aren't known for running the ball a lot, but they have shown more discipline this season than in the past few seasons, utilizing backs Stevan Ridley, Danny Woodhead, and Shane Vereen.
Ridley, a third-round selection in 2011, has gone over the 100-yard mark four games this season and has 842 yards on the season. He is coming into this game, on a three-game touchdown streak and after Sunday it will be four.
The Jets are giving up 141.9 yards per game on the ground this season and what better way for the Patriots to beat the Jets than to run it down Rex Ryan's throat, in the absence of Gronkowski.
3. Bill Belichick will become eighth coach with 200 wins.
With a Patriots win this Thursday night, head coach Bill Belichick will move into a sixth-place tie with Marty Schottenheimer, for wins, with his 200th. Belichick would then trail Paul Brown in fifth place by only 12 wins and all-time leader Don Shula by 127. Shula compiled 328 career wins in 33 seasons.
To put that number into perspective, Belichick would need to coach another ten years and average 12.7 wins a season over that time and he would catch Shula. It may seem like an eternity away, but it is very possible if Belichick coaches as long as Shula did.
Shula averaged 9.9 wins a season for 33 years and if Belichick coaches 33 years on his current pace, he would finish his career with 439 wins, shattering Shula's record.
That is a long ways down the road, but Thursday night is the start of another chapter in Bill Belichick lore with his 200th win. Brady has been with Belichick for the majority of those wins, 131 regular season and 16 playoff, including 3 Super Bowl Wins.
FINAL SCORE: 33 - 17 Patriots
The Jets are coming off a big win against the St. Louis Rams, but isn't everybody these days. They have all but been eliminated from the playoffs and I can't imagine anyone would love driving that stake a little deeper than Belichick and Brady. The Patriots are playing too well right now, look for them to win their fourth straight matchup versus the Jets.