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The NFL Network's first Thursday night game features the surprising 1-0 New York Jets against the equally surprising 1-0 New England Patriots.
It is surprising that the Jets won. It is surprising the way in which the Patriots won. Now both teams will have to dispense with the surprises and get down to some football.
Here are five things we will be watching for Thursday night:
5. Danny Amendola
It is all but a certainity that Amedola will not play Thursday. That is if he played for any other team but the Patriots. As is the "Patriots Way" he is neither ruled out or in. What we do know is he did not participate in the walk-through. For fantasy purposes I would sit him. But for the Patriots Way, I would not be surprised if he played the second half, if needed.
4. New York Jets Running Backs
The running game for the Jets in the first week was non-existent. The leading rusher was quarterback Geno Smith with 47 yards. To be fair the running game for almost every team in the NFL for Week 1 was non-existent. The problem is, the Jets need a running game. Remember ground and pound? Aaahhh fond memories.
Last week Bilal Powell had 12 attempts for an unremarkable 29 yards, while Chris Ivory carried 10 times for a futile 15 yards.
If the Jets hope to win this one they will need the running backs to find their footing and be relevant.
3. Geno Smith
Smith played well enough in his first NFL start. He passed for 24-for-38 for 256 yards with one touchdown and one interception. As stated above he was also the leading rusher with 47 yards. All that will be remembered however, is that the Jets won.
Smith needs to play tighter to be beat the Patriots.
If he loses the stats become the focus. He can either continue to hope for improbable wins or tighten up his stats. Against the Patriots the latter will work better than the former.
2. Tom Brady and the Patriots' Receiving Corps
Brady is Brady. Aside from his evident frustration with the lack of continuity with his receivers, you never doubt the magic that is Brady.
Rex Ryan is a mild form of kryptonite to Brady's superpowers. Sometimes it works and sometimes it fizzes. With Ryan's focus back on his defense, it just might work Thursday. Brady will have to reach deep for the special superpowers to overcome the ineptness in his receiving corp.
1. NFL Network
I am almost never amazed at the mind-numbingly long pre-game show/extravaganza that precedes the Thursday night games. You don't want to spend all that time with self-promotion of Deion Sanders, but you can't not look!
It's a new year right? So we are watching the first pregame anticipating better just hoping it doesn't get worse. It can't right?