Monday, November 29, 2010

New York Jets vs New England Patriots: NYJ +3.5
After suffering through a pitiful MNF game in week 12, things get a whole lot brighter as NY and NE face off to fight for the division title.  There will be a lot of people who will be reluctant to go with NY in this game because Brady's record at home is no joke.  He loves the spotlight and is Joe Montana-esque in the clutch.  However, before the season I predicted that this would be the year that they fall from their perch and that NY would take the division from them.  Nothing I've seen during the season has changed my mind as Sanchez has spent more time improving his game than eating hot dogs on the sidelines.  Most of their off-season additions have enhanced the depth on this team and Revis will be healthy this time around.  However, instead of worrying about Moss, NY will need to contend with a short passing, ball control offense.  The days of bombing the ball down the field are gone as Brady bleeds defenses to death by sustaining drives.  They average over two TD's a game from long drives and this is reflected in their high red zone/third down offensive stats.  NE is also a team leading the league in turnover differential.  Given all this you might be wondering why I would dare to take NY in this game.  They are in fact 2-6 in their last 8 trips to Gillette Stadium after all.

First off, unlike many other handicappers, I don't put too much weight in trends that go back many years.  There is too much roster and coaching turnover to make any relevant links to these trends and the game itself goes through significant changes too.  I'm more concerned about the current season trends and how specific matchups look.  When you take a closer look at this game NY should have a lot of their own success sustaining drives and getting points from them too.  They also average 2 TD's per game from 60+ yard drives this year and will have a nice advantage on the ground on both sides of the ball.  L.T. doesn't look as fresh as he did earlier in the year which is one of the main reasons why Greene's touches have increased over the past month, but together they form a nice one-two punch.  They get to run behind a stout offensive line and this continues to open up the passing game for Sanchez to find open receivers down the field.  NE's defense continues to struggle mightily on third down and in the red zone.   NY continue to take too many penalties, but they play well enough to overcome this aggressive approach.  This is the style that Rex Ryan accepts and that won't change in their biggest game of the season.  This will be a knock-out, drag em out fight and I'll be enjoying it as a fan.  The line has moved to -3 at many places so if you can still find the hook grab it.  It could prove the difference in a game that could go down to the wire.  Prediction: Bank NYJ +3.5.

Bonus Props:

Greene 55.5 Rushing Yards: OVER

Green-Ellis 58.5 Rushing Yards: UNDER