I’m off to a good start this season with my picks. Thanks to cleaning up on Monday Night, I finished 11-5 last week against the spread in my picks, and 14-2 picking games straight up.
I’ll be picking tonight’s Jets-Patriots contest, and will post the rest of my picks on Saturday. Once again, I’ll be using the lines from ESPN. This will also be your final opportunity to get in the FalcFans ESPN Pigskin Pick’em group before it is locked for the season.
New York Jets (1-0) at New England Patriots (1-0)
Thursday, September 12 at 8:25 pm ET on NFL Network
Line: Patriots (-12.5)
I won’t lie, the Jets unexpected win last week gives me a bit of pause. That win over the Bucs, and the Pats’ last-minute win over the Bills were two of the games I missed last week. So it makes me a bit wary that I haven’t assessed either team as well as I had thought.
The line is really big for what I think should be a closer contest. Traditionally the Jets get blown out when they travel to Foxborough. Since Rex Ryan took over the gig in 2009, the Jets are 0-4 on the road against the Patriots in the regular season. They have lost by an average margin of nearly 18 points, although that latter stat is inflated by the 45-3 smackdown the Pats put on the Jets back in 2010. So it’s really more like a 10-point margin of victory in most of these contests.
There is bad blood between these two teams/organizations and there is nothing short of the Hand of God that will stop Belichick from running up the score on the Jets if he can. But I don’t see that happening. Danny Amendola was the Pats’ best receiver last week vs. the Bills and the offense did little with him out of the lineup in the second and third quarters. He isn’t expected to play tonight, which will mean Julian Edelman will have to fill in. Unless Stevan Ridley can bounce back (he got yanked after coughing up the ball in the second quarter) and have a really strong performance, now that Shane Vereen is shelved for awhile, I’m not sure the Patriots offense is going to be able to put up the sort of point totals we’ve become accustomed to seeing in this rivalry game.
The Jets did do a pretty good job containing Doug Martin last week. I think Ridley will respond with a solid game tonight, but I’m not sure he’s going to run wild to the degree that he needs to for the Patriots to put up a bunch of points. So this seems like another potential low-scoring affair for the Pats offense.
So if the Pats are to cover, the big question is about the Jets offense. E.J. Manuel had a solid game against New England last week for a rookie. Geno Smith had an even better debut with the Jets against a good Bucs defense. But will a two-headed backfield consisting of Bilal Powell and Chris Ivory, and a passing attack spearheaded by Kellen Winslow and Jeremy Kerley really give the Pats problems? Young quarterbacks typically struggle on the road, and I don’t suspect Geno is going to be any different tonight.
Spread Pick: Jets
Straight Pick: Patriots