Written By: Sal Vassallo
As we sit here in week 9, we gear up for another week of Monday night football!!! This matchup features the New England Patriots (2-5) visiting their division rival, New York Jets (0-7).
This will be a Monday night rematch from last season where Tom Brady and the Patriots decimated Sam Darnold and the Jets 33-0. The type of horrific play the Jets played in that game is pretty much how they have been playing all year. Anemic offense and shoddy defense have led the Jets to be in the discussion as the worst team in NFL history. As for the Patriots, their season has been up and a lot of downs. Now, of course with long time QB Tom Brady leaving for Tampa Bay this past offseason, Cam Newton has been the starting QB in New England and has had a very up and down season. The Patriots suddenly look like an average NFL team post-Brady, and the recent weeks have arguably been the worst of it. The team was blown out by San Francisco and lost 24-21 to the Buffalo Bills as Cam Newton fumbled on the final drive.
In terms of injuries, the Jets will have all three starting wide receivers (Denzel Mims, Breshad Perriman, and Jamison Crowder) playing Monday for the first time all year. Of course, that good injury news comes with the bad news that starting quarterback Sam Darnold will miss the Monday night game with a shoulder injury he re-aggravated against the Kansas City Chiefs last week. Some exciting news for the Jets is that fifth-round rookie cornerback Bryce Hall could finally make his NFL debut after having ankle surgery this past offseason. Hall could have easily gone higher had he not suffered that ankle injury and as a Jets fan myself, I’m excited to see him play. As for the Patriots, a couple of big hits to Bill Belichick’s squad are that defensive tackle Lawrence Guy and star cornerback Stephon Gilmore will not be playing due to shoulder and knee injuries respectively.
Comparing the team stats for both sides, the Jets are 0-7 for a reason. Their offense is 20th or worse in every category including dead last in total yards, points per game, and 3rd down percentage. Let’s just say rookie punter Braden Mann has been busy and also very good. Defensively, their secondary has really struggled, going for 29th in pass defense and 26th in total yards. Their run defense has looked fairly good, especially with the emergence of second-year defensive tackle Quinnen Williams. Looking at New England, defensively they are a strong unit, ranking top fifteen in pass defense, total yards, and points allowed. While the loss of Stephon Gilmore will hurt that pass defense, the Jets should look to expose the Patriots suspect run defense that ranked 27th in football. Look for veteran Frank Gore and rookie LaMical Perrine to get plenty of work, especially with Joe Flacco and not Sam Darnold at quarterback. As for the Patriots strategy, it could be a potential breakout game for Cam Newton in a Patriots uniform. While they have struggled with everybody, they struggle especially with mobile quarterbacks such as the Bills’ Josh Allen and the Arizona Cardinals Kyler Murray. Look for Newton to have a nice day both running and throwing the football.
While the Jets look awful, the Patriots are not world-beaters themselves and with three healthy starting wide receivers, maybe Joe Flacco could score some points against the Patriots defense, especially if the Jets can establish the run. Now don’t get me wrong, I fully expect the Patriots to win this game, but I think it can be close for a while. I expect Bill Belichick to squish the bug that is Adam Gase and the New York Jets, but it could be a competitive game, something Jets fans have not been able to say much of this season.
`Score Prediction: Patriots 28 – Jets 14