Even against the New York Jets in the Patriots’ home opener, a 12-point spread is a surprise, particularly considering that Tom Brady will have Julian Edelman and a crop of wide receivers that need towels to dry off the back of their ears at his disposal Thursday night.
Twelve points seems quite a bit, especially when you consider Shane Vereen (101 rushing yards against the Bills in Week 1) and Danny Amendola (104 yards receiving) are out and doubtful, respectively. No Rob Gronkowski. No Brandon Lloyd, even if the rumors about the Patriots wanting him back are true.
There might not be any Sudfeld or Dobson. Doug Gabriel would look like an All-Pro on this team right now.
Pats fans should have little doubt Brady can pull this off. But 12 points?
Well … maybe.
This week’s picks.
Globe Staff: Jets across the board (Patriots by 12).
Zuri Berry, Boston.com: Jets. “Geno Smith was mostly solid in his NFL debut, but he struggled when facing pressure. He was 3 of 12 on 20 drop backs when pressured and was sacked five times. All the Patriots need is to bring a little pressure to really run the tables. But there is great doubt the Patriots can cover a 13-point spread after struggling with the Bills. There's too much uncertainty with the availability of Danny Amendola, Zach Sudfeld, and Aaron Dobson in question. “
John Boell, Newsday: Jets (Patriots by 12). “But the biggest number to look at here is the spread itself. For a divisional game, I think it's too big. I don't think the Jets will open 2-0, but they'll keep this one close enough.”
ESPN.com staff: Patriots across the board.
ESPNBoston.com staff: All Patriots.
Pete Prisco, CBS Sports.com: Patriots 34, Jets 16. “Geno Smith had a solid first game for the Jets in beating the Bucs. But I think he will run into big problems here in his first road game. The Jets defense was solid against the Bucs, but this is Tom Brady. He took a while to get going last week, but I see him getting it going here. Patriots big.”
CBS Sports.com staff: Five out of eight pick the Jets (Patriots by 13 ½).
Greg Cote, Miami Herald: Patriots 27, Jets 13. “Pats are missing some key offensive pieces (Rob Gronkowski still out, Shane Vereen out, Danny Amendola doubtful), but I’d expect the Tri-Cornered Hats to dominate defensively. Money flowing to the ’dogs bumped the line from 13 points to 12. Then again, Jets fans don’t exactly lead the league in Mensa members. Even depleted, Bill Belichick’s squad is two TDs better at home than what Rex Ryan is putting out there.”
USA Today staff: All Pats.
Yahoo! sports staff: Patriots across the board.
It says here: Patriots 20, Jets 10. You’ll want to hit the snooze bar somewhere during the third quarter of this one.