Somebody mentioned something about this being a big game, so we figured we’d check the archives and yep, wouldn’t you know indeed it is.
The last time the Jets and Patriots met after Week 1 of the season, they carried palindrome records into the Meadowlands. But it was primes across the board following New York’s 28-14 win, one in which Tom Brady had the worst half of his 2010 season, insisting on forcing the ball into some dude’s hands that have since seemingly vanished from existence. (For the Titans’ sake, they’d better hope Randy Moss’ parents kiss at the Enchantment Under the Sea dance sometime soon.)
Here’s who played in that game for New England: Moss, Kevin Faulk, Fred Taylor, and Stephen Gostkowski. Might as well have been played in 2009.
For all intents and purposes, considering the turnaround on this team, it was.
Not sure if you’ve heard or not, this game should determine who wins the AFC East. But the Patriots still have a tough schedule remaining, at the defensive juggernaut that is Chicago, home against an inconsistent, but dangerous Green Bay, and at the Buffalo Bills, who may or may not have God on their side by the time the Patriots arrive on Dec. 26. There’s also Miami. At home. On Jan. 2.
Swap Packers for Steelers, and the Jets face the same road. So, yeah, it’ sort of like a playoff game Monday night on Route One between Bill Belichick and Rex Ryan. Bring plenty of snacks.
This week’s picks:
Peter King, Sports Illustrated: Patriots 27, Jets 20. “Ye Olde New England Donnybrook. I expect varied coverages on the Patriots tight ends, with Darrelle Revis not being isolated on Wes Welker for four quarters, but there aren’t three Revises. I also expect Tom Brady to find Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski enough to win.”
ESPN.com staff: Six out of seven pick the Patriots. (Calling the game Monday night, Ron Jaworski doesn’t pick.
Globe staff:Three out of four pick the Patriots (Pats by 3 ½).
Pete Prisco, CBS Sports: Patriots 24, Jets 17. “This is probably for the division title. The Jets have talked a big game since the summer and now have a chance to show that all that bluster was for real. But this is a league where coaches and quarterbacks win. In this game, I’ll take Bill Belichick and Tom Brady over Rex Ryan and Mark Sanchez. I think Brady has success picking that Jets defense apart, making quick throws to avoid all those blitzes. Patriots win by a touchdown.”
CBS Sports.com staff: Four out of five pick the Patriots.
Sporting News staff: Five out of seven pick the Pats.
Mike Florio, ProFootballTalk.com: Patriots 31, Jets 21. “Intentionally or not, the Patriots have developed the perfect offense to attack the Jets’ defense. With pressure coming from anywhere, the Pats can deliver the ball everywhere. Tom Brady currently has a level of determination and motivation rarely witnessed in any level of any sport, and he’s on his way to winning the second NFL MVP award of his Hall of Fame career.”
Gregg Rosenthal, ProFootballTalk.com: Patriots 20, Jets 17. “This is billed as the biggest game of the year. It’s great theater. But it’s still not going to tell us much, especially if the Patriots win to split the season series. The remaining schedule for both teams is so difficult that it’s easy to see the loser of this game still winning the division. Both teams should make the playoffs, which also takes a bit of pressure off. The Patriots are playing slightly better overall and have the homefield advantage (and 16 straight December home wins), so I’ll take them in a toss up that will be lower scoring than expected.”
Greg Cote, Miami Herald: Patriots 27, Jets 23. “Playoff feel guaranteed as division rivals tied for NFL’s best record dive into winter, the winner claiming AFC inside rail in run for the Super Bowl. Great marquee game for the Monday folks, making amends for last week’s 49ers-Cardinals lemon. Planes won 28-14 in September but beating a good team twice is tough in this league, and Tom Brady is way hot. When in doubt, go with the elite QB playing at home.”
Pete Schrager, Foxsports.com: Patriots 26, Jets 17. “All things seem to come full circle in the NFL, even with the scheduling gods. A week after America was “treated” to a difficult-to-watch Cardinals-49ers snoozefest, we get arguably the biggest game of the season up to now with the Jets traveling to Foxborough. Both teams are coming off uncanny 12-day rests (they both played on Thanksgiving), so look for two very prepared teams, using every trick in their bags. That means Brad Smithreverse plays, Danny Woodhead shovel passes and the occasional fake punt or halfback option. In the end, give me the Patriots at home in an absolute slugfest.”
Dave Goldberg, NFL FanHouse: Jets 30, Patriots 20. “o, this isn’t a sure thing, but …Tradition prevails?”
USA Today staff: Six out of eight pick the Patriots.
Yahoo! sports staff: New England across the board.
Joe Namath: TBD. He just wants to tee off Patriots fans and “kick their butts Monday night.”
We like: Patriots 35, Jets 28. A pair of defensive scores, including one late, seals the deal for New England.