Reid Fischer's World of Rants

Looking at the sports world through orange colored glasses

Jets-Patriots Recap plus Week Eleven Picks

Posted by mizzou1028 on November 14, 2008

Well, for the second straight week I was incorrect on the Thursday night game.  Needless to say, I did not expect the Jets to jump out the way they did on the road.  Leon Washington’s kickoff return was clearly a momentum changer early, and the Jets offense was really clicking in the first half.  Give the Patriots a lot of credit for battling back from a 24-6 deficit and giving themselves a chance to win, even if they were unable to pull it out.  I really thought New England made the right call going for it on 4th down twice at the end of the first half, even though one of them was unsuccessful, because kicking a field goal when you’re down 24-6 does not help you.  The Patriots ended up scoring a critical touchdown before halftime that gave them a much needed boost for the second half.  Had they kicked the field goal to cut it to 24-9, odds are the second half would have turned out to be much easier for the Jets.

The last 20 minutes of the game (including the overtime) was simply a display of terrific football.  After the Patriots tied it at 24, the Jets chewed up more than seven minutes off the clock with a short passing game and a sense of purpose.  Brett Favre made the throws you would expect of a sure fire Hall of Famer, and when Thomas Jones capped it off with a touchdown to put the Jets up 31-24, you got the sense the game was still not over.  Even when the Jets got the ball back with just over two minutes to go, New England knew they could get the ball back with a stop.  Sure enough the Patriots got it back with 1:15 on the clock, and Matt Cassel evoked memories of Tom Brady, chewing up the Jets prevent defense with short passes to Wes Welker, and managing the clock beautifully.  His throw on the run to Randy Moss for the tying touchdown with one second left was phenomenal, and Moss did a great job hauling it in even with Ty Law draped all over him.  New England appeared to have all the momentum heading into overtime, even after the Jets won the coin flip.  

They did until Brett Favre answered Cassel in the overtime, escaping what looked like a sure sack to convert a key 3rd & 14 to keep the drive alive deep in his own territory.  Favre then made precision throw after precision throw, mixed in with hard running by Jones, and the Jets won it on a Jay Feely field goal 34-31.  It is unfortunate that New England never saw the ball in overtime, but their defense was unable to come up with a stop when needed.  I am one that does not think the overtime rule needs to be changed, even though a lot of times the team that wins the toss marches right down for a field goal.  New England had several chances to come up with a stop, and beyond that, Bill Belichick elected to go the safe route and kick the extra point and send the game to OT with one second left, rather than going for two and the win.  Clearly, that is a judgement call that does not necessarily have a right answer, as teams going for two in that situation are one for two this season.  I am one though where I would seriously think about going for two there if there is a chance my offense may not see the ball in OT.  Regardless of that, the Jets were able to pull the road upset in a very entertaining game and take control of first place in the AFC East.  That is exactly why the Jets signed Favre, for that kind of performance.  The Patriots will not go away quietly, but New York is in the driver’s seat for the time being.  If all of these Thursday games are bound to be this exciting, perhaps the Bengals may have hope next week in Pittsburgh?  I still say not likely.  At any rate, on to the picks, keeping in mind I’m already 0-1 this week:

 

Last Week: 10-4 (.714) Season: 89-54 (.622)

– Dolphins over Raiders: This has complete mismatch written all over it.  Miami has very quietly won three in a row, and can actually vault into second place in the AFC East with a win.  Miami is getting a fantastic year out of Joey Porter, and he has really energized the defense.  The Dolphins are also getting great running out of Ronnie Brown and (surprise!) Ricky Williams.  The Raiders are a complete joke in every way, especially when they’ve played on the road this year.  Even in a game where they forced Jake Delhomme into four picks last week, they still managed to score just six points.  Oakland will not be able to move the ball in this game, and Chad Pennington will not get rattled in the pocket.  The Dolphins have enough offense to win their fourth straight, setting up a showdown with New England next week.

– Eagles over Bengals: Philadelphia knows they must win this game to even be in the mix in the NFC East, especially since they have tough games with Baltimore and Arizona coming up after this one.  The Eagles had chances to win last week against the Giants despite getting dominated in time of possession, and have way too much talent to be stuck at 5-4.  Donovan McNabb and Brian Westbrook are actually healthy, and spells bad news for Cincinnati’s defense in this one.  The Bengals are coming off their first win of the year, and have showed signs of life at times this year, but they will not be able to keep up in this one.  Ryan Fitzpatrick under center against Jim Johnson’s ballhawking Eagles defense is not a good combination.  The lack of interest in ticket sales in Cincinnati also means there will be lots of green in the stands at Paul Brown Stadium.  Philadelphia survives an early punch and then pulls away late.

– Giants over Ravens: This will be a great game.  The Giants keep proving doubters wrong who picked them to falter after winning the Super Bowl last year, having won yet another tough road game last week in Philadelphia.  The Giants have great balance on offense with Brandon Jacobs and Eli Manning is playing at least as good as his older brother.  The defense has also been effective despite losing both defensive ends from last year’s team.  Baltimore continues to surprise at 6-3, having blown out the Texans not only with their usual tough defense, but now the Ravens have an offense to go with it.  Now that Willis McGahee is healthy again, the Ravens offense can cause problems for opponents in addition to the defense.  I expect a tough physical game from both teams that will probably come down to turnovers.  I take the Giants at home, but if the game were in Baltimore I would be really tempted to go the other way.  Still, the Giants are the defending champs and they will prove why by pulling this one out.

– Steelers over Chargers: Both teams are extremely desperate for a win.  The object the Steelers see in their rear view mirror that is the Ravens keeps getting closer and closer, and Pittsburgh wants to get that winning feeling back after losing two of their last three, both at home.  Ben Roethlisberger will start again for the Steelers and they will need him to take care of the ball.  Willie Parker really will be back this time, and that will help the Steelers offense tremendously.  San Diego has way too much talent to be 4-5, but it does seem very clear that they do miss Shawne Merriman more than anticipated on defense.  The Chargers know they can sill win the AFC West with Denver hobbling, and we keep waiting for the light bulb to go on.  Still, the Chargers barely beat Kansas City this week, and we know the track record of west coast teams heading east.  Pittsburgh wins a close one.  

– Colts over Texans: Houston’s best chance of beating the Colts came in September, when the Texans blew a 27-10 lead with under five minutes to play.  After Indianapolis made that comeback, and factoring the trouncing the Texans took against Baltimore last week, and there is no way Houston has any mojo heading into this game.  The Colts meanwhile have been red hot, earning back to back wins against the Patriots and Steelers.  Reggie Wayne has certainly picked up the slack for a struggling Marvin Harrison, and Peyton Manning is finally starting to look like his old self again.  Suddenly, Indianapolis has a very friendly schedule down the stretch, and the Colts look like playoff material.  Factor in that the Texans are still stuck with Sage Rosenfels, he of two fumbles in three minutes against the Colts last meeting, and there is no way the Colts don’t roll in front of the home fans.  

– Jaguars over Titans: I know, I know, I keep picking against Tennessee and they keep winning.  I keep waiting for the thank you card from Jeff Fisher any day now thanking me for continuing to pick against them.  This pick has less to do with Tennessee and more to do with Jacksonville, who finally got the running game going last week.  Okay, so it was against the Lions, but if the Jags can get a repeat performance from Maurice Jones-Drew, they will have more than a fighting chance against the undefeated Titans.  David Garrard having the ability to make plays with his legs will also be a factor in neutralizing the Titans defense.  Tennessee could not get the running game going at all against the Bears, and to their credit they adjusted and Kerry Collins played great, but Jacksonville’s defense is better against the pass than Chicago’s.  This is a fierce division rivalry that is always close, and I have a hunch the Jaguars will save their season and get to .500 by pulling out a tough win in front of the home fans.  

– Falcons over Broncos: I expect a high scoring shootout in this one.  The Broncos offense is back to form now that they have Tony Scheffler back in the lineup to stretch the defense, and Brandon Marshall and Eddie Royal will benefit from great matchups against the Atlanta secondary.  One of them will be matched against former Bronco Dominique Foxworth, who routinely got burned in Denver, so as a Broncos fan I am licking my chops at that one.  Thing is, the Broncos are very thin at running back, having just signed old friend Tatum Bell this week.  Bell was selling cell phones in the mall last week, so who knows how good of shape he’ll be in.  Meanwhile, the Broncos defense is so banged up that none of their starting linebackers are available, although Champ Bailey may try to play.  Still, the Falcons are as red hot as anyone in the league right now, and are right in the mix in the NFC South at 6-3.  Matt Ryan is certainly not playing like a rookie, and he has an excellent matchup here against Denver’s 29th ranked pass defense, even if Bailey plays.  Factor in Denver’s complete inability to stop the run, and you also have big plays from Michael Turner and probably Jerious Norwood too.  I like Atlanta to win a close high scoring game in this one.  Side note, how ironic would it be if the Falcons beat Denver on a last second Jason Elam field goal?  My stomach churns as I type the sentence.  

– Chiefs over Saints: UPSET OF THE WEEK.  I may be nuts, but Kansas City has given terrific effort for three straight weeks, only to lose in heartbreaking fashion each time.  They lost to the Jets on a last second drive by Favre, they let a huge lead get away at home against the Bucs, and they lost in San Diego when Herm Edwards rolled the dice to go for two at the end and they didn’t get it (although that would not have been necessary if not for a missed extra point earlier in the game).  Remember the name Mark Bradley.  In fact you might want to grab him in your fantasy league if he is still available.  The rookie is rapidly emerging as a major threat in the Kansas City offense, and he and Dwayne Bowe actually have a very favorable matchup against the Saints’ secondary.  New Orleans has been up and down all year, despite an MVP type year from Drew Brees.  The Saints should get Reggie Bush back, and that will definitely help their offense in more ways than one.  Even though the Saints should score a ton of points in this game, something smells fishy here.  If Arrowhead Stadium is rocking, and the fans who have shown up this year have still been loud, than I think the Chiefs hard effort pays off in the form of an upset win.

– Packers over Bears: One of the league’s best rivalries gets renewed in the NFC North, and both teams are coming off tough losses.  This is the type of game where you have to throw the records out owing to the intense nature of the rivalry.  Chicago’s defense gave a great effort against the Titans, holding them to minus 5 yards in the first half, but their suspect pass defense ended up catching up with them in the end.  Kyle Orton will try to return for the Bears, and if he does it will really help take the pressure off rookie back Matt Forte.  Green Bay lost a bizarre game to the Vikings, where they lost despite getting an interception return for a touchdown and a punt return TD.  They would have won if not for a Mason Crosby missed field goal at the end, but it’s not often a team even has a chance to win after giving up two safeties in one game.  The fact that the Packers are back at Lambeau Field will be the sway factor in this one.  Aaron Rodgers should be able to make enough plays in the passing game to give the Packers a much needed victory, which will create a real logjam in the NFC North.  

– Panthers over Lions: Blowout of the week.  Carolina’s offense will be back to form after an off week against the Raiders in which Jake Delhomme was just 7 of 27.  The Panthers will have no problem moving the ball against the Lions to the point where last week’s offensive struggles will seem like a distant memory.  Steve Smith will have a monster day, and the Carolina running game will have a big day too.  The Lions seem unsure who will start at quarterback, but it won’t matter if it’s Daunte Culpepper or Drew Stanton, either one will have a big problem against Carolina’s attacking defense.  I can’t even come up with a feeble argument for how Detroit can even keep this game close.  They can’t run it, they can’t pass, and they can’t play defense, that about sums it up.  The 0-16 watch is on in Detroit, as the Lions schedule does not ease up after this game in any way.  

– Buccaneers over Vikings: This will be a very entertaining game.  I can’t wait to see the unstoppable force (Adrian Peterson) go against the immovable object (the Bucs defense).  Something has to give here, because Peterson is a threat for a big play every time, while Tampa Bay’s defense makes a habit of making even Pro Bowl offensive players look foolish.  If Peterson is taken away, Gus Frerotte will have a difficult time making plays in the passing game, so it will be important for the Vikings to be able to run the ball.  This game may well be decided on the other side of the ball, where it will be key for the Bucs’ offense to control the clock against the Vikings’ defense.  Most teams have had trouble running against Jared Allen and company, so the onus will be on Jeff Garcia to make plays.  Both divisions are really tight, so this a game that both teams really need.  I go with Tampa Bay because they’re playing at home, largely on the strength of their defense being at least able to contain Peterson.  

– Cardinals over Seahawks: Matt Hasselbeck is back for the Seahawks, although it screams too little too late.  Mike Holmgren’s club is 2-7 and actually trails the Cardinals by four games in the NFC West.  Seattle actually gave a valiant effort last week in Miami, and Hasselbeck’s return and the home crowd should give the Seahawks a lift, but the Cardinals know this is a game they need too.  Arizona has to deal with the Giants and the Eagles in the next two weeks, so there is no way they want to head into that stretch coming off a loss.  The Cardinals struggled at times against San Francisco last week, but Kurt Warner still made the throws he needed to, and the defense came up with big stops at the end.  This is the type of game Arizona would have blown in the past, but not this time.  Even though the Seahawks will be fired up with Hasselbeck returning, Arizona will have enough to win this one, even on the road.  

– 49ers over Rams: The question facing the Rams is have they given up on the season?  St. Louis really looked like they didn’t care last week against the Jets, and that can only mean good news for Rams’ opponents the rest of the year.  It wouldn’t surprise me to see Marc Bulger yanked in favor of Trent Green, and Steven Jackson is once again out of this game due to injury.  The 49ers played with a sense of purpose last week, and it looks like Mike Singletary is well on his way to turning things around.  If not for a crazy sequence at the end of the game, they would have upset the Cardinals, and this is the kind of game where San Francisco will be able to feel good about itself going forward.  Frank Gore should have his best game of the season, and should be able to run at will against the porous Rams’ defense.  There is talent on this Niners team, and they can begin the process of building momentum for next year now, starting with a big win here.  

– Cowboys over Redskins: Tony Romo is back for Dallas in the Sunday night game, and that will energize the Cowboys’ offense.  Dallas is also coming off a bye week, so they have had a chance to regroup.  For all that has gone wrong in Big D, they are still 5-4, and very much in the thick of the playoff race.  It is ironic that they have essentially switched positions with the Giants from last year.  Last year Dallas won the NFC East while the Giants floundered midseason and got it together at the end to win the Super Bowl.  If the Cowboys believe in history repeating itself, then they very much have a chance to make a serious run.  Romo’s return is definitely good news for Terrell Owens and Roy Williams, who has had the bye to get more comfortable with the offense.  The possible return of Felix Jones should also help Dallas get the running game going.  Washington, meanwhile, is also coming off a bye but they also got waxed by Pittsburgh in their last game.  to make matters worse, Clinton Portis is doubtful with an MCL injury.  Even if Portis plays he won’t be near 100 percent, and that will make things very difficult for the Redskins.  Even though Washington is at home, and even though it is a big rivalry, and even though the Redskins will benefit from a rocking crowd, Dallas shows they are back in the mix by collecting a huge road win on a national stage.  

– Bills over Browns: The Monday nighter seems like a big yawner compared to all the other great matchups this week, but it is very important for the Bills, who are already in last place in the AFC East despite a 5-4 record, and will further find themselves entrenched in that spot with another loss.  Buffalo has lost three straight, and their 4-0 start seems like distant history.  Trent Edwards has really struggled in the past month or so, but he has chance to get things together in this game against a Browns defense that gave up 447 yards passing to Jay Cutler last week.  Buffalo needs their defense to step up in this one, as the Browns will be sure to open things up a little more for Brady Quinn than they did in his first game.  Quinn developed great chemistry with Kellen Winslow immediately, so that could be bad news for Buffalo, but I say the Bills’ raucous home Monday night crowd will give them a lift early, and then Edwards should be able to pull something out of the bag in the second half to give the Bills the win.  Something to watch in this game also: both sets of special teams are capable of making big plays, including touchdown returns.  If one of these teams scores a special teams touchdown, it could sway the game.  Still, I like the Bills.

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One Response to “Jets-Patriots Recap plus Week Eleven Picks”

  1. Doug Baker said

    The Patriots/Jets game made me sick, literally. Nice write up. Here are my reactions to the game: http://cdbaker.wordpress.com/

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