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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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The Huddle
~ 2008 ~
Season Ticket
Sunday Late

Prediction: NYJ 13, NE 24

Round two on Thursday for these divisional foes that had the Patriots win 19-10 against the Jets in week two. This is the game back at Gillette stadium and last year's much anticipated game was a horrible weather game. What makes this one more fun is that not only did the Jets cost the Pats a ton of fine money last year, but these teams are tied at 6-3 to lead the AFC East and both Miami and Buffalo are only one game back. No room for errors now... oh look, Brett Favre!

New York Jets (6-3)
Homefield: Giants Stadium
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @MIA 20-14 -3 36
2 NE 10-19 -1.5 39
3 @SD 29-48 +9 44
4 ARZ 56-35 -3 45
5 BYE - - -
6 CIN 26-14 -6 45
7 @OAK 13-16 -3 42.5
8 KC 28-24 -13 38
9 @BUF 26-17 +5.5 43
10 STL 47-3 -8.5 44.5
11 @NE - +3.5 41.5
12 @TEN - - -
13 DEN - - -
14 @SF - - -
15 BUF - - -
16 @SEA - - -
17 MIA - - -
NYJ at NE Rush Catch Pass
QB Brett Favre     190,1
RB Thomas Jones 80    
RB Leon Washington 20 30  
TE Dustin Keller   20  
WR Laveranues Coles   60,1  
WR Jerricho Cotchery   50  
WR Chansi Stuckey   20  
PK Jay Feely 2 FG 1 XP  
Pregame Notes: The Jets are on a three game winning streak and come off a humiliating 47-3 win over the Rams. The year is already a success by many measures but a win this week would make all the difference in the world, particularly since the Pats already have one win against them in the week after Brady was lost. These next two weeks at New England and then Tennessee are the two toughest matches left on the schedule. But no game is as important as this one.

Quarterback: Brett Favre has cooled down since his early weeks and even then he only passed for 181 yards and one touchdown against the Patriots in week two. The only change from then until now is that he finally had a game without an interception when they pasted the Rams. Otherwise the interceptions have been far more regular than the touchdowns since Favre has thrown only three over the last four games..

Running Backs: Thomas Jones ran for 70 yards on 17 carries in the first meeting with the Patriots. But after a slump, he has picked it up better on the last five games with a total of nine scores and twice topping 100 rushing yards. Leon Washington also has a bigger role now than back in week two and will figure in. One key fact - only one of his nine scores came in a road game.

Jones has been running better though and will be relied on this week since he has become the main weapon of the offense.

Wide Receivers: Laveranues Coles gained 72 yards on three catches while Jerricho Cotchery only managed one catch for 20 yards against the Pats earlier this year. Chansi Stuckey had the touchdown catch but hasn't been a factor since week three.

Both Coles and Cotchery are limited in practice this week but will both be playing on Thursday. The receivers have been on a down trend for stats in the last month while Jones is rushing better.

Tight Ends: On most teams, tight ends get increased use the tougher the secondary since they are an additional target. But not so much in New York since Dustin Keller has all but disappeared in tough games (like one catch versus the Pats this year). But in easy games, he does better. He had a career mark with 107 yards and a score in the roll-up-the-score over the Rams last week. So far he has not been a factor the tougher the opponent and this week is probably as tough as it gets.

Match Against the Defense: Jones has his work cut out this week with the Patriots only allowing one runner to rush in a touchdown against them. Look for moderate yardage since Jones is running better but no score here.

Favre faces a secondary that has not allowed more than one passing score to a visitor and his previous game against the Pats is a good expectation this week. The one score should end up with a wide receiver and most likely Coles.

Gaining Fantasy Points NYJ 11 9 9 15 10 2
Preventing Fantasy Points    NE 14 8 24 14 5 14

New England Patriots (5-3)
Homefield: Gillette Stadium
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 KC 17-10 -16.5 45
2 @NYJ 19-10 +1.5 39
3 MIA 13-38 -13 34.5
4 BYE - - -
5 @SF 30-21 -3 41.5
6 @SD 10-30 +6 44.5
7 DEN 41-7 -3 46.5
8 STL 23-16 -7 43.5
9 @IND 15-18 +5.5 45
10 BUF 20-10 -4 41
11 NYJ - -3.5 41.5
12 @MIA - - -
13 PIT - - -
14 @SEA - - -
15 @OAK - - -
16 ARZ - - -
17 @BUF - - -
NEP vs NYJ Rush Catch Pass
QB Matt Cassell     230,2
RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis 50,1    
TE Ben Watson   10  
WR Randy Moss   80,1  
WR Jabar Gaffney   30  
WR Wes Welker   90,1  
PK Stephen Gostkowski 1 FG 3 XP  

Pregame Notes: The Patriots may not be blowing past all opponents this year but they have hardly gone into hiding with the loss of Tom Brady. At the top of the AFC East and a chance to win here to take sole possession, the Pats are in a good spot to be. The running back situation is in constant flux but that is how it was supposed to be. The passing game is not the best in the NFL this year but it is good enough to reach the playoffs.

Quarterback: This will be a good place to see how far Matt Cassel has come since his first ever NFL start when he threw for 165 yards and no scores in the first game with the Jets. He's hardly developed into a scoring machine with just seven passing scores on the year but he's remained above 200 passing yards in five of the last six games and settled into relying on Moss and Welker. The ground game has picked up recently and decreased his need to pass and unlike with Brady, they don't throw now if they do not need to throw.

Running Backs: The Patriots rushed for 97 yards and one touchdown using five different runners against the Jets this season. That may happen again. Sammy Morris is limited but in practice again and may play on Thursday but likely not. Kevin Faulk has taken a backseat to BenJarvus Green-Ellis who has become the new Sammy Morris until the old one gets back and even then - who knows? Lamont Jordan is still trying to get healthy again but in the end, it usually gets done and guessing how is speculation at best.

I will project for Green-Ellis as the primary runner but take that with the usual grain of salt.

Wide Receivers: Randy Moss has not lost all value but he lost enough from last year to really hurt fantasy owners. He only has four touchdowns on the season and none in the last three games. Cassel has evolved into connecting for around 50 to 60 yards in most games but that's a far cry from 2007.

Meanwhile, Wes Welker once again is the receptions pig who ranks second only to Andre Johnson (by one catch) and increasingly becomes more heavily used by Cassel every week. Against the Bills, Welker had a season high 10 catches for 107 yards. The yardage and catches are there for Welker but less so for Moss.

Moss only caught two passes for 22 yards and Welker had seven receptions for 72 yards in the first game with the Jets.

Tight Ends: Cassel may not even know the names of the tight ends. No fantasy value.

Match Against the Defense: Have to assume that in a big game, at home against a foe you already beat that this time it will be even better. Cassel is more comfortable and Favre is less productive. Look for a decent rushing game here but not a big one since the Jets actually have a sound rush defense that has not allowed any runner more than 74 yards this season. Green-Ellis should score once but the yardage will be lower this week.

Cassel faces a secondary that always allows a touchdown even to JaMarcus Russell. Rivers had three scores and Pennington two touchdowns when the Jets visited them. I like two passing scores in this game that by trend should go to Watson or Thomas but the Pats never use their tight ends this year. I'll split them between Moss and Welker since hardly anyone else matters on this team.

Gaining Fantasy Points NE 24 8 16 30 3 29
Preventing Fantasy Points    NYJ 20 9 7 30 8 26

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