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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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The Huddle
WEEK 2
~ 2009 ~
Season Ticket
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday
Monday
Sunday Late
*updates

Prediction: NE 23, NYJ 20

Sunday Update: Welker is inactive.

Saturday Update: Welker was still limited on Friday and listed as questionable. I am not changing his projections since the Patriots reporting of injuries is borderline unethical at times and rather unreliable. But be aware that he has been limited in practice this week and make sure that he is active on Sunday just in case.

Friday Update: Wes Welker was limited in practices this week with a knee condition but there is no word that he is in jeopardy of missing this week. Welker played the full game last Sunday so in true Patriot style, when the knee problem happened is not known. Consider him safe to play. Welker was on the injury list last week and had 12 catches.

This is usually a fun game but with Eric Mangini now in Cleveland, it loses some of the fun luster. The Pats were nearly surprised by the visiting Bills last week before Tom Brady donned his cape and saved the day. A bigger surprise laid in Houston though where the Texans were clearly unprepared to face the new Rex Ryan Jets who throttled them on defense and had the rookie Mark Sanchez play like a five year veteran (on a playoff team no less). The Pats seemed to struggle early on but finally got on the right path. The Jets tore up the Texans from the start and it only got worse as the game progressed. This is not what the Pats wanted to see.

These division rivals each won on the road when they met. The Patriots won 19-10 in New York while the Jets won 34-31 in New England.

New England Patriots (1-0)
Homefield: Gillette Stadium
FieldTurf
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 BUF 25-24 -10.5 47
2 @NYJ - -6 46
3 ATL - - -
4 BAL - - -
5 @DEN - - -
6 TEN - - -
7 @TB - - -
8 BYE - - -
9 MIA - - -
10 @IND - - -
11 NYJ - - -
12 @NO - - -
13 @MIA - - -
14 CAR - - -
15 @BUF - - -
16 JAC - - -
17 @HOU - - -
NE at NYJ Rush Catch Pass
QB Tom Brady     270,2
RB Laurence Maroney 30    
RB Kevin Faulk 10 40  
RB Fred Taylor 30 10  
TE Ben Watson   20  
WR Randy Moss   90,1  
WR Wes Welker 80,1
WR Joey Galloway   40  
PK Stephen Gostkowski 3 FG 2 XP  
Pregame Notes: The return of Tom Brady signals that all is well in Patriot Town though squeaking past the visiting Bills is no way to kick off a season. The Patriot offense was not playing like the well-oiled machine it normally does but Brady has been gone from the playing field realistically since January of 2008. Eighteen months away will make even him rusty at first. Last week should have been the annual cakewalk it always is but it wasn't. Chances are this week will be yet another unsavory surprise.

Quarterback: Tom Brady came to life again when he passed for 378 yards and two scores against the Bills. Tom Terrific settled down later in the game and resumed his deadly connection with both Randy Moss and Wes Welker. This week against the new look Jets defense, Brady has to continue that success while avoiding the problems that Matt Schaub had with the pass rush last week.

Using Cassel, the Patriots passed for 165 yards in New York against the Jets but that was week two when Brady had just been injured. Cassel later had 400 yards and three scores in week 11. Brady passed for 297 yards and three scores in the road meeting back in 2007.

The new Jets held Schaub to only 166 passing yards with one interception - at home no less. This week is a good test for both teams but until proven otherwise, you have to assume Brady can beat the defense.

Running Backs: Ah yes, those glorious basterds. Fred Taylor started the game and had a touchdown during his nine runs for 25 yards. And Laurence Maroney mixed impressive runs with getting stuffed behind the line and ended with 32 yards on ten carries. Then there is Kevin Faulk who only ran three times for seven yards but who had six receptions for 51 yards. There is a reason why you should avoid relying on any Patriot running back and proof comes just about every week.

The Pats rushed for 97 yards using five different running backs in New York last year. They only used four runners in the home meeting but only had 63 rushing yards. These Jets seem even less accommodating and held Steve Slaton to just 17 yards on nine carries. Avoid them all this week. Make that every week unless you have very low blood pressure.

Wide Receivers: Brady is back and so are gaudy numbers for Randy Moss (12-141) and Wes Welker (12-93). They started slowly enough but by the end of the game it was pure chunk and catch with the dynamic duo. No other wideout had a catch including Joey Galloway who missed both his passes.

Moss only had 22 yards on two catches in week two last year when Brady had just been injured. He later only managed 26 yards in the home meeting though he scored once in that game. Welker managed 72 yards on seven catches in the road meeting last year and 108 yards on seven receptions at home.

For what it is worth, Moss had 183 yards on nine catches in New York when Brady was playing in 2007. The Jets are going to thwart the rushing game and force the Pats to throw (though that is like forcing Kanye West to do something inappropriate - it is going to happen anyway). The Jets handled Andre Johnson but that was with Walter out. This will be a better test. Do not shy away from Welker or Moss ever.

Tight Ends: The tight end has fallen from fashion in recent seasons for the Patriots so of course that meant that Benjamin Watson had six receptions for 77 yards and two touchdowns last week. Watson usually has a big game once a year and the rest of the time you are debating whether to start him or bat him back to the waiver wire.

Swing away.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points NE 5 16 7 2 15 16
Preventing Fantasy Points    NYJ 3 6 1 10 2 4


New York Jets (1-0)
Homefield: Giants Stadium
FieldTurf
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 @HOU 24-7 +4.5 44
2 NE - +6 46
3 TEN - - -
4 @NO - - -
5 @MIA - - -
6 BUF - - -
7 @OAK - - -
8 MIA - - -
9 BYE - - -
10 JAC - - -
11 @NE - - -
12 CAR - - -
13 @BUF - - -
14 @TB - - -
15 ATL - - -
16 @IND - - -
17 CIN - - -
NYJ vs NE Rush Catch Pass
QB Mark Sanchez     230,1
RB Thomas Jones 60    
RB Leon Washington 40,1 50  
TE Dustin Keller   50,1  
WR Jerricho Cotchery   60  
WR Chansi Stuckey   40  
PK Jay Feely 2 FG 2 XP  

Pregame Notes: What a delightful surprise for the Jets fans. A new coach - again. A new rookie quarterback - lower your expectations. An old running back hitting the wall. A road game to start the season. And magic happens. The Jets dominated the Texans defensively and the rookie Sanchez looked like everything but a guy playing in his first ever NFL game using receivers that rank as average - at best. It was a dream opening to a new regime.

Quarterback: Mark Sanchez was not perfect. He did throw an interception, But he completed 18 of 31 passes for 272 yards and one score. Kind of like Peyton Manning's first game (302 yards, 1 TD and three interceptions). Those lofty comparisons are ridiculous at this point of course but for at least one week, Sanchez appears to be the real deal and a very quick study.

The Jets had Brett Favre when the faced the Brady-less Patriots last year. He passed for 181 yards and one score in the home meeting against the Pats.

The Patriots defense looked more vulnerable than usual against the Bills and allowed them 212 passing yards and two touchdowns. Sanchez is still an unknown quantity so far so expect just a moderate showing here with one passing score.

Running Backs: Thomas Jones started slowly last week but by the end he had rushed for 107 yards on 20 carries with two touchdowns. Old man who? Shonn Greene was inactive since the Jets needed the roster room for defenders on game day. Leon Washington added 15 carries for 60 yards and four receptions for 24 more yards as well. A nice start to the year for Jones who isn't quite done yet.

Jones ran for 104 yards and one score in the road game in New England but it was just the first game since Brady was hurt. He later only had 70 yards on 17 carries.

The Patriots had problems stopping Fred Jackson who gained 57 yards on 15 carries and was a huge factor as a receiver. Expect Jones to have a solid rushing total but remain under 100 yards. Washington should have the better game with plenty of work as a receiver. Expect one score on the ground that likely comes from the speedier Washington. The Pats will likely be without LB Jerod Mayo which helps.

Wide Receivers: Jerricho Cotchery connected well with Sanchez who found him six times for ninety yards. Chansi Stuckey is once again starting the year out on a scoring streak with a touchdown on his four catches for 64 yards. No other wideouts caught a pass last week and until they show up in box scores, I will project for just the two starters.

The Patriots were effective at shutting down Terrell Owens and Lee Evans only had 25 yards on three catches. Look for a lower total from the wideouts this week since the Patriots cornerbacks are their strength.

Tight Ends: The tight end is often a rookie quarterback's best friend. Mark Sanchez is embracing that so far since he if Dustin Keller with four completions for a team high 94 yards. Expect another decent showing this week and a chance for a score as well.

Keller caught eight passes for 87 yards in New England last year but later only turned in one catch for 19 yards in the home meeting.

RANKS (1-32, 1 = BEST) TEAM QB RB WR TE PK DEF
Gaining Fantasy Points NYJ 12 3 9 12 17 15
Preventing Fantasy Points    NE 25 24 4 24 12 24

The Huddle
WEEK 2
~ 2009 ~
Season Ticket
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday
Sunday
Monday
Sunday Late
Other Features
Fantasy Statistics
Early Injury Report
Free Agent Forecast
Commentary From the Edge
Game Recaps
Tunnel Vision
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