NEW YORK JETS (-1.5) vs. NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS –
If you’re a Jet fan you know this game is huge. Tom Brady is done; the X factor is gone for the season leaving an open door for the Jets to take the division. This could be a major power shift in the AFC East if the Jets can win. But even with Matt Cassel starting at QB this won’t be an easy contest for the Jets. They barely hung on last week to beat Miami and that’s nothing to be positive about. With Brady out the Patriots defense knows they have to step it up and even though their numbers don’t show it, they are still considered to be a legitimate defense in the NFL.
But the Patriots have never faced a Jets team with a quarterback who can spread the field. This is a big test for Favre and the offense. Will he know 85% of the playbook by Sunday? Can the offensive line match up against one of the best front 7 in the league?
The Jets need to contain the Patriots running game and put a lot of pressure on Cassel and force him to make mistakes. Revis had a great game last week shutting down Ted “I’m overrated” Ginn Jr but will need to be absolutely perfect against Moss.
This game will be decided by experience and overall execution. Jets are still establishing themselves as a team and have a real test to overcome tomorrow. Patriots need to play their game and avoid making mistakes early. Cassell needs to be effective and manage and not take chances. Belichek is the smartest coach in the NFL for a reason and he will most certainly have his team ready. But I’m going out on a limb here and I think they’re going to struggle. The Jets run defense was outstanding last week and if they can play with that same mentality they are going to make Cassell beat them in the air and I don’t think he can do it.
New York Jets 20, New England Patriots 16
CAROLINA PANTHERS (-3) vs. CHICAGO BEARS –
Both these teams beat 2 of the top 3 ball clubs in the AFC in my opinion, Colts and Chargers. Chicago was most surprising considering they spent little in free agency acquiring an elite quarterback, like Favre, or wide receiver help (Marty Booker is not a #1 WR, nor was he when he was a Bear 5 years ago). But the Bears seemed to have rediscovered the dynamic defense they had a few years back as they made Peyton look average.
Jake Delhomme proved that even after reconstructive shoulder surgery he’s still an above average quarterback (he didn’t suffer from weak-arm Pennington syndrome). Even without Steve Smith he was able to move the ball down the field and throw the game winning touchdown pass with just seconds left.
Both teams showed solid running games and the ability to move the ball. This game to me seems more like a defensive slugfest. Turnovers are going to decide this game. Panthers have the edge in my opinion. Delhomme is a better quarterback and they have more weapons on offense than the Bears do. The bears will rely on their defense to help them win this game but they will fall short
Carolina Panthers 23, Chicago 17