Thursday Night NFL Preview: New York Jets at New England
by Nicholas Tolomeo - 11/11/2008
The New York Jets and New England Patriots come into the Thursday night game with identical records, both straight up (6-3) and against the spread (5-4).
Brett Favre is out of retirement and under center for the Jets while Matt Cassel has filled in admirably for the injured Tom Brady for the Pats. In the first meeting between the division rivals, Cassel led the Patriots to a 19-10 win on the road as one-point favorites. That has continued a trend of New England dominance against the Jets. In the last 10 meetings against New York's AFC team, the Patriots have absolutely dominated the Jets, going 9-1 SU and 7-1-1 ATS.
The winner of this game will take sole possession of first place in the muddled AFC East. After the tie up top with the Jets and Patriots, the Dolphins and Bills follow right behind, both 5-4 SU.
The game will be televised on the NFL Network Thursday night at 8:30 p.m. EST.
The Jets are riding somewhat of a hot streak as they enter Gillette Stadium. They have won three straight games and two straight ATS including a big divisional win at Buffalo, 26-17, as five-point underdogs two weeks ago. Last week against an inferior Ram team, in New York, the Jets rolled, 47-3, as 9.5-point favorites.
Against that same St. Louis team, New England struggled, having to rally for a 23-16 win as nine-point favorites. The Patriots followed that up with point-spread wins against the Colts, losing by three as near touchdown underdogs and a 20-10 win against Buffalo, giving 3.5.
The posted total for the game is 41.5, a slight increase from the first meeting of the season when the total was listed at 37. The teams combined to only score 29 points the first time and the Patriots have only gone over the total twice this season in nine games. The Jets are 4-4-1 against the over this year.
The Favre-led Jets offense ranks only 14th in the NFL in total yardage per game but they have been one of the more efficient offenses in the league, scoring 28 points per game, third best in the league. Last week in a blowout of the Rams, it was not Favre that had a big game but running back Thomas Jones who had his breakout game of the season with 149 yards and a season high three touchdowns. It was only his third 100-yard game of the season.
While Favre did not have a big statistical day against the Rams, he managed to not throw an interception for the first time since Week 1. He has thrown 12 picks already this year through 10 weeks.
The injury to Brady was not the only loss the Patriots have dealt with. The blow to Brady's leg had nearly as large an impact on Randy Moss. After a record breaking season last year, Moss only has four touchdowns this year and does not even lead the team in receptions or yardage. Those distinctions go to Wes Welker with 66 catches for 610 yards.
In terms of the running attack, it has been running back by committee since Laurence Maroney went on Injured Reserve with a shoulder injury. Sammy Morris, 307 yards, and Kevin Faulk, 281 yards, have been leading the team. BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Lamont Gordon and Jarvis Green are also part of the running game. Since Maroney was lost for the season, the Patriots have improved ATS with a 3-1 ATS record without their standout running back but since the injury, the Patriots have yet to go over the total in four games.
Defensively Rodney Harrison was also lost for the season with a knee injury. The Jets have remained relatively healthy this season when compared to the Patriots' losses.