Wes Welker caught two of Tom Brady’s three TD tosses versus the Bengals.
The New York Jets find themselves in an early and dangerous hole as they host the hated New England Patriots on Sunday afternoon.
Bookmaker.com has New England as two-point road favorites with a total of 38-points.
New York was the NFL’s most talked about team in the offseason with high-profile acquisitions like LaDainian Tomlinson, Antonio Cromartie, Jason Taylor and Santonio Holmes. The HBO ‘Hard Knocks’ show thrust New York into the spotlight even more with head coach Rex Ryan all but guaranteeing a Super Bowl win for the entire nation to see.
The Jets’ positive energy came to a crashing halt on Monday Night Football. They hosted the Baltimore Ravens as one-point favorites and ended with an ugly 10-9 loss.
The offense was a total disaster with Mark Sanchez throwing for just 74 yards and looking afraid to make plays down the field. The 31-year-old Tomlinson looked spry, but expected featured back Shonn Greene played awful with two fumbles (one lost) and 18 rushing yards. The two will split carries this week.
Ryan’s defense was very aggressive and played solid overall. However, there were some key penalties against the secondary and New York committed 14 infractions overall for 125 yards. Nose tackle Kris Jenkins was lost for the year (torn ACL), but the ‘D’ played solid after losing him with the same injury last season.
The Jets’ poor performance dropped them from plus 600 to plus 1100 to win the AFC. The odds will plummet much further with another home loss. Road games follow at Miami and Buffalo, so this is as close to a ‘must-win’ as possible for a Week 2 game.
The Patriots had a far better opening week, beating Cincinnati 38-24 as five-point home ‘chalk.’ They’re now plus 530 to win the AFC on NFL futures boards, moving ahead of Indy (plus 535) and only trailing Baltimore (plus 310) and San Diego (plus 465).
Much of the pre-game talk centered around receivers Terrell Owens and Chad Ochocinco exploiting the Patriots’ youthful secondary, but it didn’t happen.
Tom Brady threw two touchdown passes to Wes Welker in the first half and New England led 24-3 at halftime. Cincinnati did throw for 341 yards and had more total yards overall (428-376), but most of those were meaningless.
Fred Taylor rushed for 71 yards last week on 5.1 yards per carry. He’s a viable starting back as long as he can stay healthy at age 34. Laurence Maroney was just traded to Denver, as the team feels BenJarvus Green-Ellis is a capable No. 2.
It’s going to be very tough for New England to run against New York even with the Jenkins injury. Baltimore’s Ray Rice, one of the best runners in the league, was held to 43 yards on 21 carries.
Brady has a bevy of receiving options and likes to spread the ball around. Receiver Randy Moss is trying to redeem himself after playing poorly against the Jets last year. He’ll have All-Pro Darrelle Revis covering him, who looked good coming back from his holdout.
Brady faced a lot of defensive pressure in a 16-9 loss at New York in Week 2 of last year. New York was 3 ½-point ‘dogs, breaking a string of 10-straight New England ‘covers’ in New York.
Brady had just a 53.1 quarterback rating in that game. New England will likely start with its short passing game to soften up the Jets’ defense, then go down the field more in the second half.
This road game will tell a lot about the Patriots’ young defense. Sanchez will be more aggressive as offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer is getting skewed in the local and national media. Sanchez had 20 picks in his first 15 games as a rookie last year, but only two in his last five.
New England went 2-6 SU (2-4-2 ATS) on the road last year. The only true road win was at Buffalo as the Tampa Bay ‘road’ game was played in London.
New York has a shorter week, having played on MNF, but is 10-3-1 ATS in its last 14 Sunday games following a Monday contest.
Patriots’ wide receiver Julian Edelman (foot) could return this week from injury. The Jets hope to get safety Brodney Pool (ankle) back. Linebacker Calvin Pace (foot) should still be out.
Kickoff is at 1:15 p.m. (PT) on CBS. Weather should be sunny and in the 60s.