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New England Patriots at the New York Jets
John J. Raspanti
The 5-3 Jets host the 5-3 Patriots in a huge AFC East battle Sunday Night. The Jets are favored by -1.5 points with a total of 47.
The New Yorkers are on a three game winning streak. Last weekend they thrashed the surprising Buffalo Bills in Buffalo by the score of 27-11. The key has been improved play on both sides of the ball. Quarterback Mark Sanchez has found some rhythm and consistency during the winning streak. Against the Bills, he completed 20 of 28 passes for over 200 yards. For the season, Sanchez has connected on 57 percent of his pass attempts for 13 touchdowns and 7 interceptions.
The running game is lead by third year pro Shown Green. The 5’11” 226 pound pro has gained 502 yards this season. Green is ably backed-up by future Hall of Famer LaDanian Tomlinson. Dustin Keller leads all Jet wide receivers with 29 catches. Santonio Holmes has caught 25 balls while Plexico Burress has 23 receptions and five touchdowns. The Jet’s defense has improved to eighth in the league. Free safety Eric Smith leads the unit with 48 tackles. Inside linebacker David Harris has 42 while Bart Scott and Calvin Race have chipped in with 39 tackles apiece.
The Patriots are reeling having lost two in a row for the first time since 2009. Their offense has been spotty and turning the ball over, while the defense continues to struggle. Quarterback Tom Brady's season has been average for a perennial MVP candidate. He’s completed 66 percent of his passes for 20 touchdowns but has also thrown ten interceptions. That number is very un-Brady-like. Running back Benjarvus Green-Ellis has gained 452 yards. When given the chance, young running back Stevan Ridley has ripped off over six yards a carry.
Super wide receiver Wes Welker continues to be Brady’s all everything with 66 catches and six touchdowns. Many experts feel the Patriots defensive lapses are due to poor drafting. The defensive leaders cornerback Devin McCourty, and free safety Patrick Chung, have played well, but the stats still show the secondary giving up over 300 yards a game. Andre Carter and Mark Anderson lead the team with four sacks, but both of their efforts have been erratic at best. Kyle Arrington has been one of the few bright spots with five interceptions.
New England whipped the Jets last month by the score of 30-21. The Jets will attack the Patriot secondary with Plexico Burress likely a key. Tom Brady needs to be on top of his game for the Patriots to win. Look for both quarterbacks to play well.
Bettorsworld bottom line - This game sets up very nicely for the Jets. Our friends on the other side of the pond over in the UK always refer to "current form" when handicapping a soccer match, or a golf match. Well, current form heavily on the side of the Jets here with 3 straight wins and covers, ahead of the spread by some 36 points. The Patriots are in off 2 straight losses and 3 straight spread losses, behind the spread by 27 points. If these teams were stocks, you'd be buying the Jets and selling the Pats.
Neither team has much of a running game. The Pats rank 1st in passing behind Brady to the Jets 22nd behind Sanchez, but that is neutralized by the 32nd ranked Patriots pass defense. It's a fairly even match up in a division with 3 teams all at 5-3 who will likely battle it out right down to the last game of the season, which magnifies this game even more. Jets can't afford to lose two to the Pats.
At anything under a field goal, in a game of this magnitude, at home, considering current form, sign us up for a ticket on the New York Jets. Check back before game time as this one has Key Release potential. Jets -1.5
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