In rookie Geno Smith’s NFL debut the Jets did juuuuuuuuuust enough to defeat the lifeless (and foolish) Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Does New York have any shot against Tom Brady and the Patriots? (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
Jets at Patriots
Six days ago the answer would have been a resounding “no” – The Jets have no shot against the Patriots, especially in New England. Now, after the Patriots struggled mightily in Buffalo and the Jets showed more fight than expected against Tampa, it’s not totally asinine to believe Geno Smith could pull of a shocking upset.
New England is already without Rob Gronkowski. Aaron Hernandez is playing prevent defense during shower time. Shane Verneen, New England’s most electric player in Week 1, is out until at least Week 11 after wrist surgery. Danny Amendola – the team’s best receiver – is doubtful for Thursday night. Granted, Tom Brady has multiple Super Bowl titles with no-name receivers and has-been running backs, but then again, he always had a stout defense behind him. Brady is ALL alone now, perhaps more than ever.
If there’s a case to be made for the Jets, it’s the unpredictability of Geno Smith. Rookies aren’t intimidated anymore. Cam Newton racked up over 800 yards in his first two NFL games. Russel Wilson, Andrew Luck, and Robert Griffin III led their respective teams to the postseason in their rookie campaigns. EJ Manuel had the Patriots on the ropes less than a week ago. Smith could have a breakout performance in his first nationally televised game. Anything is in play with rookie quarterbacks these days. They scare me more than most veterans. At least with Tony Romo or Michael Vick you know your team will benefit from a stupid play or poor blitz read, respectively.
With that said, I don’t expect the Jets to win Thursday. Not as long as Bill Belichick is on the sideline. Is there another coach in the league Belichick hates more than Rex Ryan? Beating Ryan likely brings Belichick as much joy as a playoff win. He’ll find a way to scrape together a win. PATRIOTS If I were Charles Barkley; Patriots -11.5