The hours drag by as we wait for Patriots/Jets tonight at 8:30. Many times I have a gut feeling as to how a particular game is going to go. Before the Miami game, I had a good feeling. Before the Cleveland game, I had a feeling of dread.
This one? I can’t gauge it. I go back and forth.
You can’t really predict the game based on week two, either. Both teams are quite different now, especially at receiver, where the Patriots have subtracted Randy Moss and added Deion Branch, and the Jets have added Santonio Holmes, who has made a ton of huge plays for them.
Danny Woodhead is also a huge part of the Patriots offense now, whereas in the previous game, Kevin Faulk was active, and playing in what turned out to be the last game of his season. BenJarvus Green-Ellis has established himself as the lead back, a guy with an outside chance of getting a 1000 yards this season. Wes Welker should be healthier than he was in week two. Rob Gronkowski is a bigger part of the offense for the Patriots.
The Patriots young defense is still taking its lumps, but has managed to make enough big plays to win games. Devin McCourty is developing into the number one cornerback that the Patriots have lacked since the days of Asante Samuel and Ty Law. Other rookies are making contributions as well, and the young veterans are chipping in and slowly getting better.
We know the Patriots will be pumped for this one. The WEEI morning show today had sources close to Tom Brady saying that the quarterback is more pumped for his game than any other regular season game in his career.
The Jets will also be pumped for this one. They will come in determined to send a message, and to back up all the talking that their head coach has done. In some ways, you can see how the trash talking is actually a motivational tool for his own team. They know they’ve got to back it up, or risk looking foolish.
Rex Ryan’s defense has shown the ability to force Tom Brady into some mistakes, though both of those games with the Jets came in New York. In New England last season, the Patriots rather easily handled the Jets. Ryan has said he intends to keep the pressure on, and employ a plan similar to the one his brother Rob came up with for the Browns.
The media, eager to promote anything as the biggest and best, is already anointing this the biggest regular season game ever. (I happen to think that 2007 Patriots -Colts game was pretty big, too) This game is huge, we know what is at stake.
Let’s just get it on.