Jets – Patriots Preview
Thursday Night Football showcases a classic rivalry from the AFC East, the New England Patriots at the New York Jets. Over the past couple of years they first round of this rivalry has been a tough fought battle between the two teams, so I’m assuming Thursday night will follow suit. Although Tom Brady struggled against the Bills last week, he can do well against a weak Jets secondary that has a rookie cornerback, Dee Milliner, starting on the opposite side of Antonio Cromartie. Pats, wide receiver Julian Edelman gave the Bills secondary fits, grabbing 7 receptions for 79 yards and 2 touchdowns, conventional wisdom says Cromartie will shadow him for most of the game, leaving Dee Milliner to cover Patriots rookie wideout Kenbrell Thompkins. Thompkins’ performance left something to be desired being target 14 times but only coming up with 4 catches. The Jets run defense was stout against Doug Martin of the Buccaneers last week and considering the Patriots will not have Shane Vareen’s fresh legs to spell starting running back Stevan Ridley, the Jets have a great chance to shutdown the Patriots run game. The Jet’s new QB Geno Smith showed some poise in the last 2 minutes of the Tampa Bay game, ultimately leading the Jets to a win. Completing 63.2 percent of his passes and throwing his first touchdown pass, limiting his mistakes to a lone interception. While it was certainly not a Peyton Manning like stat line, Smith made the right decisions, didn’t crumble under the pressure and showed he can be a competent pocket passer at such an early stage of his career. The Patriots defense could pose a problem for Smith, as Coach Bill Belicheck’s complicated defensive schemes could confuse him. Even though Geno Smith seemed to pass the test by squeaking out the win last week, the Patriots are less likely to roll over after making mistakes. This week is the real test for Geno Smith, my prediction is 24-21, the Patriots will edge this one out at in Foxborough.
Not a Rivalry?
If you did not catch the college primetime game last Saturday, I suggest you check your DVR to see if you can watch it. After you watch it, ask yourself, “When Michigan plays Notre Dame is it a rivalry?” Early in the season when asked the question by a reporter Tom Coyne of the Associated Press, Irish coach Brian Kelly responded, “I really haven’t seen it as one of those historic, tradition Notre Dame rivalries.” As a Michigan fan, I took offense to that statement, if you include last Saturdays game the average point variance for each of the last three games has been a touchdown. Michigan came out swinging early in this game, an attitude that is not normal, from Head Coach Brady Hoke and Offensive Coordinator Al Borges. Deep routes, long passes and even a couple of trick plays kept the Irish defense on their toes. The biggest difference between the two teams were the play of the quarterbacks, Tommy Rees of Notre Dame, seemed anxious in this game, only completing 55 percent of his passes and throwing 2 interceptions. This has been Rees’ modus operandi against Michigan, crumbling under the constant pressure of zone blitzes. Devin Gardner, the Michigan quarterback who now sports Michigan great Tom Harmon’s number 98, gave a Hesiman-esque effort, throwing for 4 touchdowns and running for 1. Besides for a very ugly interception in his own endzone, Gardner looked like a player who understands the offense and is willing to take a chance when necessary to go for the big play. Generally the winner of this game could claim bragging rights and now that the rivalry is officially on hold, Michigan can claim bragging rights for a long time since they own the better record.
I know many of you would claim NASCAR is not a sport, I would argue with you until the cows come home. Besides that this past race at Richmond International Speedway, Michael Waltrip Racing (MWR) gave racing a black eye. Driver Clint Bowyer was told by his crew chief, whose instruction came from MWR team officials to intentionally spin himself out. Since Bowyer’s car became out of control, a yellow flag caution came out causing race leader Ryan Newman to slow down. At the restart, Newman lost the lead eventually finishing 3rd and ultimately getting knocked out of the Chase for the Cup final. Since MWR teammate Martin Truex Jr. was behind Newman in the Chase standings, he slid into Newman’s spot in the Chase. NASCAR reviewed the race, ultimately saying MWR intentionally manipulated the race to get it’s driver into the Chase. The biggest penalty NASCAR has given MWR is replacing Martin Truex Jr. with Ryan Newman in the Chase for the Cup. This controversy will mar the whole season this year for NASCAR and we will have to wait and see if any other sanctions will be handed down. NASCAR needs to lead by example and come down hard on race manipulation.
Fantasy Football Advice
I hope everyone celebrated winning Week 1 last week. My advice for this week is for Michael Vick owner. I warn you, he will not last 15 games this year. On Monday nights Vick took way too many hits for any quarterback. If you go back to last year RGIII’s injury should be a warning. My advice is to pick up Carson Palmer if he is on your waiver wire, incase Vick gets injured. Palmer is playing with an upgraded offensive line in Arizona, Larry Fitzgerald, Michael Floyd and Andrew Roberts as his receivers. Most likely the Cardinals will be playing from behind, meaning Palmer will have to sling the ball around and go deep often. I would risk the interceptions he could throw, for the touchdown opportunities.
Hey guys, it’s time for a trivia question. Please feel free to guess and post your answers on the blog. This week’s question is, what former NHL player, won a Pee-Wee Hockey championship, Little League World Series, a Hobey Baker Award and a Stanley Cup?
Check back next week for the answer.