WHO HAS THE EDGE?
When the Jets run the ball: They have a formidable tandem in LaDainian Tomlinson and Shonn Greene, and Brad Smith has been known to run the option when he occasionally takes snaps. The Patriots surrendered 108 yards a game on the ground, but their front line has been plagued with injuries and has little experienced depth.
When the Jets pass the ball: New England’s secondary was maligned much of the year, and its pass defense ranked 30th in yards allowed (258.5). But QB Mark Sanchez has one touchdown and seven interceptions in two trips to Foxborough and seemed to be missing high last week as he continues battling through a shoulder injury.
When the Patriots run the ball: BenJarvus Green-Ellis had one of the quieter 1,000-yard seasons (1,008) in recent memory, but his 13 touchdown runs were eclipsed only by the Houston Texans’ Arian Foster (16). The Jets were generally stout vs. the run but showed holes late in the season. Still, the Patriots averaged 76.5 rushing yards against them.
When the Patriots pass the ball: Tom Brady was picked off four times in 2010, and two of them came at the hands of the Jets in Week 2. Anomaly. He hasn’t been intercepted in 11 games, and the New York pass defense looked far less airtight in the rematch after Randy Moss’ departure.
Special teams: Smith and New England’s Brandon Tate are excellent returners. But both kickers have cracked under pressure. Jets P Steve Weatherford dropped 42 punts inside the 20-yard line this year and will need to dictate field position.
(Slight) edge: JETS
Coaching: Rex Ryan has a gifted defensive mind. But he’s matched up with Bill Belichick, who has staked a claim as the best to ever roam a sideline.
WHO WILL WIN AND WHY
The Bodog.net line: Patriots by 8Â½
Analysis: This will not be a repeat of the Patriots’ Week 13 clinic. The Jets will run the ball and set QB Mark Sanchez up for a far more efficient day working against New England’s vulnerable secondary. But Tom Brady and Co. averaged a league-leading 32.4 points during the regular season and enjoy too many mismatches offensively.
Our pick: Patriots 27-23
Tags: AFC, Fantasy Football, Jets, NFC, Patriots, Rotoinfo, Tom Brady