New York Jets @ New England Patriots
Friday 17th September, 01:25
Live on Sky Sports 2
There is an important mathematical law concerning Regression to the Mean. It dictates that unusually positive results should be expected to improve in the future and vice versa. To sum it up in a nutshell, sometimes people perform badly. Not because they actually are bad, but because they were simply unlucky.Take Tom Brady for example, who a few weeks ago was being written off by tipsters, pundits and just about everybody except Mrs Brady, following a string of poor performances.
It seems that you can be one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time, yet it counts for little if you should dare to have three or four bad games on the bounce.
We've since discovered Brady isn't actually that bad after all. First he played a starring role in the 43-17 massacre of in-form Cincinnati. And then he proved that was no fluke, single-handedly destroying Buffalo by throwing for a mind-boggling 361 yards and four touchdowns.
Make no mistake, Brady is back. The truth is, he was never actually gone. And to make things better, he may well now be enjoying some of that luck that had been deserting him. A lucky Tom Brady is like a boulder rolling down a hill, nigh on impossible to stop. So ride that luck with him and stay patriotic to New England for at least one more week.
One of those most likely to benefit from Brady's bombs this week is wideout Brandon LaFell, who hauled-in two TDs last weekend, including a 56 yarder. And another beneficiary should be tight end Rob Gronkowski.
Gronk is said to be back to his pre-injury best. So expect him to soon regain his status as Brady's favorite end zone target. Between them, these two receivers should find gaping holes in a Jets secondary ranked 15th in the league.
By comparison, New York's passing game is in a horrible mess. Geno Smith is having another awful season under centre. And his benching last week for missing a team meeting could have proved a blessing for the Jets, were his replacement not the equally unreliable and ill-disciplined Michael Vick. Whichever one of them goes up against the Patriot's number three ranked pass-defense, looks in for a long evening.
New England's running game took a hit with the loss of Steven Ridley to injury last week. But a committee of Vereen and Bolden should cover what has never been the Pat's strength anyway. They're unlikely to gain much ground though against the Jet's one true strong point, which is stopping the run. So the Pats will be airborne for much of this game.
The Jets though will look to pound it out on the ground through their two Chris's, the slow-rumbling Johnson and the injury-prone Ivory. The problem is, New York's main weapon is just as dangerous to itself as it is to opponents, with their running game having produced just as many fumbles as it has touchdowns.
The (1-5) Jets are up against the wall, with coach Rex Ryan's job rumored to on the line. So some are saying they'll be extra motivated. Like they didn't try in their other games?? Nonsense.
The Jets are struggling not because they don't try, but because they have too many bad players. Yes, they have had an especially difficult fixture list so far. And yes won their only game against a fellow weak link, by beating the Raiders. But that was at home. This is in Boston. And most importantly, this is a (4-2) Patriots team that is just getting into its stride and just getting its key players back to fitness and form.
Now is not the time for Ryan's Jet's to be flying combat missions in Massachusetts, for they are almost certainly going to get shot down.
Back New England Patriots (-9.5) to beat New York Jets @ 1.981/1
Back New England Patriots (-6.5) to beat New York Jets at Half Time @ 1.84/5
Back Tom Brady passing yards to be more than 285.5 @ 1.9110/11 or better
Back Geno Smith passing yards to be less than 210.5 @1.9110/11 or better