Week 2 of the NFL season kicks off with a divisional game between the New York Jets and New England Patriots. Both teams head into this matchup at 1-0 after pulling out close victories last Sunday. With both teams coming into this game a little banged up and on short rest, here are my fantasy predictions for Thursday night’s game.
Tom Brady was not at the superstar level we are used to seeing him play at. He was 29-0f-52 for 288 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. He had a 55.77 completion percentage. Brady finished with a completion percentage under 60 percent only twice last season.
Brady and the Patriots will take the field without two key players from Sunday — Danny Amendola and Shane Vereen. Amendola injured his groin in the first half, but came back and was the main receiver in the Patriots’ fourth-quarter drive. Vereen took over for Stevan Ridley and had 159 total yards. Brady will now rely more on Julian Edelman and rookie Kenbrell Thompkins. As usual, Brady should have a field day against the Jets.
Prediction: 30-of-50, 310 yards, three TDs (24 points)
Geno Smith was 3-of-7 for 44 yards in the first quarter. After being down 14-5, Smith hit Kellen Winslow for a seven-yard touchdown, Smith’s only touchdown for the game. He also led the Jets in rushing with 47 yards on six attempts. The Patriots allowed fellow rookie E.J. Manuel to score two touchdowns. If Smith can avoid the pass rush and find open receivers, whoever they may be, he can succeed against this New England defense.
Prediction: 25-of-42, 250 yards, one TD, one INT; 45 rushing yards, one TD (22 points)
Ridley was off to moderate success against the Bills, tallying 46 yards in a quarter and a half. He then coughed up the ball at the Bills’ 26-yard line and didn’t see the field for the rest of the game. Vereen took over and made the most of this opportunity. It was later revealed that Vereen fractured a small bone in his wrist and underwent surgery Monday. The Patriots will be without Vereen until at least Week 11.
This is good news for Rildey, who most likely would have been starting the game on the bench. He will tote the ball against the Jets, with LeGarrette Blount acting as the change-of-pace back.
Prediction: 25 carries, 115 yards, one TD (17 points)
The two-headed cat (not so much a monster) of Bilal Powell and Chris Ivory rushed the ball 22 times for 44 yards. However, Powell was the third-leading receiver on the team with four receptions and 35 yards. The Patriots held C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson to 108 combined rushing yards, and will easily do it again on Thursday.
Unless you’re in a deep, deep league, I wound’t start either one of these running backs. If they happen to score, oh well. I wouldn’t feel bad about having them on my bench.
Prediction: Powell and Ivory — 20 carries, 70 yards, one TD (13 points combined)
Many questioned if Amendola can stay healthy all year. We got the answer to that question very early in the season. He sat out for most of the second quarter, but returned in the third and had seven catches in the second half.
On Thursday, Brady will rely on Edelman and Thompkins as his receivers. Edelman had seven catches for 79 yards and two touchdowns, so he will be a must-start. Thompkins, on the other hand, could be hard to trust. I wouldn’t start him in standard leagues. However, if you’re in a deeper league (12-14 teams), he’s worth a start as a WR3 or flex.
Prediction: Edelman — eight catches, 100 yards, one TD; Thompkins — six catches, 75 yards, one TD
The Jets receivers (excluding tight end Kellen Winslow and other non-wide receivers) hauled in 10 passes for 97 yards. Stephen Hill led the team with six receptions and 39 yards. It’s hard to predict who will be the standout receiver out of this group of players. Kicker Nick Folk scored nine of the Jets’ 18 points. No Jets receiver should be starting in standard leagues, even if Smith starts all season.
Prediction: Nine catches, 82 yards, one TD combined