After an impressive first-ever start in Week 1 last Sunday for New York Jets‘ rookie quarterback Geno Smith, the once-low expectations for him are now on the rise. Unfortunately, the Jets have a very short week to prepare for their next opponent, because they will play Thursday Night Football‘s featured game this week.
And wouldn’t you know it, they have to play their biggest rivals: the New England Patriots.
The Patriots are heavy favorites to smoke the Jets in their home opener tomorrow, so it would look as if Smith’s stock will go back on the decline — but not so fast. I believe Smith can have another impressive game, but the Jets will still not upset the Patriots. This is because Smith will not be the deciding factor for the Jets against the Patriots as some might think.
What will be the deciding factor for the Jets? Their defense, specifically their pass defense.
Last week against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Jets let Bucs quarterback Josh Freeman throw all over them and left one of their best receivers, Vincent Jackson, wide open for the majority of the game. If the Jets’ defense does that against the Patriots, they are doomed.
I know Tom Brady does not have the offensive weapons he once had, but he is still Tom Brady and all he needs is head coach Bill Belichick and his offensive line, and he has both.
Jets rookie cornerback Dee Milliner proved last week that he is indeed a rookie and in no way can fill Darrelle Revis‘ shoes. As well, veteran cornerback Antonio Cromartie also played like a rookie last week. Even when Revis was on the Jets, they always had tons of trouble beating the Patriots, so now just imagine what will happen without him.
The Jets’ defensive line has to find ways to put pressure on Brady, and the pass defense has to play their absolute best games in order to even have a chance of beating the Patriots on Thursday Night Football.
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