Who has the edge in Thursday night's matchup between the New England Patriots and New York Jets? Don Banks makes his pick below.
• Last week: 10-4; Season: 59-31 (.656).
• Best pick in Week 6: Denver 31, NY Jets 16 (Actual score: Denver 31-17).
• Worst pick in Week 6: Atlanta 34, Chicago 27 (Actual score: Chicago 27-13).
I was in Jets training camp when it opened in late July, and at that point there was a lot of confident chatter from the likes of Dee Milliner and Calvin Pryor about New York’s secondary surviving and thriving through the brutal stretch of quarterbacks it would face early in the season, from Weeks 2-7: Aaron Rodgers, Jay Cutler, Matthew Stafford, Philip Rivers, Peyton Manning and Tom Brady.
The scoreboard says New York is a dismal 0-5 in that stretch, with only tonight’s game in Foxboro against Tommy Terrific left to endure. Injuries and ineffectiveness obviously changed the Jets’ tune, and now linebacker Calvin Pace opines, "It seems like the NFL really had it out for us with this schedule." Premeditated or not, you can’t really argue Pace’s general point. It looked like a killer six-week run, and lo and behold, it pretty much killed the Jets' season.
New York didn’t do a bad job last week at home against Manning, but he still threw for 237 yards with three touchdowns, no interceptions and a 66.7 completion percentage. Slowing down Brady at Gillette Stadium will prove more difficult. The Jets have never won a regular-season game in Foxboro in the Rex Ryan era, last winning there under Eric Mangini in overtime in 2008, against Matt Cassel. But in the 2010 divisional playoffs, New England was the site of perhaps the high point of Ryan’s tenure, when the sixth-seeded Jets upended the top-seeded, 14-2 Patriots with a 28-21 win, just six weeks after Bill Belichick’s club had humiliated New York 45-3 on Monday Night Football.
Those Jets knocked off Peyton Manning and Brady on the road in consecutive weeks in the 2010 playoffs before losing to Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers in the AFC Championship Game. New York hasn’t won a playoff game since that euphoric afternoon in Foxboro, and it’s instructive to note that top-notch cornerback Darrelle Revis was playing for the Jets back then, rather than against them, as he will be tonight. Coincidence? You decide.