NFL Week 11 Picks: Jets @ Patriots

Ryan BrennanSenior Analyst INovember 12, 2008

New York Jets @ New England Patriots
Thursday, Nov. 13 - 8:15 PM

The Patriots have won the last four times they have faced their AFC East rival Jets, including Week Two at Giants Stadium, and have won nine of their last 10 meetings. This has been an interesting year for both teams—Bret Favre is now at the helm for the Jets and the Patriots are relying on backup Matt Cassel.

Without Tom Brady, though, New England is no longer the AFC powerhouse that they were last year, yet, they still stand atop the AFC East with the Jets, both teams having a 6-3 record.

Favre has been spotty at best this year, causing way too much controversy within the football world and not playing well enough to back it up. Don't get me wrong, the future Hall of Famer is still playing decently and adding stats to his already impressive resume, but he is not the reason the Jets are 6-3.

There have been plenty of times that he hasn't been able to get it done this year—look back to their 13-16 OT loss to the Raiders when Favre passed for 197 yards, no TDs, and two INTs and was outplayed by JaMarcus Russell.

Or what about the Jets' impressive 47-3 win over the Rams last week where Favre threw for only 167 yards and one TD. My point here is not to harp on Favre and his 16 TDs to 12 INTs, but merely to point out that he is not the reason the Jets are winning—their defense is.

This season, the Jets' D has 14 forced fumbles, tied for first in the league, and is tied for second with the Giants with 30 sacks. When the Jets faced the Cardinals Week Four and Favre had a record six TDs, the Jets' D forced Warner to throw three interceptions (he only has six on the year heading in to Week 11), forced five fumbles and recovered four of them. When the Jets defense shows up, they give golden opportunities for the offense to cash in on.

The Patriots, on the other hand, have had a slew of injuries this season, losing Tom Brady, Laurence Maroney, and Rodney Harrison, among others, to the IR. And after Tom Brady went down, there were reports of Randy Moss quitting on routes for Matt Cassel.

Despite injuries to their two starting backs—Maroney on the IR and Sammy Morris out with a knee injury for the past three games—the Patriots run game has been impressive and has made up for the lack of explosiveness in the passing game.

BenJarvus Green-Ellis, for example, went over 100 yards last week and has picked up one TD in each of their last four games. Although they have been relying on a QB who, prior to Week Two of this season, had never started a Pro or College game, the Patriots sit atop the AFC East 6-3 with the Jets, having dominated the Bills Week 10 with a 20-10 win.

But enough of the season summaries, let's see how the two teams compare.

Points Per Game
Jets Offense vs. Patriots Defense - 28.3 (3rd) vs. 17.8 (6th)
Patriots Offense vs. Jets Defense - 20.9 (24th) vs. 21.1 (14th)

Rush Yards Per Game
Jets Offense vs. Patriots Defense - 123.4 (9th) vs. 100.0 (12th)
Patriots Offense vs. Jets Defense - 133.0 (7th) vs. 76.4 (5th)

Pass Yards Per Game
Jets Offense vs. Patriots Defense - 208.8 (14th) vs. 201.0 (12th)
Patriots Offense vs. Jets Defense - 195.1 (23rd) vs. 223.4 (20th)

Total Yards Per Game
Jets Offense vs. Patriots Defense - 332.2 (14th) vs. 301.0 (12th)
Patriots Offense vs. Jets Defense - 328.1 (15th) vs. 299.9 (10th)

The Jets Points Per Game has benefited from two very high scoring games—47 points last week and 56 points against the Cardinals—and if you take those two games out of the equation, they are only averaging 21.7 points per game.

The Patriots, on the other hand, have done much better since their bye Week Four, when they finally had some time to work with new starting QB Matt Cassel on a consistent basis—since the break they have averaged 23.2 points per game.

I quit on the Patriots last week—I won't make the same mistake again.

Patriots over Jets.