The New England Patriots are the hottest team coming into the playoffs. They have won 8 straight games and put up more than 30 points in each of those games. During that stretch Patriots quarterback Tom Brady has thrown zero interceptions in 335 pass attempts. For the entire season, Brady threw 4 interceptions; his lowest total since being named the starter in 2001. He also posted his second 35+ touchdown passing season.
The success in Brady’s performance lies in his receiving corps. He has reliable pass catchers in Wes Welker, Aaron Hernandez, and Rob Gronkowski. One of the best front office moves during the 2010 season was the Patriots bringing back Super Bowl XXXIX MVP Deion Branch.
Even though the Patriots rank in the bottom third in total defensive yards, they can produce turnovers. Among playoff teams, New England is the leader in turnovers with 39.
In last week’s win over the Colts, the Jets running game was key to keeping the Colts offense off the field. That will be important if the Jets are to win this game. Also, quarterback Matt Sanchez has to limit his turnovers. In his career, Sanchez is 0-2 at New England while throwing for one touchdown and 7 interceptions.
When these two teams last met in the regular season, the Patriots posted a 45-3 beating on the Jets. Coach Rex Ryan and cornerback Antonio Cromartie have been leading the war of words against the Patriots calling this game personal and insulting Tom Brady. Even though they got beat, the Jets are not backing down from this fight.
It appears that the Patriots are gearing up for another Super Bowl championship run.
THE PICK: New England 34, NY Jets 17