TJP: I know you keep a good eye on the entire division, what do you think of Geno Smith, and do you think he will perform well, now seeing the Patriots for the second time?
MF: Geno Smith is really interesting to watch play, way more so than Mark
Sanchez ever was. He’s got a cannon for an arm and has proved he can make big
plays when the team really needs them. His biggest flaws right now are his
inconsistency and his turnovers, but he is a rookie so those are to be expected.
If Smith plays the way he did in Atlanta, he definitely could have a great game
on Sunday. The potential loss of Talib this week will give him more passing
options, especially if the Jets establish the run early in the game. I think
playing at home will also help in Smith’s favor as opposed to facing the
Patriots in their home opener. I was very surprised to see him struggle against
Pittsburgh last week since their defense is nowhere near as good as it used to
TJP: Talk about the health of Talib and Gronk. Are either going to play Sunday?
MF: I’d like to say we may see Gronkowski this week, but then again I thought he
was going to be ready to play last week against the Saints. His doctor still
hasn’t cleared him to play yet and I know he’s very concerned about returning
too early. The Patriots could certainly use him this week, but I’m going to
assume he won’t play. The way the Patriots are hush about injuries, we may not
know for sure until gameday morning. As for Talib, it is unlikely he plays. This
hip injury he has is nothing new, as this what hampered him in the later part of
last season. I can’t imagine the Patriots rushing his return and risk losing him
for a longer period of time. The rookie corner from Rutgers, Logan Ryan, will
likely fill in for him unless the Patriots decide to move Devin McCourty down
from safety (unlikely).
TJP: Finally, what is your prediction for round two?
MF: Like the first meeting, I see this as a close game. Rex Ryan clearly wants
the win very badly and the home crowd always gives the Patriots a hard time, at
least early in the game. If the Patriots put up points early in the game, it may
become a lopsided battle quickly in their favor. If the Jets are able to keep
the turnovers to a minimum and Smith plays at his best, this will be a great
game that could go either way. Although it may be close, I think the Patriots
use the momentum off a big win last week to top the Jets 24-18.
Thanks to Tim for his time. Check out Musketfire at the link noted above, Tim and his team do an excellent job.