The first inkling I had was to lean toward the Bills, who seem to wind up in end-game thrillers every week. But here’s the bottom line: The Dolphins are at home and their defense has had two weeks to rest, while doubt remains regarding a) Thad Lewis’ health and b) the legitimacy of last Sunday’s performance. Not to mention (but we’ll mention) the fact that C.J. Spiller seems banged up. Fred Jackson played twice as many snaps last week as his younger backfield mate. While Jackson provides solid pass protection, is a good receiver and can be effective on the ground, Buffalo could use the home-run threat Spiller is supposed to provide in Miami. The Dolphins, meanwhile, have had ample time to figure out how they were beaten downfield by Drew Brees and Joe Flacco in Weeks 4 and 5. Those guys > The Thad. #BUFvsMIA
Expecting a closer game than all the Gang Green haters anticipate. Few teams are bagged on more than the Jets, and yet, they sit at 3-3 — apparently, they’re the NFL’s David Caruso. We digress. Considering the Patriots‘ “here now, gone later” running game, the key matchup Sunday isJets cornerback Antonio Cromartie versus anybody. He must lock his guy down so Tom Brady is forced to hold the ball or throw to other receivers more often. Think of the kind of presence Aqib Talib has provided the Patriots’ defense this year; Cromartie can be that and then some — when his knee is right and he’s not slumping, of course. Right now, the knee isn’t right and he is slumping, having allowed 382 yards and three touchdowns in 2013. #NEvsNYJ
BLEACHER REPORT PICKS:
Despite the fact that New England has beaten New York five times in a row, it’s hard to find a fiercer rivalry than the one these two teams have.
The last time they met was in Week 2, when the Patriots outlasted the Jets at home, winning 13-10.
New York enters the game with a record of 3-3, and rookie quarterback Geno Smith has struggled with turnovers in every game but one this season. He had an atrocious three-interception outing against the Patriots in Week 2 and threw two picks last weekend in a loss at home to Pittsburgh.
Tom Brady has struggled to find cohesion with his receivers this year, but he’s somehow found a way to win games with a skeleton crew of skill-position players around him.
But this week, Rob Gronkowski could finally make his return. Agent Drew Rosenhaus sent out a text to media outlets, as noted by ESPNBoston.com, saying his client wasmedically cleared to play on Sunday “by all his doctors.”
If Gronk is unleashed, then New England should have no trouble winning this road contest.
Final Score: Patriots win 27-17
New England Patriots (5-1) @ New York Jets (3-2)
I jumped the gun last week when I said that Rob Gronkowski was likely to play, he apparently is never likely to play. But nonetheless the Pats were able to come up with a 30-27 victory (my prediction exactly) over the undefeated Saints, thanks to some late-game heroics from Tom Brady. New York had a pretty much opposite week, losing to the winless Steelers by 13.
Note: this is a rematch of the great butt-fumble game. Again, thank you Mark Sanchez.
Tom Brady throws for 275 yards and 2 scores resulting in, Patriots 24 Jets 13.
Buffalo Bills (2-4) @ Miami Dolphins (3-2)
Buffalo played a solid overall game last week until they lost in overtime to the Bengals. Quarterback Thad Lewis had a decent game in place of the injured E.J. Manuel. The Dolphins, who are coming off a bye, got off to a solid 3-0 start but have looked skiddish since. Miami will have to protect Ryan Tannehill better than they have in order to win this game.
Ryan Tannehill totals 265 yards and 3 scores resulting in, Dolphins 26 Bills 23.