The New York Jets and New England Patriots are very similar teams. Both come off last-second wins on field goals. Both have key injuries that will test their depth. Both are tied with Miami atop the AFC East.
New England is nothing like the Jets, regardless of those likenesses, and the 12-point spread favoring the Patriots shows that.
The Patriots (No. 5 in the AP Pro32) pretty much own the Jets (No. 26, AP Pro32), winning the last four matchups and 17 of 22. New England has won 11 straight division games.
The Patriots have Tom Brady, and even with a pedestrian receiving corps that could be missing top target Danny Amendola (groin injury), he knows how to pick apart a Rex Ryan defense.
And in a short week, how intricate can Ryan get? Still, Brady doesn’t expect any simplified schemes from the Jets.
“We’re going to need to be better than we were last week,” Brady said. “There’s a lot to prepare for in a very short amount of time, so we’re trying to get everyone to understand that. Part of the veteran responsibility (is) that we have to kind of convey that message to everybody. So we’re cramming a lot in, but that’s what we have to; I mean, that’s what they’re doing, too.”
Brady has a TD pass in 49 consecutive games, second in NFL history to Drew Brees’ string of 54. Getting to 50 should be relatively easy Thursday night, but covering that big spread could be more challenging. New England barely will. ... PATRIOTS, 23-10
• The Picks
No. 12 (tie) Detroit (minus 1) at No. 24 Arizona — Lions could prove they are for real with another win. We think Cardinals are more real. ... UPSET SPECIAL: CARDINALS, 24-23
No. 31 Cleveland (plus 6½) at No. 15 Baltimore — Ravens have licked their wounds from Denver debacle for a long time ... BEST BET: RAVENS, 30-13
No. 16 St. Louis (plus 7) at No. 8 Atlanta — Falcons licking their wounds, too. ... FALCONS, 30-19
No. 1 San Francisco (plus 3) at No. 3 Seattle — Should be nasty, physical — and very, very loud. ... SEAHAWKS, 24-23
No. 25 San Diego (plus 8) at No. 12 (tie) Philadelphia — After the Chargers ran out of gas against Houston, what now against breathless Philly? ... EAGLES, 27-20
No. 21 Tennessee (plus 9) at No. 4 Houston — Texans’ offense will test Titans’ new D more than Steelers could. ... TEXANS, 24-17
No. 18 Miami (plus 3) at No. 9 Indianapolis — Colts got sloppy vs. Raiders last week, must clean it up. ... COLTS, 20-16
No. 23 Carolina (minus 3) at No. 28 Buffalo — Bills should be 1-0. They will be 1-1. ... BILLS, 20-16
No. 19 Washington (plus 7½) at No. 6 (tie) Green Bay — If there’s a good loss, Packers had it last week. Now, a good win. ... PACKERS, 30-24
No. 27 Pittsburgh (plus 7) at No. 14 Cincinnati, Monday night — Imagine Steelers 0-2 already. Going to happen ... BENGALS, 23-13
No. 11 Dallas (plus 2½) at No. 17 Kansas City — Getting tired of picking home teams this week. Still ... CHIEFS, 21-20
No. 32 Jacksonville (plus 5½) at No. 30 Oakland — And more tired ... RAIDERS, 17-7
No. 6 (tie) New Orleans (minus 3½) at No. 29 Tampa Bay — Ah, finally, a road victory. ... SAINTS, 33-23
No. 2 Denver (minus 4½) at No. 20 New York Giants — And another as Peyton goes 3-0 vs. Eli. ... BRONCOS, 31-21
No. 22 Minnesota (plus 6½) at No. 10 Chicago — And yet another as Vikings avoid 0-2 division start. ... VIKINGS, 24-23
Against Spread — 5-10-1. Straight up: 10-6.
Best Bet — 0-1 against spread, 1-0 straight up.
Upset Special — 0-1 against spread, 1-0 straight up.