Who do I throw to, coach? (USAT)
These columns are never fun to write after a messy week, and Week 1 was messy for The Darts. A crummy 1-4 record, and to be fair, the Saints felt like a fortunate win. There are going to be some days like that.
Nonetheless, we're here all season, win or lose. Time to get back on the horse, saddle up.
Five picks every week, those are the rules (grabbing the line from Yahoo Pro Football Pick'Em). Occasionally we'll make one of the plays on a Thursday; that's the plan Week 2.
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Jets +12 at Patriots: Maybe New England will find a way to make the heavy number, maybe the Jets offense will lay an egg, maybe a special teams play or two will break the game open. But the current Patriots offense bears little resemblance to what Tom Brady and Co. have had since 2007. Randy Moss isn't walking through that door. Wes Welker isn't walking through that door. And most importantly for the 2013 team, Rob Gronkowski isn't walking through that door - at least in uniform. These Patriots don't score quickly on you, it's death by 1,000 cuts.
Gronkowski isn't ready to play yet, of course, and now the Patriots have to soldier on without Shane Vereen and Danny Amendola, two critical players down the stretch at Buffalo. Who scares you in this offense? Julian Edelman is handy, but certainly no game-changer. Kenbrell Thompkins looked lost in the opener, confused, not ready for prime time. Does Leon Washington have anything left at age 31? Is Brandon Bolden ready for his close up? Where is Stevan Ridley's head after a Week 1 benching?
I wish I could instruct the Jets to merely play for the cover, keep it close to the coaching vest, shorten the game. Rex Ryan will play to win, of course, and that might bring risk to the equation over the course of the night. But if it's a fairly clean game - not too many flukes or turnovers - I dare the current version of the Pats to cover a bloated number. It's not easy to get over a 12, especially in a divisional game and on a Thursday night (where choppy, low-scoring football is often the rule). Grab the spot.
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