The New York Jets and New England Patriots are each 1-0 going into their meeting on Sept. 12. Of course, the Jets and Patriots aren’t considered an equal 1-0, as New England is heavily favored to slaughter New York and rookie Geno Smith. However, the two of them are incredibly lucky not to be 0-1 instead, which means they both have a lot to prove on a short week.
Just four days ago on Sept. 8, the Jets were pretty much doomed against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, until a gift personal foul on an out of bounds hit put them in range for the winning field goal. But even before Nick Folk connected to give New York a stolen win, it was impressive that it had a chance in the first place, considering its awful preseason and Smith’s supposed lack of readiness.
At the same time, the Patriots pulled out a harder than usual victory over the Buffalo Bills with their own last second field goal. While Smith won his debut start, E.J. Manuel nearly started his career by giving the Bills their third ever victory over Tom Brady. But in spite of some shaky work and injuries to Danny Amendola and Shane Vereen, the Patriots still got their customary win in Buffalo.
Not much has gone right for the Patriots in their short week off, as Amendola is doubtful to play, Vereen is on injured reverse, and Rob Gronkowski still isn’t close to coming back. The Jets haven’t turned out much better, as ESPN's Chris Mortensen reported on Sept. 11 that Mark Sanchez’s shoulder injury could lead to season ending surgery, making Smith the season’s full-time starter.
Given Smith’s opening victory and the declining fortunes of Sanchez, that may not be the worst news for New York. Nevertheless, it is another example of how nothing has gone right for the Jets, with the one exception being their lucky win over the Buccaneers. Yet that will look even more like a fluke if the Patriots destroy them as expected -- but they were expected to throttle the Bills too.
New England and New York’s rough offseasons carried over into rough opening days that could have turned out much worse. Which banged up team will recover on short rest to pull off a 2-0 start anyway?