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FanHouse Roundtable: Who Will Win Monday Night's Jets-Patriots Game?

Dec 3, 2010 – 12:00 PM
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FanHouse Staff

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BenJarvus Green-EllisThe paint hadn't even begun to dry on the Jets' 26-10 Thanksgiving night victory over the Bengals when Rex Ryan began to hype Monday night's game against the Patriots in Foxborough, Mass.

"It's the marquee game of the year," the Jets coach said, just minutes after the Nov. 26 game. "When you look at both teams, 9-2, it's not going to get much bigger than that. ... The only way it would be better is if it was the last game of the regular season, but this is pretty good right here."

The Jets beat the Patriots 28-14 in Week 2 at New Meadowlands Stadium, so a victory would not only give them the AFC East lead, but give them the playoff tiebreaker over the Patriots.

The Jets-Patriots matchup is first up as our group of NFL experts tackle the hot topics around the NFL in this week's edition of the FanHouse Roundtable.

Jets vs. Patriots, this season's Game of the Century. Who wins?

Dan Graziano: I think the Jets will win the game. I think they'll create mismatches in the secondary with Santonio Holmes and Braylon Edwards. I think they'll run enough to allow those guys to get open. I think the Jets' offense hasn't been its best yet, but this is a week where I could see it breaking out against a soft defense.

Chris Harry: The Jets with Holmes are a different offense, it seems, but if they drag their feet like they have with a few of those games recently, the Patriots could make them pay. I'll take the Patriots at home.

Thomas George:
I like the way the Patriots bounced back from each of their losses to the Jets and Browns. I like the way Tom Brady has taken command of the offense in more assertive ways. I like the way their young defense keeps jelling. And I like Bill Belichick in big games. But I'll go with the Jets, because they have the more talented roster from top to bottom and they have the superior defense.

The MNFers got that one right (as opposed to last week's horror show). The last few seasons, the midseason Game of the Century has usually involved an unbeaten team, but this one is even juicier because of the division and conference ramifications and all the subplots, from the coaches to the quarterbacks to role players.

"The Ravens are too strong and too good to lose this game at home. This is one the Ravens have been waiting for all season long."
- Thomas George
Steelers-Ravens has gotten overshadowed, but it's a heck of a game, too. How does that one go?

George: The Ravens are too strong and too good to lose this game at home. This is one the Ravens have been waiting for all season long. Their defense knows how to contain the Steelers offense and I expect Joe Flacco to do just enough to win it in a low-scoring game.

Graziano: Baltimore wins. They're healthier, and as every Steeler will tell you, the league's out to get them anyway.

Harry: This the kind of game the Steelers thrive on (and usually win), but a hobbling Big Bender against that Ravens D is enough for me to lean with my B-mores. Flacco has thrown 17 TDs, 3 INTs since Week 5, I believe.

Graziano: I just hope Anquan Boldin has a big game. Last chance for my fantasy team!

Moving on, should the NFL have suspended Andre Johnson and/or Cortland Finnegan?

Harry: Well, what sort of message does it send to basically have a free-for-all in the middle of the field? I think if you're ejected from a game, it should cost you the following week.

George: You fight, you are ejected. You are fined. That simple. Had someone suffered a serious injury in the fight, then that is another story and deserved a different look. It was a bit over the top in terms of football fights, but it was still just a football fight. You can see that on any given day amongst teams in training camp. It's football.

Cortland Finnegan, Andre JohnsonGraziano: I think they should each have been given one-game suspensions. But I wrote about this Thursday. The league's discipline policy has become so complicated and convoluted, it's almost as if they're worried about making a mistake now. But I think a zero-tolerance policy on throwing punches would be something no one could argue with.

Harry: And the image of Finnegan with that beaming smile on his face ... man.

Graziano: Yeah. What a punk!

Harry: It was almost as if he was saying, "Gotcha!"

Thomas broke the story earlier this week on Pat Bowlen saying Josh McDaniels would be back in 2011. Should he be?

Harry: No.

He shouldn't. He's been an unmitigated disaster. He's looked completely overmatched from the moment he got there. The 6-0 start last year was fluky and he's what ... 6-15 since? Plus, mismanaged the Jay Cutler relationship, mismanaged the Brandon Marshall relationship, botched two drafts ...

George: I agree with Bowlen. Two seasons is not enough to impact a program, especially when dealing with so many unfortunate factors. He has to give the guy a third year. Something to consider: The Broncos lost linebacker Elvis Dumervil to injury, only the guy who led the league in sacks a year ago. Take the best defensive player from any team -- say, Julius Peppers from the Bears or Troy Polamalu from the Steelers or Ray Lewis from the Ravens -- and what kind of season would that team have? Well, we know that Peppers was not with the Bears last year and they did not make the playoffs and Polomalu was lost to injury last year to the Steelers and they did not make it. Dumervil's loss, alone, skewers the Broncos season. Beyond that, Bowlen liked the intelligence and the blueprint McDaniels presented from the start. It can't be a microwave installation.

"(Josh McDaniels) has been an unmitigated disaster. He's looked completely overmatched from the moment he got there. The 6-0 start last year was fluky and he's what ... 6-15 since?"
- Dan Graziano
Harry: I think the uncertainty of the CBA is going to bring pause to just about every coaching decision. That said, I mean, he started 6-0 and is 5-16 since. He drafted Tim Tebow and has given Kyle Orton an extension. The boy -- and he is a boy -- is way over his head.

Graziano: And he probably cheated with this spygate thing, embarrassing the organization.

Harry: And then there's that.

Graziano: I don't get why they haven't fired him already. And I bet they do, Bowlen's comments to Thomas notwithstanding. Jerry Jones said a week before he fired Wade Phillips that he wasn't going to do it.

LeCharles Bentley made a good point this week about the Belichick guys – that they all try and act just like him, but since they haven't won anything yet, the players tune them out.

Graziano: There's some merit to that theory.

Harry: What about Charlie Weis at Notre Dame? ... Oh, that didn't work out, did it?

Not so much, no.

I agree with Bentley to an extent. But they are what they have learned. And they only find their own way in time.

Harry: Todd Haley is doing OK this year.

Graziano: So is Eric Mangini, all things considered.

Truth be told, aren't all those guys really acting like Bill Parcells ... even Belichick? He's at the root of that tree.

Graziano: Well, regardless, the theory would hold up.

Harry: Nick Saban gets a little credit.

Did the Bears -- and to a lesser extent the Giants a week earlier -- figure out how to stop Michael Vick?

Well, the two teams did it very differently. The Giants blitzed all game and focused on hitting him. The Bears mainly rushed four and kept him in the pocket, keeping the wide receivers in front of them and taking away the deep ball. The Giants got burned by it when they gave up a 50-yard sweep TD by LeSean McCoy while everybody was blitzing up the middle. And remember, Vick did have two TD passes dropped in that Giants game, so did they really stop him?

Harry: Chicago has stopped a lot of folks of late, staying in that base Tampa 2 that Lovie Smith learned from Dungy and Kiffin. It did wonders against Vick in Tampa Bay and is a nice blueprint to roll out there. But Dan's right about the Giants sending waves after him and taking their chances. It worked.

Graziano: If it were me, I'd try and force him to run. Best chance you have to wear him down.

It has always been with Vick to provide edge rushers and keep him in the middle of the field and hope the bulk of your interior defense can answer. Some teams, some defenses like the Bears and Giants simply have the personnel to accomplish this better than others.

Who is more likely to be with the Titans next season: Jeff Fisher or Vince Young?

George: Unless owner Bud Adams changes his current tune, it's Vince Young.

I'll say Vince Young because I think Jeff Fisher is now trying to get fired.

Graziano: I'm going to say Vince Young. I think this thing blows up and Fisher goes to coach the Cowboys or somebody like that.

Harry: First of all, who stays in a job that long in the NFL anyway? Fisher has his eyes on the Big D job (and vice versa with Jerry Jones) and probably is tired of dealing with Vince Young's immaturity. And when the owner is backing the quarterback over the coach -- saying "Work it out" -- it can't be worked out.

Would Fisher go to the top of the available coaches list, despite never winning a Super Bowl?

Graziano: Yeah, I think he should. I'd put him at the top of the list. I mean, winning a title, sure. That's something. He was what ... a foot and a half away?

"(Randy) Moss needs two things: money and the ball. He hasn't gotten the former anywhere he's been this season and doesn't know how much of the latter he's getting. That spells shutdown."
- Chris Harry
George: Depends on who is compiling that list. Some owners want an offensive coach as head coach because they believe that is where the game's present and future lies. But, no question, Fisher would attract a crowd.

Harry: Bill Cowher should be at the top of the list. Jon Gruden, even with his Super Bowl win, and Fisher I think are equals.

Graziano: Fisher's record with the Titans/Oilers is incredible.

Harry: How's that Randy Moss thing going? Just thought I'd throw that in there (more evidence why I think he's trying to get out).

Oof. Yeah. But that's Team 3 where Moss has been useless this year.

Exactly. Why didn't he figure it out after two? Moss needs two things: money and the ball. He hasn't gotten the former anywhere he's been this season and doesn't know how much of the latter he's getting. That spells shutdown.

If Kerry Collins comes back healthy, can they still make the playoffs?

Graziano: Yeah, can't rule out Tennessee, especially with the Jags and banged-up Colts right in front of them.

George: They think so. I think it too daunting a task. But they will have every chance since four of their last five games are divisional games. Three in a row up next at home -- Jaguars, Colts, Texans. If they get on a roll, it possibly comes down to winning in Indy in the regular-season finale for both teams. Now, if Indy needs that game to reach the playoffs, too, who do you like in that situation? The Colts would be awfully tough to beat in such a game. It's tough sledding all around for the Titans. But the proof, as always, will be in their play.

Harry: Was that a serious question? Kerry Collins?

Everybody talks about the NFC West, but a .500 or sub-.500 team could win that AFC South too at this rate.

Are the Bears for real?

Graziano: I guess. The defense is legit. I just can't figure out how they ever score. I guess the O-line is playing better, and so is Cutler. But I think the Bears are just evidence of how bad the league is.

Harry: As good as that defense is -- and it's excellent -- whether the Bears are "for real" (and legitimate NFC contenders) is all about Cutler. If he doesn't do his brain-dead throw stuff, they'll be OK ... even with that offensive line. And I agree with Dan's point ... though not that the league is "bad" -- there just aren't any great teams this season.

Well, the NFC West IS bad. Who wins there?

We're all losers there. But I'm picking the Rams. Sam Bradford for MVP!

Harry: Actually, what Spags has done is pretty amazing. Rookie QB and Stephen Jackson. After that, the average NFL fan couldn't tell you much about the Rams.

Graziano: Last week I think Chris and I picked the Seahawks and 49ers. Today we agree on the Rams.

Harry: Shhhh. Don't remind anyone about our old picks (like Dan picking the Cowboys).

Graziano: Cowboys probably done now. For a while on Thanksgiving, I was still hoping for a run-the-table Jason Garrett miracle. But no ... Roy Williams.

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