(CBSNewYork/CBS Local) — This New York Jets’ season has gone south really quickly. After blowing a 16-point lead to AFC East rival Buffalo Bills to open the season, they dropped another stinker to the Cleveland Browns. The first loss was disheartening, while the second was kind of expected. The big difference between Week 1 and Week 2, of course, was the loss of starting quarterback Sam Darnold. The Jets’ bright hope contracted mononucleosis, which will sideline him at least through Week 5.
The Jets competed for parts of the Bills game, with Le’Veon Bell (92 total yards) and Jamison Crowder (14 catches) turning in strong individual performances against a stingy defense. The Jets defense forced four turnovers, including C.J. Mosley’s pick-6.
Darnold’s absence was noticeable in Week 2. Trevor Siemian started, but left with an ankle injury in the second quarter. (He’s since been sidelined for the season, with ligament damage that requires surgery.) Luke Falk, just promoted from the practice squad, took over. None of it much mattered, as the entire Jets team seemed to sleepwalk through the Monday night matchup.
Now the banged-up Jets, prepared to start a practice-squad QB, head north to face the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots. And the forecast is bleak. As Bob Pompeani, sports anchor at KDKA in Pittsburgh, sees it, “The Jets are about to go 0-3.”
The Patriots are 22-point favorites, and they deserve to be. They’ve rolled over two obviously inferior opponents to open the season. In Pompeani’s estimation, “…The Patriots, who have been just a machine — 33-3 over the Steelers, 43-0 over the Dolphins — I would expect something similar. Maybe not that wild, but I would say New England should win this one something like 31-6.”
Further examination of the Patriots’ first two wins suggests the score might not even be that close. Tom Brady went 24-36 for 341 yards and three touchdowns in the opener and 20-28 for 264 yards and two touchdowns in the second game. Antonio Brown, as part of a receiving core that already included Phillip, Dorsett, Julian Edelman and Josh Gordon, will only improve in his next game in the system.
What could potentially slow down Brown, are the off-the-field distractions, which continue to pile up. This past week included another sexual misconduct allegation and a parting ways with Nike. The Patriots are one of the few teams — maybe the only team — that can subsume a player like Brown. But even New England has its limit.
And then there’s the Patriots defense, which has been just suffocating. The Steelers managed 15 first downs, and the Dolphins only 11, mostly in the second half with the game out of reach. The Dolphins compiled 184 total yards. Maybe the most telling statistic: the Patriots have given up three total points the entire season.
The Jets play the Patriots Sunday @ 1 pm ET on CBS.