His debut wasn’t perfect, but Geno Smith helped the New York Jets squeak by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with an 18-17 win. Now, it appears that Smith will be the starter for much more than just Week One.
Initially, the rookie was given the job because of a shoulder injury that wasn’t supposed to keep Mark Sanchez out for very long. According to multiple reports, however, Sanchez will require surgery that will keep him out for the rest of the season. With Sanchez on the sidelines, Smith should be under center for the rest of the season.
In his first game, Smith completed 24-of-38 passes for 256 yards, throwing one touchdown and one interception. In his second start, the West Virginia product will face the Jets biggest rivals in front of a national audience.
New York will visit the New England Patriots on Thursday night. It’s the first regular season game on the NFL Network in 2013. The game airs at 8:25 p.m. ET. Viewers can watch a live stream online with at nfl.com.
The last time these AFC East foes played on a Thursday was a night Rex Ryan and the Jets would prefer to forget. New England left MetLife Stadium with a 30-point victory on Thanksgiving last year. The contest saw Sanchez commit the infamous “butt fumble.” The play has been shown by ESPN's "SportsCenter" so often that the anchors seem exhausted to keep referencing it.
Smith hopes to perform better than Sanchez did that day. However, he’ll have to do it without his No.1 receiver. Jeremy Kerley won’t play due to a concussion. The Jets signed Ben Obomanu on Tuesday to add more depth at the position.
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady will be without a number of his top weapons. After losing both Wes Welker and Aaron Hernandez in the offseason, Rob Gronkowski and Danny Amendola, who were expected to be his top targets, are sidelined with injuries.
Shane Vereen won’t play due to a groin injury. He ran 14 times for 101 yards on Sunday, taking over for Stevan Ridley, who had a key fumble that led to a Buffalo Bills touchdown. Vereen also caught seven passes in the contest. All of these injuries will make Julian Edelman Brady’s top target. Kenbrell Thompkins should also get a lot of looks.
Both teams enter the night at 1-0, but the Patriots are expected to win fairly easily. In fact, the 11 points they are given to the Jets makes them the biggest favorites of Week Two.
Prediction: With so many injuries to the Patriots on the offensive end, the Jets have a chance to keep it close. Their defense didn’t allow Josh Freeman to do much in the opener, and Ryan usually puts together a good scheme to slow down Brady. It’s unlikely, though, that a quarterback in his second ever start will be able to outsmart Bill Belichick.
Final Predicted Score: New England 20, New York 13