Jets vs. Patriots Week 2 pick and prediction

Zach Wilson throws ball in green jersey vs. Panthers

Zach Wilson tosses ball in green jersey vs. Panthers

New England Patriots (0-1) at JETS (0-1)

Sunday, 1 p.m.

Spread: Patriots -5 1/2

Robert Saleh appears to be drooling at the possibility to “play chess with one of the best chess players in the world.” That’s how he sees his very first head training match versus Expense Belichick. And he’s all set – a minimum of as all set as can be. Defensively, Saleh’s been called a respectable chess gamer himself.

He’s not the one to fret about that, however. The genuine issue is with 22-year-old quarterback Zach Wilson, who gets to match wits with the grandmaster in simply his 2nd NFL video game.

As excellent as Wilson might be some day, that’s a lot to ask of a quarterback who is still extremely, extremely green. Defenses and protective gamers drool at the idea of dealing with a novice quarterback. They take a look at him like sharks take a look at pal. They see somebody that can be feasted on by pressure, rattled by the strength, and puzzled by even the tiniest variance from what they may have placed on movie.

And nobody in the NFL has actually ever been much better at camouflaging his defense’s objectives, modifying what’s been on movie, and getting in a quarterback’s head than Belichick. Novices to him have actually nearly been simple pickin’s for many years. He’s 21-6 perpetuity in matches versus novice quarterbacks. In truth, in 2015 when his fading Patriots group was beaten by the Dolphins and their novice QB Tua Tagovailoa, it was the very first time that occurred considering that 2013 when, incredibly, then-rookie Geno Smith and the Jets did it.

Along the way, he beat Justin Herbert, Josh Allen, and Deshaun Watson. Overall it’s a pretty impressive list.

That in itself doesn’t guarantee Wilson will get humiliated like so many others, or even just lose. The problem is, he has the added disadvantage of playing with a Jets group that’s still finding its way. His offensive line was obviously a mess last week when the Panthers hit him 10 times and sacked him six times, and it’s hard to see how it’s going to be instantly better now that left tackle Mekhi Becton is out 6-8 weeks.

He likely will have Keelan Cole and Jamison Crowder back, and that will help, though it’s a good bet both of them will be somewhat limited. But if the line doesn’t improve and the running game doesn’t instantly get better, it’s going to be easy for Belichick to make Wilson’s head spin.

Now, the flip side is that Saleh gets to face a novice quarterback too, and he’s surely got a few tricks up his sleeve for Patriots quarterback Mac Jones. His bigger problem is his defense has just been devastated by injuries. He lost defensive end Carl Lawson and linebacker Jarrad Davis in the preseason. Now rookie linebacker Jamien Sherwood and safety Lamarcus Joyner are out for a while. The loss of Joyner has made a young secondary dangerously younger. And Sherwood was replaced by former Giants linebacker B.J. Goodson, who was just picked up off the street.

A young defense and patching in players off the waiver wire … that’s not a good method to prepare for a chess match against Belichick either.

So maybe Saleh and Wilson can play chess with the best of them. Maybe over time they’re going to prove to be equal to the task of facing Belichick’s great mind. But right now the board is simply stacked too much against them. Against Belichick, checkmate is only a few moves away.

Pick: Take the Patriots, minus 5 1/2

Prediction: Patriots 23, Jets 13

My record straight up: 1-0

My record against the spread: 1-0

Jobber Wiki author Frank Long included to this report.