A roundup of how ESPN's analysts see Sunday's Patriots-Jets AFC divisional playoff game playing out (Cliffs Notes version: Only Herm Edwards and Michael Wilbon pick the Jets. Wilbon made his pick Friday afternoon on "Pardon the Interruption"):
* ESPNBoston.com’s Mike Reiss: Patriots 24, Jets 17. I think this one will be close throughout, and I believe the Jets' offense will have success moving the ball against the Patriots and that front seven, particularly on the ground. In the end, though, I think the Patriots will be able to move it and score more on a Jets defense that doesn't have great matchups in the middle of the field. The tight ends will be a big part of this attack for the Patriots.
* ESPNBoston.com’s Tedy Bruschi: Patriots 31, Jets 20. As tight-lipped as the Patriots might be this week, I would anticipate an impassioned pregame speech from Coach Belichick, reminding players of doing their talking with their play and enjoying the experience of ending the season of a hated rival. I see the Patriots moving on to the AFC Championship Game.
* Bill Simmons: Patriots 34, Jets 17. I keep thinking of Bill Belichick going into his office last Sunday, popping in that Colts-Jets tape, watching Mark Sanchez's passes sailing away like helium balloons at a 5-year-old's birthday party, then thinking to himself, Should I just start scouting Pittsburgh and Baltimore now?
* ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter: Patriots over Jets. It’s not saying much, but the Jets are going to give them a much better game than they did that Monday night in the 45-3 game. I think they’re coming ready. I think they have to get more pressure on Brady, run the football and keep Mark Sanchez from playing the way Mark Sanchez has in his two visits to Foxborough. If they can do those three things, and you can go case-by-case and argue whether they can, then they’ll have a chance to beat the Patriots. [from a WEEI interview]
* ESPN NFL analyst Mark Schlereth: Patriots over Jets. There’s nobody playing at a higher level than Tom Brady rght now, executing the offense. He’ll find the offense, and once he finds it he’ll execute, he’ll pick you apart on that.
* ESPN NFL analyst Herm Edwards: Jets over Patriots. I think the Jets are going to do a great job of running the ball, controlling the clock, staying on the field on third downs and their defense getting off the field on third downs. I see the Jets upsetting New England.
* ESPN experts: All eight pick the Pats.
* Sunday Countdown: Keyshawn Johnson, Tom Jackson, Mike Ditka and Cris Carter pick the Patriots.
* Madden simulation: Patriots 34, Jets 24. If you're going to call Tom Brady anything, call him a winner. The guy is Mr. Clutch, and he proves once again (at least in the "Madden" sim) that it doesn't matter how much junk you talk during the week, it's about what you do on the field that speaks loudest. And if that's truly the case, Brady was shouting against the Jets, throwing a near-perfect game with 22 of 29 passes complete for 304 yards and three touchdowns. In fact, the Patriots never trailed in this one, as Brady threw a touchdown pass to Wes Welker in the opening drive, then never took his foot off the gas en route to the 34-24 win. Watch highlights below:
* Matt Williamson, Scouts Inc. (Insider): Patriots 35, Jets 17
* What's your prediction for Patriots-Jets III? Leave it in the comments section of this blog post.