Editor's note: This is the second installment of a new weekly feature that will appear each Monday on ESPNBoston.com. They are not on the air Monday due to a power outage at our studio, but you can listen to Adam Jones and Drew Brooks on ESPN Boston Radio every weekday live from noon-2 p.m. and again from 2-4. (Listen HERE)
1. CC Sabathia finally breaks through against the Red Sox
Coming into the season, the generally accepted consensus with the Red Sox offense was that it was too left-handed and, thus, would struggle against left-handed pitching. That simply hasn't been the case, as the Red Sox have a slash line of .280/.346/.463 against right-handed pitching and .278/.356/.447 against lefties. A good example of this has been their success against Yankees' lefty CC Sabathia, who is 0-4 with a 7.20 ERA against Boston this season. He's 17-3 with a 2.40 ERA against everyone else.
Sooner or later, you have to expect Sabathia to turn it around against this Red Sox lineup. Carl Crawford (.313) is the only left-handed regular with any success for his career against Sabathia, as David Ortiz (.245), Adrian Gonzalez (.238) and Jacoby Ellsbury (.238) have struggled. I fully expect Sabathia to get the best of the Red Sox Tuesday.
2. J.D. Drew will be activated and take over in RF
Perhaps I'm a J.D. Drew apologist, but I've always assumed he would win back the starting job in right field at some point this season. However, that could happen even sooner than anyone anticipated, given the Red Sox recent lack of production at the position. Josh Reddick has come down to earth, hitting just .205 with two home runs and five RBI in August. This presents an opportunity for Drew, who has a .291 lifetime average during September (his highest of any month) and I expect him to make the most of it.
3. Don't expect to see Tom Brady Thursday night
Since he has become the starting quarterback in New England, it's been fairly easy to predict how much Tom Brady would play in the preseason finale. From 2004 to 2009, the answer was not at all, as Brady held a clipboard for understudies such as Rohan Davey, Matt Cassel and Brian Hoyer. However, Bill Belichick threw us a curveball last preseason, playing Brady for two series against the Giants. That, plus the fact that he's openly pining to play Thursday night, has led some to question whether we'll see Brady against New York. My guess is no, especially given the quick turnaround from Saturday's loss in Detroit.
4. Peyton Manning will play Week 1 against Houston
It certainly wouldn't be the first time we've seen Peyton Manning rush back from an injury to protect his consecutive games started streak. In 2008, Manning missed the entire preseason while recovering from knee surgery but was able to start the season opener, a 29-13 loss to the Chicago Bears. Manning struggled over the season's first seven weeks, tossing 10 touchdowns against nine interceptions, while throwing for 300 yards just once. Understandably, the Colts struggled accordingly, beginning the season 3-4.
The point? Manning has already rushed back from injury once, so why wouldn't he do it again? He has started 208 consecutive games -- 227 including playoffs -- and I'll be stunned if that streak comes to an end Week 1 in Houston.