1. Francona will manage somewhere next season
In fairness, this may not seem like the boldest of predictions, but hear me out. If Terry Francona was really "worn out" from managing in Boston, wouldn't he want some time to regroup and collect himself? Spend a year in the broadcast booth or something along those lines? The belief here -- hardly a unique opinion -- is that his departure was an ownership decision, not Francona's. I don't know if he'll end up in Chicago or St. Louis or somewhere else entirely. What I do know is that when he accepts another managerial position, it will reinforce the idea that Francona never wanted to leave in the first place.
2. September collapse will benefit the Red Sox
It's probably not comforting to hear right now, but this collapse can be the wakeup call this organization desperately needs. Only three members of the current roster have lived through anything approaching this level of embarrassment: David Ortiz, Jason Varitek and Tim Wakefield were each part of the Game 7 loss to the Yankees in the 2003 ALCS. Think about that for a second: from Dustin Pedroia and Kevin Youkilis to Josh Beckett, Jon Lester and Jonathan Papelbon, nobody outside of that trio has experienced this type of team-wide adversity. That adversity was necessary then and it's necessary now. Too many players on this roster expected to make the postseason simply by showing up -- I'm looking at you Adrian Gonzalez -- and were reminded that it simply doesn't work that way. If you're looking for a silver lining, there it is.
3. Jets will slow Welker
Wes Welker is a fantastic player off to a fantastic start to the season, but we all know he can't keep up this pace forever. I'm saying he comes back down to earth this week. Welker has actually had his fair share of success against the Jets since Rex Ryan took over as head coach. In four games, (he missed Week 2 in 2009 with a knee injury) Welker has never caught fewer than six passes and has found the end zone twice. His best performance was a 15-catch, 192-yard effort in November 2009. Those numbers would represent just another day at the office for Welker this season, but the guess here is that Ryan will put a stop to the video game numbers. For one week, at least.
4. Sanchez won't be the problem
In three games against the Patriots last season, Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez played well twice (not coincidentally, the Jets won both). Yet for some reason, Patriots fans are reluctant to give him his due. He's obviously nowhere near Tom Brady's stratosphere, but he's better than Chad Henne and Jason Campbell. I say he plays well -- think last year's playoff performance -- in a loss.
5. Patriots 35, Jets 27
The Patriots simply don't lose regular season games in Foxborough with Tom Brady as their quarterback (it hasn't happened since 2006). Both teams score five times, but the Jets are forced to settle for field goals. I'll go out on a limb and say Shaun Ellis handles his first action against his former club better than Richard Seymour.