BOSTON (CBS) — There are just two games to go in the regular season, with the Patriots looking to secure the top seed in the AFC.
They can do so this holiday weekend with a win over the Jets and a loss by the Oakland Raiders, who host the Indianapolis Colts. The Pats head into their matchup with their AFC East rival as heavy favorites, which should come as no surprise with New York coming in with an abysmal 4-10 record, dropping five of their last six games.
But these two teams seem to always play close games, with the Patriots needing a Tom Brady to Malcolm Mitchell touchdown with 1:56 left to play to pull off a 22-17 win back in Week 12 in New Jersey.
Here’s how the WBZ-TV, WBZ NewsRadio 1030 and 98.5 The Sports Hub sports teams see Saturday’s Christmas Eve tilt playing out:
Steve Burton, WBZ-TV Sports
Patriots vs. Jets — really? This one is over before it even begins.
Patriots 34, Jets 10
Dan Roche, WBZ-TV Sports
The theme is pretty simple for the Patriots this week: Start fast and strong, and don’t let up.
This is a must-win game for the Patriots, who know that they will probably have to win their last two games to guarantee that top spot in the AFC. They know just how huge that is, especially after letting it slip away last season.
Patriots 34, Jets 17
Levan Reid, WBZ-TV Sports
Rewind to the end of last season: The Jets were trying to make the playoffs and there was some thought they could, possibly, be the team to challenge the Pats in the future.
Now return to the present: That’s not even close to being the case!!!! The Jets are a dumpster fire. They may have a new coach in the near future, a future that will certainly have a new quarterback, but a future that won’t include the playoffs.
The Jets are ready for the offseason. The Pats, meanwhile, are trying to win their third game in 13 days. That’s their challenge.
New England is taking this game seriously and, unlike last year, they are making a conscious effort to finish the season strong.
Patriots 34, Jets 10
Mike “Sarge” Riley, 98.5 The Sports Hub/WBZ NewsRadio 1030
The last time the Patriots played on Christmas Eve was 2011, erasing a 17-point halftime deficit to the Dolphins and eventually winning 27-24 at Gillette Stadium. I don’t think the Pats will have to claw back from an early Jets lead this time around.
The Patriots defense is clicking, even if their last five opponents rank 19th or lower in terms of team offense. You have to be encouraged with the turnovers as of late, a positive sign for December football.
The Patriots are on the nice list, while the Jets are on the naughty list.
Patriots 27, Jets 17
Adam Kaufman, WBZ NewsRadio 1030/98.5 The Sports Hub
The last seven meetings between the Patriots and Jets have been one-score games, yet their final matchup of this regular season has New England favored by 16.5 points. Feels high, if only because even when New York’s in the midst of a down-year, it has a way of playing the Pats tough.
Bottom-line, Bill Belichick’s club has one goal this weekend, even more important than the win: Stay healthy. The first-round bye is locked up and, though the top-seed seems inevitable, the Patriots are a perfect 7-0 on the road this year. They can win in Oakland, if need be. But, we’ll get there. In the meantime, the Pats’ defense is cruising, Tom Brady’s offense is (mostly) intact, we may find out sooner than later if Michael Floyd’s a viable option in the receiving game, and the Jets are a hot-mess. Bilal Powell’s a game-changer (341 total yards from scrimmage the last two weeks) – but he’s essentially the only one at this point.
Patriots 28, Jets 14
Rob “Hardy” Poole, 98.5 The Sports Hub
Everyone is calling this the Christmas Eve game, but it’s also the start of Hanukkah. Which means eight crazy nights, so a total of eight points will be scored via four safeties.
Patriots 8, Jets 0
Tune in to Patriots-Jets on 98.5 The Sports Hub and WBZ-TV — the flagship stations of the New England Patriots. Kickoff is set for 1pm, with pregame coverage beginning on 98.5FM at 10am and on WBZ-TV at 11:30am with Patriots GameDay. Following the game, tune in to three hours of postgame coverage on the Hub, and to Patriots 5th Quarter on WBZ-TV!