The New York Jets will be without receiver Jeremy Kerley as they visit the New England Patriots in a matchup of division rivals, leaving rookie quarterback Geno Smith with one fewer offensive weapon.
Kerley, who was second on the Jets with 45 yards receiving in a Week 1 comeback win against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, was diagnosed with a concussion the day after the game. Kerley, 24, had a team-leading 56 catches for 827 yards last season.
New York quarterback Mark Sanchez, who was officially listed as out for the second straight week with a right shoulder injury, will likely have season-ending surgery after physician James Andrews confirmed yesterday he has a labral tear, ESPN reported last night, citing team and league sources and a person close to Sanchez that it didn’t identify.
“Any time you play New England, it’s special,” said Jets coach Rex Ryan, whose team has lost four straight games to the Patriots over the past two seasons. “There’s no question because that’s the one you’re gunning for. You’re not gunning for second place. You’re gunning for first place and that team’s won our division the four years I’ve been here.”
Sanchez’s absence leaves Matt Simms as the backup to Smith, who helped lead the Jets to the winning field goal against the Buccaneers. No rookie quarterback has beaten a Bill Belichick- coached team at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts.
The Patriots will be without running back Shane Vereen, who rushed for a team-high 101 yards against the Buffalo Bills during the opening week of the National Football League season, when they also won on a field goal in the closing seconds. Vereen will be out at least eight weeks after breaking a bone in his wrist.
New England listed wide receiver Danny Amendola and tight end Rob Gronkowski as questionable for tonight’s game. Amendola, who was Tom Brady’s top target last week with 10 receptions for 104 yards, saw limited practice time this week with a groin injury. Gronkowski is still recovering from back and forearm injuries that prevented him from playing last week.
The Patriots, who have won 11 straight games against opponents from the American Football Conference East division, are listed as 12-point favorites by oddsmakers. They’re the only NFL team favored by more than 10 points during Week 2.
“When people are injured, that’s why you have a deep roster,” Brady said. “Guys that you have confidence in, that you’ve gained trust in, and I certainly have that at the skill position. We have a lot of good running backs, we have a lot of good receivers, we’re trying to do the best we can this week to go out and win a very challenging game against a good team.”