Commentary

Five bold predictions for this week

Expect to see a lot of Brady (and not so much of the 4-3) in Pats' preseason opener

Updated: August 8, 2011, 11:48 AM ET
By Adam Jones | ESPNBoston.com

Editor's note: This is the first installment of a new weekly feature that will appear each Monday on ESPNBoston.com. 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. Brady plays the entire first half Thursday against Jacksonville

As we should all know by now, Bill Belichick is anything but predictable, which includes how he's handled Tom Brady in each of the last four preseason openers. Last year, Brady played two series against the Saints before Brian Hoyer took over to start the second quarter. In 2009, however, Brady essentially played the entire first half against the Eagles, going 10 for 15 with 100 passing yards, two touchdowns and one interception. Context is important in this case, since Brady missed nearly all of the previous season with a knee injury. Brady didn't take a snap during the entire 2008 preseason and played just the opening two series against Tampa Bay in 2007 before being replaced by Matt Cassel.

Just as it was in 2009, I believe context is important this preseason. An abbreviated training camp means Brady will make up for lost time by taking more snaps during games.

2. We'll see a lot of 3-4 Thursday night

There's been a lot of talk about the Patriots experimenting with more four-man lines during training camp. The common belief is New England will play more 4-3 this upcoming season, which makes sense given the team's personnel. Maybe that will be the case Sept. 12 in Miami, but I can't imagine Belichick tipping his hand in a preseason opener. I'd expect a vanilla 3-4 defense and a brief cameo from Albert Haynesworth, if he even plays at all.

3. Ocho drops a pass; panic ensues

If you've been following reports out of training camp, you're familiar with Chad Ochocinco's case of the "dropsies." Let me get this out there, I expect him to have an excellent season given the way Deion Branch immediately took off after joining the Patriots last year. However, Ocho seems like someone who is putting a great deal of pressure on himself to make a strong first impression. I predict he drops at least one pass Thursday night and a majority of the media chooses to dwell on it. I, for one, won't think it's a big deal.

4. Wakefield's 200-win milestone will wait ... again

We all know that sooner or later Tim Wakefield will finally reach this milestone. It just won't be on Monday night. True, Wakefield is 14-7 in his career against Minnesota, but he has a 4.54 ERA (slightly above his lifetime 4.40 ERA). The Twins shellacked him back on May 6 and similarly battered him in his only career start at Target Field last season. It all adds up to a longer wait for the veteran knuckleballer.

5. I'm going to be wrong from time to time

Since this is the first installment of my bold predictions, I just wanted to get that out there. It's going to happen. I'll admit when it does. Enjoy mocking me ...

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