The 8-2 Patriots had the AFC East won before the season began, and look to be the favorite to finish with the No. 1 seed in the entire AFC. But if you're reading or listening to the local pundits around town this week, you would think they were 3-7, with little to no hope for the future. In other words, you might think they were the New York Jets.
Ah, Jets Week.
It’s lost its luster a bit since Rex Ryan moved north, but there’s still something sweet about the annual beat down on our friends from the Big Apple. You know Bill Belichick enjoys it, anyways. If nothing else, the Jets offer some perspective to a Patriots fan base that may be a little frustrated by the team’s play – especially on the defensive end – lately.
The Jets are in a world of hurt. They don’t have a legitimate quarterback today, and it doesn’t appear they have one for the future. Everybody who watches the NFL knows this: you’re only as good as your quarterback. There are, of course, rare exceptions. A strong defense can make up for offensive shortcomings. But the Jets have a 19th ranked pass defense, and are giving up 24.4 points per game, 20th in the NFL. That’s not going to cut it.
Sure, the Patriots are working through some issues on defense right now, but there is still enough talent there – and plenty of talent on offense – to take them very far.
Patriots played it right with Revis
Two seasons ago, Darrelle Revis won a Super Bowl with the Patriots. He earned it, too. Revis was the mercenary the Patriots were looking for once Aqib Talib signed with the Broncos. But after that one season in New England, the Patriots let Revis sign a five-year, $70 million deal with the Jets, $39 million guaranteed. That made for a lot of unhappy Patriots fans. But boy did Bill Belichick make the right call there. Revis is a shell of himself. He’s admitted himself that Revis Island is no more, and cited his age-31 body as a reason for his sharp decline. The Patriots were right to stick with Super Bowl hero Malcolm Butler instead, as Butler has proven to be much more than a one-game wonder and has played much better than Revis has in New York ever since.
Fitz-magic? Don’t count on it
Jets head coach Todd Bowles announced on Monday that Ryan Fitzpatrick would get the start because he’s healthy. Not exactly a ringing endorsement there, but technically Fitzpatrick does give them a better chance to win than second-year starter Bryce Petty does – not that it matters at this point. Fitzpatrick is in the midst of the worst season of his career, as he’s thrown just eight touchdowns compared to 13 interceptions to go with five fumbles. His completion percentage is just 56.4-percent and his passer rating 67.5. The Patriots' defense may not be great, but they’ll have to be borderline dead to let Fitzpatrick throw all over them.
Another air assault?
For as bad as the Jets are as a whole, they do have a good run defense. With Muhammad Wilkerson, Sheldon Richardson, and Leonard Williams up front, the Jets are allowing an average of 85.4 yards per game, fourth best in the NFL this season. LeGarrette Blount is having a career season, but the Patriots might look to throw more in this one. This is the type of game that Tom Brady could dink and dunk his way down the field in using players like Julian Edelman and Dion Lewis, especially if Rob Gronkowski is out again. Or he could just target Revis like the rest of the NFL has been doing.