It doesn't get much better than Jets/Patriots football. There are some older, and more publicized rivalries, but this one is ours, and has picked up steam the last few years. If you ask a Patriots fan who they want to beat the most, it's the Jets. If you ask a Jets fan the same question, you will more than likely hear the Pats. This is a battle that won't be won easily by any team. Some say that you have to throw out what you think of a team's previous performance, when going into a divisional game. I tend to agree. It doesn't matter if a team is undefeated or on a 2 game losing streak. Both teams will come to play. I also have a bet going with my Patriots fan girlfriend, so this game has a little more meaning to me.
Rex did something very unexpected. He came out publicly saying that we were going back to the "ground and pound." My very 1st thought was "awesome... it's about time." Then once I had a chance to really think about it, it didn't make any sense. How are we going to flip a switch in mid-season, on the way we have been playing. I figured we were passing so much because our rushing attack was embarrassing. It's not like the Mangold injury made much of a difference. We didn't run the ball very well with him in there either. How is this O-line going to go from horrible run blocking to ground and pound mode in just one week?
My next thought was, "Why this week?" We are going up against the 32nd rank pass defense in football. I didn't make that up, the Pats are really doing that bad against the pass. You would think we would want to exploit that. If this Rex move was supposed to be a smoke screen, then I don't think the Pats are going to bite. I say we should air it out as much as possible. A big difference between this week and last is, the Pats pass rush is a fraction of what the Ravens' is. There are also good signs that Mangold will be back for us Sunday. I hope he isn't coming back too soon. Mark should have time to throw. Our main concern should be our old buddy, Shaun Ellis on Wayne Hunter.
I don't think we should abandon the run all together because of their pass defense. In fact, I think we should exploit their D with our running game. Their biggest strength is in the middle of their D-line. Vince Wilfork is a monster, and if Albert Haynesworth is back, it could mean trouble for running up the middle. What I suggest is that we pound the ball outside with Mr. Joe Mcknight. The Pats will most likely be without star ILBer, Jerod Mayo. With him out, the Jets might have an easier time running away from the big guys in the middle. These kinds of plays could set up some bigger plays to the inside as the game goes on. These runs can be very effective, but they need to be set up by the threat to pass on every down. We have the weapons to be dangerous in the air. It's all about time for Sanchez. If Sanchez gets the time that I expect him to get this game, we could have a great offensive showing.
This is where the game will be won or lost. The New England offense is the most potent, and dynamic offense in the NFL. It is also led by a HOF QB. It's that kind of thinking that scares most fans. I think of it as a great challenge. They have so many weapons, that it's mind boggling to think about having to cover them all. The Jets might get a break if Danny Woodhead, and Aaron Hernadez miss this game. If they do, the Patriots offense loses some of its allure. They would still have GronKowski, but having to only worry about him instead of him and Aaron, is a big plus.
If Woodhead is out, then they will be without their main 3rd down back. Ridley and Ellis are more power backs. I expect the Patriots to use these guys to try and set up short 2nd or 3rd downs. We should not overlook either of these rushers. If we give them an inch, they will take a mile. They are very tough runners, who are hard to bring down. If we can stop them at the line, we can set Brady up for long 2nd and 3rd downs.
Welker is the number 1 receiver in the NFL after 4 weeks. His excellence comes from being a number 1 WR that plays most of the time in the slot position. Most top tier CBs have a hard time covering receivers in the slot. In the the slot, there are more pick routs, and other devious things that are hard to defend for one guy. If Revis can't matchup with him one on one, then the advantage goes to NE. When he is lined up on the outside though, look For Revis to be all over him. To counter all the slot weapons, and TEs, we will need to put multiple bodies in the middle of the field. The more bodies floating around, in man and zone, should put pressure on the Patriots receivers to get open.
If this was last year, and we were able to blanket the Patriots receivers, I would still be worried, because Tom Brady would have all the time in the world. With the emergence of Aaron Maybin, this could be a thing of the past. With Aaron's speed, and motor, Brady won't have all the time in the world to wait for someone to come open. I would love to see Maybin have a great game here. If we can hold the Patriots offense in check, we could come out on top of this game. We really need this win too. Going 2-3 and 0-1 in the division would be a deep hole to dig out of. Let's hope the Jets can execute this game plan successfully.