This Sunday marks the rematch of one of the largest growing rivalries in football. The Jets, coming off an intimidating and dominating win in Buffalo, will face the New England Patriots, fresh off a two game losing streak, who seem to be spiraling downward in their play. Many people will say, "Oh well Bill Belichick won't let them lose a third game in a row, especially to the Jets." I disagree. Let me show exactly why the Jets ARE going to win this game.
- The running game. The Jets running game is surging now. The offensive line is finally getting that push off the line of scrimmage and allowing holes to open up. If it weren't for the bone headed Matthew Mulligan holding a guy who was not even close to the play, Shonn Greene would have had well over 100 yards, with that 40 yard rip up the left side. Shonn Greene is never going to be that Adrian Peterson who can find holes anywhere on the field. BUT, if you give Shonn a hole, he's going to run through it with power and explosiveness, and it is almost impossible to stop him on a dime when he gets the second level. Expect Gang Green to unload Shonn on this now "Haynesworth-less" defense. Yes, I know the Pats have the worst pass defense in the league. But lets be honest, Sanchez throws the ball better when the running game is going.
- Plaxico Burress. Unless I am seeing things, homeboy seems to be getting his legs under him. He made an unbelievable jumping catch in the middle of the field in the Bills game that made me go, "Wow, now thats Plax." I have said all along that if we get Plax, and I mean New York Giants Plax, then we got one of the better receivers in the league, only this time he is mature and hungry. Look for Plax to be a HUGE factor in this game. He is a match up NIGHTMARE for the Pats secondary. If they single him, I'm sorry, but he is going to do exactly what he did to Antoine Cason.....absolutely WORK you. And if they double him, well then Keller and Tone will eat them alive.
- Special Teams and Joey Mac. I dont need to say much for this. Joe McKnight is one of the most confident returners in the game right now. He believes in his reads and when he sees his first opportunity to break, he breaks like hell up the field. Not to mention the blocking on returns is outstanding. Westhoff is the best special teams coach in the league, period. It is quite a luxury to start at the 40 to start a drive. Doing this allows the small game and run game to come out and it allows the O to sustain drives with out the pressure of having to drive 80-90 yards upfield.
- Swag. This might sound stupid, but the Jets are a team BUILT on swagger, especially the defense. The defense didn't just stop the Bills on Sunday...they straight up bullied them. Sione Pouha was an absolute beast. Mo Wilkerson is starting to make plays behind the line of scrimmage. The linebackers are being as aggressive as I've seen in a long time. Even, Maybin is creating havoc on the edge. Yeah, he didn't have a sack, but he provided pressure on both of the INTs that Fitz threw. As a QB, it has to suck having a 300 pound man being backed into you. If the Jets play with confidence and "swag" they win games. It is that simple. This swag allows everyone to do their job and execute the game plan. That 4th down stop of Fred Jackson was pure "swag." Bart Scott recognized where the hole was going to be and just knew that he was getting in there blowin' it up. Expect this "swag" to be in full force this Sunday. At this point, with their fate right in front of their eyes, they are going to come out and they are not going to want to just beat the Patriots, they're going to want to embarrass them.
- No deep ball. The Jets are not going to make the same mistake with Welker again, allowing him to double move his way past the CB into the dead zone between the CB and Safety. Expect him to be well accounted for. Other than that, Tom Brady has no deep threat, plain and simple. Not only that, he hasn't been throwing the deep ball well at all. Since Randy left, he's scared to throw the deep ball because he knows that if it's not right on the money, his receivers are not good enough to go up and get it, which is exactly what Randy was good at. When your biggest deep threat is your TE, that is sort of a problem. Expect the Jets to pretty much shut down the deep game. I expect a very "Steeler-esque" game plan for this game. Pushing the receivers off their routes, and disturbing any chance that Brady to pass 20+ yards downfield.
- Defense. Do I even need to say anything? Come on, the Patriots have an abysmal defense. It is so so so terrible. And it is getting worse. I know Haynesworth was not good in any sense on the D-line, but he was a big presence and forced teams to not run straight up the middle. Now that he is gone, expect the Jets to exploit this. I know everyone is going to want the passing game to open up, but a few Shonn Greene bursts up the middle.....just wait, that'll open up the passing game real nice. And from that point....yeah, the Patriots have no answer for the passing game at all. Kyle Arrington is their biggest play maker, only because he can make a few plays on the ball. Watch for the Jets to use Keller A LOT this game. With Ihedigbo starting at safety, I'm sorry that just isn't good enough. I LOVED "Dig" on the Jets, but only because they used him the right way. He was a goal line safety, not a starting safety.
- Bill Belichick doesn't seem to know how to deal with a bad team-- outside of Brady. I'm sorry, but outside of Brady, and maybe Welker(Brady makes Welker good), this team isn't good. The TEs show promise, but still are only weapons because Brady is the best QB in football. The running backs are decent, the other WRs are decent, the defense is terrible. Take Brady off this team and you have a DECENT team. When the Patriots were in their dynasty years, they had playmakers. Troy Brown, Tedy Bruschi, Richard Seymour, Lawyer Milloy, Corey Dillon, Mike Vrabel...to name a few. Belichick knew what to do with these guys, but he just doesn't seem to know what to do with the team he has. Bill Belichick's side of the ball is DEFENSE, and he is housing the worst defense in the league. The only thing that I can think of is that Bill Belichick has never really had to deal with a team that is simply not good. It even confuses me because he is such a talented coach, but I just have never seen him deal with a team so badly before. Then again, he has never dealt with a team that simply can't get it done. He used to be able to make OKAY players, play GREAT. For example, Green-Ellis is a one dimensional running back, but he rushed for over 1,000 last year. I just don't think Belichick is going to be able to get it done with the team he has, especially not on Sunday. I think the Pats are on their knee's right now, and the Jets are ready to kick them all the way down.