On a Monday night in December 2007, the 11-0 Patriots got all they could handle from a 4-7 Baltimore team whose defensive coordinator went by the name Rex Ryan. Click here to see the numbers from that game.
Three things things jump out at me:
- The blitzing scheme affected Tom Brady, who completed under 50% of his passes.
- Randy Moss and Wes Welker were mostly shut down.
- Baltimore's defense registered three sacks.
Now this isn't a perfect comparison. The 2009 Patriots aren't the 2007 Patriots, and the 2009 Jets aren't the 2007 Ravens. Baltimore's best pass rusher was Terrell Suggs, a guy who demands attention on every play. The best the Jets have, Calvin Pace, isn't nearly as good and is suspended anyway. It is important to note how the scheme gave the Pats problems. New England's pass blocking has also taken a step back from where it was two seasons ago. The Jets have a force on the line every bit as difficult to block as Haloti Ngata in Kris Jenkins, and their secondary is better than the Ravens' back in 2007.
You may look at the score from that night and point out how the Pats still put up 27 points. Let me make two points. First, the Ravens stopped the Pats on a fourth down on the winning drive in the waning moments, but it got wiped out because Rex called an unfortunate timeout just before the snap. The crowd was so loud before the play that the men on the field played through the whistle, not hearing it. They essentially ended the game with 20 New England points. In any event, you may have forgotten just how good that Pats offense was. Even with 27 points, the Ravens held them 10 under their average.
What does this guarantee? Nothing, but it shows this scheme might present some difficulties for New England.