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Fourth and two. With Bill Belichick deciding to risk it last week, Patriots fans were left with a bitter taste in their mouth. However, this week the Patriots will take their frustrations out on their long standing rivals, the New York Jets. Last time around, the Jets talked the talk and walked the walk, calling out the Patriots and coming away with a 16-9 win. However, this is a reborn New England team which has been getting better each week. With Thanksgiving less then a week away, Tom Brady and the Patriots will look to feast on Sunday.
Last time around, the Jets were the hottest team in the league. Rookie quarterback Mark Sanchez was a stud and Rex Ryan looked like a sure thing for coach of the year. They roughed up teams with a powerhouse defense and a better than average offense. Then everything came undone. They are 1-5 in their last six games and have lost three straight division games. The New York media has dubbed Sanchez, “Broadway Schmo” and if things don’t turn around quickly for New York, it could be a long day in Foxboro for the Jets.
However, things aren’t all bad. The Jets still have a top three defense, especially when defending the pass. Darrelle Revis is one of the top defensive players in the league. Along with Shaun Ellis and Kris Jenkins patrolling the line, the Jets D can rush the line and stop the deep ball. Although their passing game is at the bottom, the Jets rushing game is tops in the league. Thomas Jones is having a pro bowl season and leading the Jets rushing attack. With Leon Washington (before he suffered a season-ending broken leg) and Shonn Greene backing him up, stopping the run is a must for the Patriots. Forcing the Jets to win the game through the air will be the best way to keep them grounded.
As mentioned before, stopping that running game of the Jets is a must. Thomas Jones rushed for over 100 yards in three of the Jets last four games, including a monstrous 210 yards against the Bills. He has become a fantasy stud and has had support when needed. Shonn Greene has led the Jets in rushing during a few games this season. The Jets are a balanced run team that can spread the ball around and still get it done.
The Patriots are not the best at stopping the run, giving up 115 yards per game, that includes 91 yards to a poor running team last week, the Colts. The Patriots are going to need their linemen to plug holes and get their speedy linebackers, Gary Guyton and Jerod Mayo to make big hits at the line. By stopping the Jets running the ball, you put the game in Mark Sanchez’s hands, who has not been steady lately.
Last time, Kerry Rhodes opened his mouth and said the Jets would embarrass the Patriots. Thank to his teammate Darrelle Revis, the Jets were able to shut down the Patriots receivers and held Randy Moss to 24 receiving yards, one of his worst outings in a Patriots uniform. They also handed Tom Brady one of his worst passing games of the season. With Revis still patrolling the secondary, the Jets are expecting a repeat, but they should be weary this time around.
During week two, Brady was looking awkward after returning from last season’s knee surgery, however it wouldn’t be long for him to turn his game around. In his last four games, Brady has thrown for over 300 yards in each game. Moss has stepped up his games lately as well, going for 147 yards against Miami and 179 against Indianapolis. The biggest difference for the Patriots since week 2? The return of Wes Welker. More on this below.
With Revis going to be all over Moss, it might be difficult for New England to find the deep ball. Kerry Rhodes will be responsible for keeping with Welker and that might be too much to handle. Rhodes opened his mouth and then guarded Patriots rookies and guy unfamiliar with the system, now Welker will be going up the the middle and making the short catches. Do not think that Brady has forgotten about Rhodes comments during week 2 and expect him to pick on Rhodes all game. If you have Wes Welker on your fantasy team he should be a sure fire starter.
After three strong games to start the season, Sanchez was looking like the next big thing. A rookie quarterback who was going to bring his team to the playoffs, ala Matt Ryan and Joe Flacco last season. Since week four, his completion percentage has been hovering around 50 percent. He has had one strong game against Miami in week eight and one complete disaster against Buffalo, which saw him throw five interceptions. He has been sacked 15 times and has seemed rattled since his stellar start. New York is a “what have you done for me lately” city and to be honest, Sanchez hasn’t done much.
That’s where the Patriots defense comes into play. They have been very liberal when sacking quarterbacks. Mike Wright and Tully Banta-Cain have been leading the rush, thanks to offensive lines being forced to double team Vince Wilfork. If Ty Warren can return, he will be a pleasant sight for the Patriots. Secondary members Jonathan Wilhite and Pat Chung have also been great at getting to the quarterback, so expect to see a rush here and there from New England, from all over the field.
The Patriots do not lose back-to-back games under Bill Belichick. If anything, the team comes out more focused and tends to dominate the following week. After two losses this season, the Pats have responded big with a 26-10 stomping of the Falcons in week 3 and a 59-0 dismantling of the Titans in week 6. However, each week is different, so although the Patriots would love to diminish any playoff hopes of New York, the important thing is to play the game and get the division win and history is a secondary thought.
If history says anything about these franchises it’s that they always match up well. The Jets and Patriots have met 100 times and even though New England has won four of the last six match ups, the overall series goes to the Jets 50-49-1. However, this week is a matchup of two teams going two different ways, with New England looking towards the playoffs and the Jets heading for the draft. This game shouldn’t be pretty and Bill Belichick will do whatever it takes to get fourth and two out of his mind. Patriots 38 – Jets 12
Tags: Bill Belichick, Derrell Revis, Gary Guyton, Jerod Mayo, Kerry Rhodes. Thomas Jones, Leon Washignton, Mark Sanchez, Mike Wright, Patriots, Randy Moss, Tom Brady, Tully Banta-Cain, Vince Wilfork, Wes Welker