Patriots vs Jets: Battle for AFC East Supremacy

Jets Patriots

Rob Gronkowski will be a big part of duplicating the Patriots earlier 31-20 victory this Sunday Night.

NEPD Staff Writer Doug Kyed:

You know what guys, I’m going into this game pessimistically optimistic. Meaning: I know the Patriots can win, but if I don’t expect them to, minimal damage will be done to my apartment. No throwing chairs, no throwing lids of storage ottomans across the room.

Here’s some things I’ll be looking for Sunday night.

DIFFERENT SCHEMES ON DEFENSE

Many of you won’t like this, but I don’t think the Patriots have a problem with talent on defense. By my count, the Patriots have three top tier players among starters: Vince Wilfork, Jerod Mayo and Devin McCourty (despite how he’s played at times this year); three above average players: Patrick Chung, Andre Carter and Kyle Arrington; two up and coming young players with upside: Kyle Love and Brandon Spikes; and three below average players: Rob Ninkovich, Shaun Ellis and James Ihedigbo.

That’s not an untalented bunch.

Add in two above average reserves: Mark Anderson and Gerard Warren; four up and coming reserves with upside: Phillip Adams, Brandon Deaderick, Dane Fletcher and Ron Brace; and four below average reserves: Sergio Brown, Gary Guyton, Tracy White and Antwaun Molden and once again that’s not an untalented bunch.

I would need to see more of Jermaine Cunningham, Niko Koutouvides, Jeff Tarpinian and Stereling Moore to make a conclusive decision about them. Cunningham showed some promise last year, but his inactivity this year has been discouraging.

I think the problem is scheme. They’re not throwing anything new at opposing offenses. Once they go zone, they stay zone, once they go man, they stay man. They have the ability to shift between 4-3 and 3-4 sets, but they rarely do. It’s the same base and sub packages every week and the so called rotation along the defensive line has been downright predictable.

I’d love to see four CBs and one safety on the field. I’d love to see Mark Anderson in on first or second down, Shaun Ellis playing DT, anything new.

INJURIES

It’s looking extremely likely that Dane Fletcher, Brandon Spikes or Ryan Wendell are not going to play, so the Patriots are looking at Gary Guyton, Niko Koutouvides, Jeff Tarpinian and Tracy White at MLB and Donald Thomas as the Patriots backup interior lineman. You know what that means? Stay healthy.

Guyton was extremely poor at WLB filling in for Mayo, but I’ve been more impressed (loosely speaking) with him as an MLB.

Patrick Chung has been out all week with the foot injury he sustained on the last drive against the Giants. I suspect Chung will still play. Chung knows the defense well enough to miss practice, and this game is too important to keep him out. With Josh Barrett placed on IR this week, if Patrick Chung is out, it means we’re looking at James Ihedigbo, Sergio Brown and Sterling Moore (and likely another Ross Ventrone “call up”) at safety. Yikes. If you ranked every single Patriots player 1-53, all four of those guys might be in the bottom ten. This game will be extremely tough with Chung, without him, it might be impossible.

BRADY

I’m not saying Brady’s got to play like he did in the first two weeks of the season, it’s unreasonable to ever expect that from a quarterback, but Brady has got to have his third best game of the season in order to win this game.

The Patriots have seen the Jets defensive game plan of stuffing the middle of the field with defensive backs enough that they beat it in October. If the Jets are going to throw the same plan out again, Brady will have to annihilate it to overcompensate for the defense. Pro Football Focus rates the Jets as the third worst pass rushing team, the Patriots offensive line needs to keep them down there. Don’t let a bad facet of a good team beat you.

OCHOCINCO AND TAYLOR PRICE

One of these guys has to step up. If you watch closely enough, you can see Deion Branch aging by the snap. He can’t beat man coverage and only seems to find himself open if the Patriots offensive line gives Brady loads of time. Branch might have had a decent game against the Jets, but that’s only because the Jets were forcing Brady to throw to him.

The Patriots are going to need to start giving some of Branch’s snaps to either Taylor Price or Chad Ochocinco. I wrote earlier this week about how embarrassing every Ocho target is, but at the same time, there were times last week that Brady and Ocho looked close. Lets get closer, quicker guys.

As for Price, if he’s healthy, expect to see an inactive Julian Edelman. There was some Twitter talk this week about how a bunch of us hate the term “deep threat.” What the Patriots really need is a wide receiver opposite Welker who can beat man coverage. Price showed some hints of that in the preseason. He’s a fast, big target who could be a real weapon if he can get on the same page as Brady and if he can stay healthy for once.

RUN BLOCKING

The Patriots offensive line, especially Matt Light and the centers did a very poor job of opening holes for their running backs last week. Against the Jets especially, they have got to improve upon that. The Jets have one of the best pass defenses and one of the worst run defenses in the league. If they want to win this game, they have got to get the running game going early.

Stevan Ridley only got four snaps last week, that has got to increase, and BenJarvus Green-Ellis only got 12 rushing attempts last week, that has also got to increase. All of the Patriots running backs have got their strengths, but the key is to mix them in evenly. Danny Woodhead excels in the no huddle, Kevin Faulk excels in pass blocking, Green-Ellis is the plodding, time killing back and Stevan Ridley is the big play threat. Green-Ellis is the back that probably needs the most snaps to be at his best, he’s one of those running backs that gets better the more he’s given the ball. The rest can be mixed in and should be mixed in evenly.

MY FAVORITE ANNOUNCING TEAM

Figured I’d end on a light note. I love Al Michaels and I love Cris Collinsworth. A lot of people like Al Michaels, a lot of people don’t like Cris Collinsworth. The number one thing I hear about Collinsworth is that he’s “smug.” I’m not really sure what this even means. Obviously I know what the word smug means, but I’m not sure how it applies to Collinsworth. My best guess is that people think he has a smug voice. He also tends to laugh at goings on in the game more than anyone else.

That’s what I love about Collinsworth! He can laugh at himself, he can laugh at the game and Michaels joins right in with him. I’m not sure that anyone could argue that Michaels and Collinsworth have the best chemistry of any pair.

Collinsworth is also one of the few color guys that can actually teach me something. He leans away from overtly praising players and he doesn’t have an annoying catch phrase such as Jon Gruden’s “that guy.” Collinsworth also gives me the fewest head shaking moments. There are times I’m watching ESPN or Fox coverage of the Pats and KNOW I know more about the Patriots than they do.

Finally, I grew up with Michaels on Monday Night Football, if something makes me nostalgic, I’ll probably have a positive opinion on it.

Tags: Game Preview, Vince Wilfork

5 Responses to “Patriots vs Jets: Battle for AFC East Supremacy”

  1. Lundahl says:

    Abandoning the no-hudle offense is a huge mistake. We wrecked San Diego’s and Miami’s defense with the no-huddle offense but since then BB decided to drop it. It’s a huge mistake. We can actually win every single game if we simply execute the no-huddle offense because other teams just can’t cover Gronk, AH, Wes, Woody etc so you end up not blitzing Brady because that means you are sacrificing huge coverage. Besides, when the Pats play the no-hudle offense no defensive lineman has been able to bring down Brady for a sack. We’ll be fine if we follow that directive. Other than that, what’s scary about the Jets’ defense ? Matt Chorizo, Sione Poopha, Ropati whatever his name is, you call that a defense ? Is Calvin Pace, a 31 years old first round bust the guy you’re all scared of ? I love Devin, he’s a great player. Never gets injured, always in great shape, can tackle. Fans are harsh on him.

  2. Ryan says:

    To me this game will be decided by the OL. If the OL can play with authority, make some blocks and limit penalties the Patriots can win.

    If the defense that played last week shows up, I think the Jets will have a tough time scoring.

    • TD says:

      Agreed, OLine needs to step up and execute better and stop taking those damn penalties. A good running game would do wonders against the Jets pass defense.

  3. Steven Press says:

    Doug,

    I disagree with you a bit about the talent level and what is wrong with New England’s defense. Of the players you listed, here are my keepers;

    Vince Wilfork, Jerod Mayo, Devin McCourty, Patrick Chung, Andre Carter and Kyle Arrington. Kyle Love, Brandon Spikes, Mark Anderson, Brandon Deaderick and Tracy White.

    The problem, as I see it, is lack of playmakers on defense. Especially at LB. The Pats have drafted many players at DB/S but really, they are only as good as your front 7. The lack of pass rush and playmakers in the front 7 affect the back 4 and so how do you evaluate the secondary? What New England has to do this offseason is rebuild the defense with hopefully some athletic, playmaking linebackers with speed and some ability to rush the passer then upgrade the secondary with some veterans in free agency.

    When the Pats used 2 picks early to get Hernandez and Gronkowski, that made what I saw as a weakness become a strength. Same thing this past draft with taking Ridley and Vereen. We havent seen enough of Vereen yet but Ridley looks good and if Vereen gets his chance, the RB situation will also be markedly improved. So maybe it is time to use the two first rounders on the linebacking corps now. If the Pats can find those players, they will make a difference in the pass rush and thus lighten the load on the secondary (which hopefully will be more veteran savvy as well)

    On offense, it is much more simple, find an elite receiver that can take the pressure off of everyone else. The Pats are also in the midst of overhauling their OL and in my mind a LT and center away from completing that job. Yes, we have Koppen, but he is injury prone and is getting a little older. Matt Light is probably on the downside of his career, but I like the recent draft picks to improve the line. Hope NE keeps it up.

    Another aspect that might be overlooked is the loss of key coaches. Right now most of the staff is pretty young and un-tested, I think BB has to being in viable coordinators on both sides to take the pressure off himself and allow for him to oversee the operation. Have the Pats feared well without Romeo, Charlie and Scott Pioli?

    Bottom line is, this team, though only 5-3 is not far from being elite again. This is not an overhaul situation, just add a few players here and there and the future looks good. Even QB was addressed already by drafting Ryan Mallett. I’d like to think he might be the next Aaron Rodgers.

    This week at the Jets, I would like to see the Pats run the ball a lot more and throw to the TE’s. Welker will probably be covered by Revis so who covers the TE’s? Running the ball also keeps the D off the field but when they are on the field, I’d like to see an aggressive defense. Throw the kitchen at NY and hope for the best. When you are 32nd on defense, what do you have to lose? Be aggressive, maybe cause turnovers. You know the Jets arent the best team out there either!

    The schedule “lightens” after this game so while a win would be great, I can see the Pats winning 11 games no matter what, but they are NOT a Super Bowl team right now, not until those tweaks I suggested happen.

    One last note, dont give up on 85 yet. he may NOT make a difference this season but with the offseason and more time to learn thus offense, next year he may make a difference….I think this is why he has not been cut

    Steve

    • DWE says:

      Nice take. The O-line “is” plugged-in and need’s help. Not getting the best OT FA out there to go with Solder was a mistake. + the Linebacker core is filled with talent that ultimeltly does only one thing well each, they don’t unfortunetly compliment each other.

      No need last year for the 5 wasted pick’s.
      I’ve not been very happy with the drafting done in many previous year’s, a “value” guy here and a “value” guy there…..nobody stay’s for any deturmined thength of time in order to get gelled with another, thing’s have got too change in the draft area for sure.
      I’ve stated previously that they need to bring in the best free agent OT around to put in the middle of what exist now. I don’t see us getting the top of the chart OT’s in this upcoming draft sue to selection number/status which is why I was actually all for dumping last season prefered, but wouldn’t mind dumping this one in order to make the pick status that much better…..
      Linebacker’s- Spikes and Mayo are o.k., but the rest need to be a little hyped up and then traded-Peroid.
      Get rid of the loose end’s quickly and try and make up for the losses already accrued. Trade Hoyer, Vereen(or another RB), Edleman for starters and see what we can get for them and up the draft stock so we can get the “D” back.



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