TJP:This Jets defense has been different than the previous three years under Rex Ryan. Different strengths, different weaknesses. The presence of Laron Landry and Yeremiah Bell make the Jets less susceptible to the tight end, for example. What do you think is the best way to attack this Jets team?
MF:Attack Yeremiah Bell. Seriously. He can hit, but he’s suspect in coverage, and I’d love to see the Pats try and get Aaron Hernandez on him. LaRon Landry is the safety I’d like to stay away from. Eric Smith is a good third safety against the run, but he’s suspect in coverage as well. However, he’s also going to be out for this game, and I haven’t quite gotten a read on rookie Antonio Allen yet.
I love what those two safeties do in run defense and feel like they will only get better as the year goes on, but Landry is the only one who scares me in coverage at this point. I feel like Wes Welker is going to have a big day due to the lack of depth at corner. The Patriots are going to have a much better time passing against the Jets, and I’m not a fan of the Jets pass defense at all. I’m not going to mince words here; I think it’s terrible without Revis. Cromartie can hold down Lloyd one-on-one, but I can definitely see either Gronk or Hernandez, in addition to Welker, having big days.
TJP:What do you expect to see from Tim Tebow and the Wildcat?
MF:With Bilal Powell and Joe McKnight out, I would have to think we see some wildcat formations. Rex Ryan would be wise to throw something new at the Patriots defense, because the Pats front seven is just going to eat Shonn Greene up alive without sufficient RB depth. The Patriots have one of the best run defenses in the league, so the Jets will have to find a sufficient means of running the football. That “means” can be Tim Tebow, who is a “valuable” player for the Jets. Bill Belichick is kind of right in this regard, because he gives the Jets an advantage, in that the opposition will always have to account for him. Without Powell and McKnight, the Jets need to make the Patriots account for the running game and, more specifically, Tebow.
TJP:How about a prediction on the game?
MF:Ugh, I hate giving predictions. In the end, I just don’t see how the Jets keep up with the Patriots passing offense, because the Jets secondary honestly has a better chance of holding down Tom Brady than Mark Sanchez does breaking down the Pats mistake-prone secondary. And it’s not all Sanchez’s fault at all. I think the players at the skill positions are a huge problem for the Jets, and they definitely don’t help Sanchez out. I mean, you could make the case for the Jets having the worst RB/WR group in the entire NFL. It’s not going to be a blowout, but this is like a 31-17 game for the Pats.
All kidding aside about the rivalry, Joe Soriano and his team at musketfire.com do an excellent job covering their team. If you really want to read about that team up in Foxboro, check them out.