Jets vs. Patriots: Meet the Patriots

By Marc A. Greenberg

Does it get any better than a New England Patriots vs. New York Jets game?

Throw in a home game to determine first place with the Patriots coming off back to back losses and you’ve got the recipe for a thriller.

Quarterback: Tom Brady is still Tom Brady.  With a 66% completion ratio and 20 TDs through 8 games, he’s still the top quarterback in the AFC.  But look a little closer and you may see some cracks in the armor.

William Perlman/The Star-Ledger

Brady has 10 interceptions, tied for the third-most in the league, and already six more than his 2010 total.  In addition, the Pats have scored under 21 points per game in 3 straight games; only the third time that’s happened in the Belichick-Brady era.

Running Back: BenJarvis Green-Ellis has taken over the running responsibilities and has 452 yards (4.2 avg.) with 5 Tds on the season.  We’re not sure what happened to Danny Woodhead but he’s a non-factor so far this season.

Wide Receiver: Wes Welker has 66 catches for 960 yards.  Just think about that for a second.  In 8 games, Welker has 138 fewer yards than Dustin Keller, Santonio Holmes and Plaxico Burress combined.  After Welker… well, it’s anyone’s guess as Chad Ochocinco has been a bust and Deion Branch hasn’t been the long-ball target the Pats need.

Tight End:  Rob Gronkowski (44 catches, 596 yards) has become a reliable weapon for Brady and Jets safety Eric Smith will have his hands full Sunday night.

Defense:  You want bad?  Take a look at the Pats defense.  It’s horrible. The fact that they are 32nd in total defense, 20th in points allowed and 28th in third-down defense, doesn’t show how bad they really are.    With the release of Albert Haynesworth on Tuesday, the defense is in disarray.

Season Analysis:  At 5-3, the Patriots remaining 8 games are as follows:

At Jets, Chiefs, At Eagles, Colts, At Redskins, At Broncos, Dolphins, Bills

In other words, the schedule is light.  Count on at least 6 wins (Chiefs, Colts, Redskins, Broncos, Dolphins, Bills), which would bring their record to 11-5.   That means, Sunday night is a must win for the Jets if they want to win the division.