Know Thy Enemy: Week 7-Jets vs. Patriots


Oct 14, 2012; Seattle, WA, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) calls out a play at the line during the second half against the Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink Field. Seattle defeated New England 24-23. Mandatory Credit: Steven Bisig-US PRESSWIRE

This week, the Jets take on the New England Patriots, so the “Know Thy Enemy” column is featuring no bigger enemy than the New England Patriots. We talk to Joe Soriano, editor of, about our upcoming game, his team, and the AFC East.  Take a look:

THE JET PRESS:So, this whole division is 3-3. Are all of our teams just more mediocre than in the past, or is one team going to emerge?

MUSKET FIRE:Yeah, I really think the division is weaker than it has been, and a lot of that has to do with the regression of the New York Jets. And by regression, I mean the devastating injuries to Darrelle Revis and Santonio Holmes. Revis is clearly the best player on the Jets and is one of the most valuable players to have in the league, because he is one of the few players who you can build an entire defensive scheme around, which is what the Jets did in some respects. Without him, the secondary has been visibly much worse despite the terrific play from Antonio Cromartie. Holmes was the only true playmaker on the Jets offense, but his loss is obviously less impactful because of his inconsistency.

Buffalo is much improved from last season, but the Miami Dolphins will continue to struggle and could be the worst team in the division. I’m not sure about that yet. The pack will be separated sooner than later, and the only team that has a true chance at emerging is New England. The Bills could, but it’s going to be difficult for them with concerns about pass defense and Ryan Fitzpatrick’s penchant for inconsistency.

TJP:What’s been the difference with the Patriots this year, that has seemed to make them a bit more mortal? It’s been a long time since the Patriots have been 3-3….

MF:Well, it’s simply been bad breakdowns that have cost the Pats at the end of the game. All of their losses were agonizingly close, and the Pats were a play away from winning those games. Literally. The problem is that mistakes get magnified in clutch situations, and the Pats inability to contain the deep ball has been a tragic flaw. Chandler Jones is a terrific player, but the pass rush has been terrible outside of him. Rob Ninkovich played well against the Denver Broncos, but he isn’t a pass rushing DE. The interior contains two great run-stopping DTs, but the Pats need an effective No. 3 DT to help spell them and provide a good pass rushing source. That was supposed to be Jonathan Fanene, but health obviously had other plans.

The Pats are more mortal at this moment in time, but it’s a stretch to say that they have struggled and are what their record says they are. Coaching has also been suspected as far as adjustments go on defense, and some of the secondary’s woes have been simply due to bad scheming. I mean, whose brilliant idea was it to have Patrick Chung covering over the top? The Pats weren’t even playing prevent defense and acted like that game-losing pass was a random play in the 1st or 3rd quarter. I’m probably being too critical here given that Steve Gregory has been out, but he’s not the best cover safety either so there are obviously personnel issues at play here. And don’t get me started on Kyle Arrington starting over Ras-I Dowling.

Oct 14, 2012; Seattle, WA, USA; New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski (87) carries the ball after making a reception during the 1st half against the Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink Field. Mandatory Credit: Steven Bisig-US PRESSWIRE

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 do an excellent job covering their team. If you really want to read about that team up in Foxboro, check them out.