Know Thy Enemy: Week 12-Jets vs. Patriots
By Alan Schechter
Nov 18, 2012; Foxboro, Massachusetts, USA; New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski (87) lines up on the kicking team during the fourth quarter against the Indianapolis Colts at Gillette Stadium. The New England Patriots won 59-24. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-US PRESSWIRE
Round 2 of Jets vs Patriots is almost here, so it’s round 2 of “Know Thy Enemy”. As we have in the past, we sit down with Joe Soriano, editor of the Patriots Fansided website, musketfire.com. Take a look at our conversation about the upcoming game:
THE JET PRESS:How much is the loss of Rob Gronkowski going to hurt on Thursday night?
MUSKETFIRE:When I first started to answer this question I was like, “Ah, whatever. The Jets stink anyway, we’ll be fine as long as we have Hernandez.” But that would be a completely wrong answer and an overly simplistic one that doesn’t give enough credence to Rex Ryan.
I will always be one of the first people to applaud Ryan’s defensive intellect, and I don’t think anybody else does a better job of stopping the Patriots passing attack. I don’t know how he does it, but Ryan knows how to force the Patriots to throw it to the outside and not utilize their TEs and slot receivers to the optimal effectiveness. At least, that’s how things shook out last time out. Gronk led the Pats with six catches for 78 yards, and only Welker had a productive game.
Antonio Cromartie completely shut down Brandon Lloyd last week, and I fear that the same fate will befall Lloyd and New England this Thursday. Losing Gronkowski is a huge blow, and the fact that Hernandez isn’t completely healthy yet either means that the Jets are looking in even better shape to help mitigate the effectiveness of the Pats passing attack.
TJP:I have to ask this one, the perception around the league is that the Patriots run up the score, and a lot of people aren’t too sympathetic about Gronk’s injury because they think he never should have been in the game to begin with at that point. Your response to the general perception that Bill and company run up the score?
MF:2. I think it’s ridiculous and there are multitude of reasons. The Patriots did not run up the score, because they ran the football and employed quick passes once they saw the game was in hand. This was definitely not the case of a team running up the score, especially since the Pats were up by three TDs going into the fourth quarter. Their final two touchdowns with under ten minutes to play were both off of rushes and the Pats actually ran the ball 42% of the time during this game despite their running backs averaging just 2.8 yards per carry.
On extra points, teams don’t switch out players already set to block extra points just because the game is set. I mean, you aren’t rubbing it in if you are bringing in somebody to block an extra point. It’s set in stone, and every team does it. It’s just that there are so many people who single out the Patriots for it because they dislike the franchise or just want to make a story out of nothing (something that happens to the Jets quite often, and it makes me feel for you guys having to deal with that nonsense). What happened to Gronk was a freak accident that almost never happens. I don’t care if you don’t feel bad for the team or the fans, but only a cruel soul would dirt on a player who broke his arm.
Nov 18, 2012; Foxboro, Massachusetts, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) hands the ball off to running back Stevan Ridley (22) during the fourth quarter against the Indianapolis Colts at Gillette Stadium. The New England Patriots won 59-24. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-US PRESSWIRE
TJP:How does the Patriots running game stack up against the Jets much improved run defense?
MF:Based on what we saw last time out, not very well. Stevan Ridley needs to become more consistent game-to-game, and I think this will end up being a draw for both teams. It all depends on how the Jets can stop Shane Vereen’s explosiveness, and I don’t see either side truly winning the battle on run defense or in the running game.
TJP:How do you see Aquib Talib being used in this one? Will he get Jeremy Kerley all day, do you think?
MF: Either that, or the Pats will put both Dennard and McCourty on him. We’ll see. I would rather have the McCourty/Dennard tandem, because Talib looked rusty last game in giving up eight receptions and getting burned a couple of times.
TJP:And finally, a prediction.
MF:I think the Patriots are going to win in another extremely close game, and I almost picked the Jets. Almost. I just didn’t have the stones to go through with it, largely because of what the Pats did to the Colts last week. The Pats aren’t going to have as easy of a time throwing it on the Jets, but Tom Brady should be able to get his and I feel much better about the Pats chances of stopping the Jets passing attack the second time around.
This game is probably going to end up being 30-27 and could easily swing either way depending on who makes that game-winning field goal.
Thanks to Joe for his time, and make sure you check out musketfire.com.