Filed under: NFL, Uncategorized | Tags: Bill Belichick, Football, Jets, NFL, Patriots, Playoffs, Sports
I could only make it to Thursday.
Bottling up stats, quotes, and other potentially useful pieces of information, the Sports Blast has gone through most of the week without discussing the upcoming Jets and Patriots duel, part 3. As a show based around the New England/New York/New Jersey area, this game undoubtedly harbors most of our interest.
This game pits two completely different teams. One focuses on defensive football, never shies away from an outlandish comment, and lives under the boisterous shadow of Rex Ryan. The other? Well they’re much more business like, methodically going through each week, rarely giving the media much to work with while featuring an offense which is ever evolving.
The way they talk, you’d think the Jets were the favorites to win this game. Personal shots at Tom Brady and Bill Belichick(typical Jets protocol) have resulted in, well, nothing. Perhaps most frustrating of all for Rex Ryan, the Patriots only response to any of his poor efforts to spark controversy was a playful prod by Bill Belichick himself, declaring that it’s the best for both sides that the two coaches do not suit up.
But can the Jets really be taken seriously?
I hate to be that guy, but the majority of the public needs to be reminded that the Jets are a mere 3-4 against winning teams, and that’s counting last weekends nailbiter against the Indianapolis Colts. Rex Ryan has yet to beat New England at Gillette since taking over the New York Jets, and the last ditch retort “what about week 2″ really holds no place in any discussion.
In week 2, the Patriots offense featured Randy Moss, Laurence Maroney, and Fred Taylor. They were without Logan Mankins and Danny Woodhead. BenJarvus Green-Ellis was a relative unknown, Darius Butler suffered a volcanic-equse meltdown, and the Patriots still managed to lead after one half. How relevant is that game?
Some people counter that the playoffs are all about “any given Sunday” and the Jets are riding high after a win against the vaunted Colts. The same vaunted Colts who led with less than a minute ago. The same vaunted Colts who were without Joseph Addai, Anthony Gonzalez, Austin Collie, Dallas Clark, Clint Session, Bob Sanders, Kelvin Hayden, Ryan Diem, and Antonio Johnson. Wow, that was exhausting. The Jets run game overpowered an undersized Colts defensive front 7, but will the same happen in New England?
The strength of the Jets offense is their power run game. The ability to put Mark Sanchez on ice for 10 plays/87 yards needs to be prevalent in order for New York to win. And by put on ice, I mean not allow to throw the ball more than twice. But can the Jets sustain such domination on the ground against a bigger, more skilled run defense? The jump from Indianapolis to New England in terms of run stoppage is rather large, spanning from 25th in the league to 11th. You aren’t going to be able to move Vince Wilfork and Gerard Warren far, something the Jets did well with the undersized Colts Dlineman such as Robert Mathis.
While all previews are relative, it’s impossible to argue with what the Patriots have done leading up to this game. Since 2004, the Patriots are 8-0 coming off a bye week. Since Bill Belichick has been in control, the Patriots have never lost coming off a wild card weekend bye. He’s intercepted Mark Sanchez a whopping 7 times in just 2 games at Gillette stadium. For what it’s worth, Belichick has reached the Super Bowl 3 times when going 14-2 in the regular season, ’03, ’04, and ’07.
Consider this a challenge to the Jets fans throughout the nation. What have the Jets done to prove themselves worthy of the expectations they’ve placed on their shoulders? It’s been a long week(still isn’t over), and obviously the only thing that matters is what happens on the field.
But give me a team who displays a higher level of focus(the Patriots), rarely lose at home(the Patriots) and have been here before over a team who might be nothing more than a breath of hot air.
- Mark Chiarelli
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: Colts, Football, Indianpolis, Jets, New York, NFL, Playoffs, Sports
That’s it, I couldn’t wait any longer. Even though it’s Monday, this game just had to be broken down.
It doesn’t take a literary genius to create story lines for this game. The Colts look human, the Jets can finally back up their mouths, I can go on and on. This is, in my opinion, the most interesting game that Wild Card Weekend has to offer. We’ll go with a unit by unit breakdown.
Indianapolis Colts Offense vs. New York Jets Defense.
A quick look at the Indianapolis Colts this season and you see 4th in points per game, 4th in yards per game, and first in passing yards per game. Nothing out of the ordinary, right? Well read between the lines and many see a struggling Colts offense who shows severe deficiencies without numerous playmakers. The Colts struggled down the stretch, eeking out wins against non-playoff contenders in the Raiders and Titans(twice), while losing consecutively to the Patriots, Chargers, and Cowboys. Peyton Manning did put the team on his back, delivering 4 straight wins to clinch the AFC South. His back has to be hurting by now. The entire Colts season has essentially been Peyton Manning’s production. He’s compiled a whopping 4700 yards with 33TD’s and 17INT’s.
Flip to the other side and the feeling is about the same. The Jets defense has not lived up to the self imposed(or media imposed) expectations which came with the success they experienced last season. While accumulating 8 more sacks, the overall feeling was that the pass rush experiences oft power outages. 600 more total yards than last season and an inability to gather the clutch stop has troubled the defense. Looking at the second half of the season, the defense struggled against upper echelon offenses, allowing 27(HOU), 45(NE), and 38(CHI). Without an imposing pass rush, it’s difficult to keep potent passing attacks under wraps.
Jets Offense vs. Colts Defense
While the previous matchup may be the “bread and butter” of the two teams, this matchup could very possibly decide the game. The Jets bring an offense to Lucas Oil Stadium which is the definition of inconsistent. Which offense will show up? Will it be the accurate and poised Mark Sanchez seen in the Chicago game, or the struggling and often lost Sanchez from the Patriots and Dolphins games? My problem with Sanchez is his 54.8% completion rating. In order to succeed in the playoffs, you must be near perfect and complete more than just the “necessary” passes. Unlike last season, the run game can by no means be relied upon to shoulder the load. L.T has lost his flare in the second half of the year and Shonn Greene has been rather disappointing in his own right.
Meanwhile, the Colts defense has faced it’s own struggles. 20th in yards per game allowed, 22nd in PPG allowed, the Colts defense is nothing more than average at best. They haven’t been able to force many turnovers and have allowed over 2,000 yards on the ground. The Colts defense relies on speed and strategic playcalling, which can hurt against a team like the Jets. There’s no doubting the physicality of the Jets offensive line, which could bode to be problems up the middle for the undersized Colts.
It helps the Jets have one of the most electrifying return games with Brad Smith at the helm. It also helps the Jets are +9 in the turnover margin while the Colts sit in the red at -4. But are the Colts being counted out too early? Sure injuries have forced the team to evolve maybe more than they wish, but they were also still able to finish at 10-6. Just a year ago they were in the Super Bowl, and maybe it’s more of a “just having to get there” for the Colts to show up. Indianapolis has won 4 in a row down the stretch in meaningful football games. On the other side, it’s difficult to argue against the fact that the Jets have struggled down the stretch. Since week 8, the Jets have beat only one team with a winning record. Funny thing is, so have the Colts. With both teams struggling against the creme of the crop, it may come down to what you like more. Peyton Manning against a defense which has struggled to generate pressure/against prolific passing teams, or a tough Jets football team who has found ways to win?
Give me Peyton Manning.
- Mark Chiarelli
With roughly 24 hours to calm down and soak in what happened last night in Foxboro, I have now deemed it safe for me to continue writing.
Obviously, no one expected what unfolded to actually happen. Clearly in the article I wrote before the game it was supposed to be headed towards a toss-up. As the Sports Blast resident Patriots fan, I was also completely and pleasantly surprised with the 45-3 drubbing laid down on the division rival Jets. Some thoughts following the game.
Rex Ryan Looked Flustered: Listen, I’m fully aware Rex Ryan is a wonderful defensive coach and is the perfect spirit to control a team in New York. But what I saw out of him last night even had me a little bit confused. For the first time in his short New York tenure he did not have the defensive answer, which was often highlighted with a face of despair. His challenge of the spot was an ill-fated act of “sticking his chin out.” Ryan was most likely looking to set the tone early, but the questionable challenge clouded his decision making later in the game(Brandon Tate TD).His decision to kick the field goal from 53 yards out into the biting wind was another questionable move. The attempt, which was no good, set the Patriots up with great field position and eventually a score. Perhaps a punt would have held off a wave of momentum?
Patriots Run Game was the Difference: The running backs only ran for 92 yards on 24 carries, but it was a substantial improvement over past meetings with the Jets. The added presence of a New England running game not only controlled the ball for longer, but took a HUGE amount of pressure off the shoulders of Tom Brady. Against a defense as stout as the Jets, you cannot be pressured with the feeling that you must do it yourself.
Less Moss, More Production: Can we finally close the book on Randy Moss debates after last night? Not only was Darrelle Revis a non-factor because of the lack of a true #1 option, but the offense was much more diversified. It produced completely off generating and taking advantage of the mismatches in the Jets back 7. No more does Tom Brady have to force the ball deep to Moss. It’s all methodical, all the time.
Hats off to “The Hoodie”: You see the 3 spot on the scoreboard next to New York? Attribute that completely to Bill Belichick. Not only is he working with his youngest defense ever, but he’s essentially recreated his team on the fly. In week 2 the focus was Randy Moss, and the defense let Sanchez pass all over them. Since then he’s been able to implement players such as Danny Woodhead and BenJarvus Green-Ellis seamlessly. I don’t even need to get into what a fantastic job he did X’s and O’s wise, do I?
The Jets Aren’t That Bad: Sure, it was a “good ole fashioned buttkicking”, but you and I both know they can’t possibly be that bad can they? Sure Mark Sanchez regressed completely, but a whole season shouldn’t be lost based on one game. I’ve never seen the defense look that soft before, and it’s probably safe to assume we won’t again this season. The Jets bit off way more than they can chew, but are still a legitimate threat in the East.
LT Must Hate his Life: Every time he comes to Foxboro and gets a chance to finally take down New England, something goes wrong. He must seethe whenever he sees Blue, Red, and Silver.