The AFC East has a Super Bowl favorite, a Gotham media darling, and a classic underdog who are all vying to be pro football’s best for 2011. Then you have the Miami Dolphins who lost their quarterback Chad Henne to season ending shoulder surgery as of Thursday. Where do the Dolphins go besides a rebuilding year now with their main quarterback out?? Then more important question comes up… Who are the New York Jets?? Are they the team we here at Taylor Blitz Times picked to win Super Bowl XLVI, or are they the .500 ball club emblamatic of their 2-2 record??
Right now there is a team to the northeast, dying to get some payback and deal the Jets possibly a crushing blow to their season in the Patriots. They have treated their first four games like a 7 on 7 passing drill with the league’s #1 ranked offense. Do you realize this team is averaging 507 yards per game?? The New Orleans Saints are #2 and average nearly 50 yards less per game. YIKES! Is this really the time for a Jets defense, which has given up 34 points in each of the last two games, to take on a Patriots team averaging 33.8?? Tom Brady has passed for 1,539 yards with a league leading 13TDs while leading the second highest scoring team in all of pro football.
Last Sunday the Patriots beat the Raiders 31-19 behind a modest day from Tom Brady (226 yds passing) yet went to the ground game for the first time this season. BenJarvus Green-Ellis rushed for 75 yards while Stevan Ridley (pictured here) ran for 97 with each scoring once. They kept the ball from the Raiders with 30 carries for 182 yards in the most balanced game of the season. However their defense is still struggling. Campbell lit them up for 344 yards yet a few timely stops by the Patriot defense ultimately derailed the Raiders. In a battle of once beaten teams, the Patriots proved they were the more complete team. Now they set their sights on an old antagonist who upset them in the playoffs in the New York Jets. Think this team hasn’t had that game circled on the calender?? Think again…but let’s check the standings.
|New England||3||1||0||.750||1-0-0||2-1-0||1-1-0||3-1-0||135||98||+37||Won 1|
|NY Jets||2||2||0||.500||2-0-0||0-2-0||0-0-0||1-2-0||100||95||+5||Lost 2|
That’s right the Buffalo Bills were knocked from the ranks of the unbeaten yet what have we learned?? Well they fear no evil and have gone after their opponents with aplomb not seen since Jim Kelly. When you’re down to a perennial division rival with 3 minutes to go and your first play is a five step, hitch and throw up the sideline for 40 yards, you’re not fearing anybody. Last week the Bills offense was slowed in a 23-20 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. The Bills were up 17-3, in a game where many felt they were due for a letdown after the emotional win over New England. Yet the #1 defense in football slowed the Bills offense down and rookie Andy Dalton led the Bengals to a comeback win. However the Bills are still 4th in scoring with 33.2 points per game. http://www.pro-football-reference.com/teams/buf/2011.htm Fred Jackson is doing his best Thurman Thomas impersonation with 369 yards rushing, 4TDs, and another 13 receptions out of the backfield for 147 yards more. While Ryan Fitzpatrick has thrown for 1092 yards 9 touchdowns and only 3 interceptions. They now return to the friendly confines of Rich Stadium where they get to take on the back pedalling 1-3 Philadelphia Eagles. Its going to be loud Michael Vick, just warning you.
Which brings us back to the “Boys from Gotham”…who are they?? Well right now they are a .500 football team. The defense is the strength of this team yet has given up 34 points in back to back road losses to the Raiders and the Ravens. Those were bad losses to fellow AFC teams that will have tie breaker affects on playoff seeding at the end of the year. Now they have to take on a revenge minded Patriot team who is averaging nearly 34 points?? Yikes this doesn’t look good and it’s time to face facts. These three early road games were where this team was to establish it’s dominance. If they could have stood tall and stepped on the leaders of the AFC North and the strongest team in the AFC West they would be coming into this game with confidence and seize control of the conference. Then to put the hammer down on the Patriots would have cemented that point home. Once you think about their stealing their opening game against the Cowboys after a sluggish start and this team could be 1-3.
However they are 2-2 and have a chance to right the ship today. If they can ride football’s #8 defense to a victory against the Patriots they will have held serve that they may still be best in the AFC East. http://www.nfl.com/stats/categorystats?tabSeq=2&defensiveStatisticCategory=GAME_STATS&conference=ALL&role=OPP&season=2011&seasonType=REG&d-447263-s=TOTAL_YARDS_GAME_AVG&d-447263-o=1&d-447263-n=1 Right now Mark Sanchez has been given free reign of the offense to be able to audible and throw downfield. He isn’t lighting it up statistically and something needs to be done with Shonn Greene and the running game. We know Center Nick Mangold has been out but the ineptitude of the Jets running game is derailing this team. Do you realize that after 4 games Shonn Greene leads the Jets in rushing with only 157 yards?? In four games?? Pathetic!! His rushing average is a paltry 3.1 yards per carry with Tomlinson averaging 3.0. These have to improve and they may have to get into a groove and give Tomlinson the ball first and supplement with Greene. Something has to be tried or they’ll continue to be undone by an unbalanced offensive attack. Will it happen this week in Foxboro??
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