NFL Week 11 AFC East: As The World Turns

Patriots rattle Mark Sanchez in the 2nd half

It is at this point that we want to say this has been the strangest season in NFL history. More ups and downs than a roller coaster at Cedar Point and more twists and turns than the end of a mystery novel. Every division in the NFL has several teams within striking distance of their individual races yet one has an all familiar shape to it. No, not the hoodie again?? Yes the hoodie again. Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots drew and quartered the New York Jets on Sunday night to regain control of the AFC East.

Sunday night’s tilt saw the Jets beaten at their own game. Usually the Jets play a ball control, close to the vest affair leaning on their defense. Then open up their attack in the second half. However Tom Brady and the Patriot offense beat them to it and pried open a 9-7 deficit and pulled away in a 37-16 laugher. The difference was Brady’s ability to make adjustments to how the Jets were defending them. With Darelle Revis hounding Wes Welker all night, Brady opted to throw to his tight ends. They combined for 12 receptions yet it was Rob Gronkowski’s 8 receptions for 113 yards and 2 TDs that was the difference. Ochocinco was brought out of witness protection for a 53 yarder to introduce another element to their attack.

Ninkovich's second interception of Sanchez was the icing on the cake.

In contrast Mark Sanchez didn’t pass the eyeball test all night. He looked uncomfortable and had to force several throws. Stat-wise his night wasn’t that dissimilar from Brady’s. He completed 6 fewer passes for 23 fewer yards (Brady 26/39, 329 yds v. Sanchez 20/39, 306 yds). Yet of those six, two were interceptions with one being the game clincher by Nickel backer Rob Ninkovich.

After Santonio Holmes the Jets didn’t have a speed outlet that scared the Patriot defense. Subsequently the coverage on the intermediate routes grew tighter and tighter and exposed the Jets offense. As we watched this performance, we saw the same thing the television audience saw. The Jets are a slow football team. Plaxico Burress doesn’t have a burst and is only good from in close. Who wouldn’t be at 6’5 catching over a 5’9 defensive back?? Yes he caught his touchdown from seven yards out but only caught 3 passes on the night for 32 yards. On two occasions he ran pedestrian slant routes that Patriots DBs were able to knock down. The tradeoff of Plaxico Burress for Bralyon Edwards has backfired and their receivers no longer have balance. Edwards could stretch the field more and ran better routes to bail out Sanchez on 3rd down. Had to say it…lets take a look at the standings

AFC EAST W L T PCT HOME ROAD DIV CONF PF PA DIFF STRK
New England 6 3 0 .667 3-1-0 3-2-0 3-1-0 5-2-0 259 200 +59 Won 1
NY Jets 5 4 0 .556 4-1-0 1-3-0 2-2-0 4-4-0 215 200 +15 Lost 1
Buffalo 5 4 0 .556 4-1-0 1-3-0 1-1-0 3-2-0 229 218 +11 Lost 2
Miami 2 7 0 .222 1-3-0 1-4-0 0-2-0 1-6-0 158 178 -20 Won 2

Ryan Fitzpatrick is hounded by the Dallas defense last Sunday in a 44-7 loss.

Now what the hell was that that happened in Dallas?? Fortunately our boss, who is a Bill’s fan, is off this week and it looks like his team took it off also. 44-7?? What had been lost in the Bills 4-0 start was the fact that their defense ranked near the bottom. They were opportunistic in those first weeks leading the league with 12 interceptions yet without those they can’t get the other offense off the field. Losing Shawne Merriman has robbed the Bills of pass rush prowess that’s desperately needed. Right now the Bills are ranked 29th on defense and are tied for 27th in sacks with a paltry 15. If you can’t force teams off the field the last thing the Bills can afford are turnovers. In their first 6 games, the Bills were in rhythm and only had 7 turnovers as they started 4-2. Their last 3 games, 2 of which were losses?? Nine turnovers while going 1-2 in those.  This has to stop for the Bills to right a season that looks like they’ve lost a handle on.

Fred Jackson carries several Cowboys defenders in Sunday's loss.

saving grace for the Bills is the play of Fred Jackson. The underappreciated back hit the Cowboys defense for 114 yards to bring his season total to 917 and 6 TDs. He has emerged as a dual threat with 392 yards on 34 receptions and should make the Pro Bowl. His continued performance is needed to help Ryan Fitzpatrick not face a pass rush that is getting to him more in these last four games. With their center Eric Wood sustaining injury the line isn’t as formidable and could see problems the rest of the way. The Bills can right the ship with a big win. Yet it looks like their meal ticket may come from the ground game as we head toward winter games and 3 of their next four on the road. At 5-4 they are in desperate need of a win to keep pundits and other teams from thinking the sand is out of their 2011 hourglass.

Well one further thing to note: The Taylor Blitz Times in it’s NFL Annual Preview picked the New England Patriots to face the New York Jets in the AFC Championship. Well after being swept by the Pats, the Jets are hanging by a thread with 4 conference losses. The Jets have to nearly run the table just to make the playoffs and they had better find some answers. After a season of antics from Rex Ryan, it’s time for his team to deliver on the field and grow into the unit they say they can be. It’s alright to talk and be verbose when your team is pulling out big wins.

Well if the Jets can’t right the ship, their season will be defined by their losses to the arch rival Patriots. So we know Rex Ryan said “I wasn’t brought in to kiss Bill Belichick’s rings”…well…we just received a fax and wanted to share it with you. We’re not exactly sure what it means…you tell us

Thanks for reading and share the article.

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