Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Pats Spank Jets 45-3 On Monday Night Football

Hyped as the Super Bowl of the regular season, Monday night's matchup of the best two teams in the AFC turned into a landslide victory for the home team New England Patriots over the visiting New York Jets, 45-3. The shellacking evened the season series at 1-1, kept New England undefeated at home (6-0) and more importantly, earned itself first place outright in the AFC East with a 10-2 record, with the Jets in second at 9-3.

Tom Brady

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady followed up a perfect 158 QB Rating on Turkey Day against the Lions with a nearly perfect 148 QB Rating against the Jets. And for only the second time in his career, he accomplished the feat of throwing four touchdowns for the second game in a row.

If there was any question before, there is none now that New England is the best team in football, and that if the vote was held today, Brady would be named MVP of the NFL this year. Not even Rex Ryan would quarrel with that now. With 27 TDs and only 4 INTs thrown, there isn't a hotter QB in the league right now (as Michael Vick has cooled off a bit).

As the team leader of the youngest team in the NFL, Brady needs to be on top of his game and pretty much has been for most of the year. In 12 games, he's only thrown INTs in two of them (against the Jets in week two and against Baltimore some weeks later). And in three of the last four games, he's thrown for over 300 yards and thrown 13 TDs with no INTs in those last four games. That's outstanding.

Defense Dominates

Having allowed over 150 yards rushing, it may look like Jerod Mayo, Vince Wilfork and the Pats defense didn't exactly "stuff" the run but they did when it mattered and didn't allow many big gains—the longest was a rush of 14 yards by LaDainian Tomlinson.

As predicted though, the Pats defense made the Jets a one dimensional offense due to the secondary tightly covering Mark Sanchez's receivers (Braylon Edwards, Santonio Holmes) in the short and long field pretty much all game long. The Jets defense, by contrast, missing Jim Leonhard, could do nothing to stop Brady.

Having gotten down 17-0 early, Mark Sanchez and company had to throw the ball more than they'd have liked to, and eventually, a Bill Belichick defense seized on that as it has so often in the past, picking off three Sanchez passes.

This article was first published and can be read in full at Blogcritics Magazine

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Patriots Aim For Revenge Against Big Mouth Rex & Jets

Never has an NFL head coach who has accomplished so little run his mouth so much like Rex Ryan of the New York Jets has in the past year or so. And all you can do is just chuckle.

From proclaiming he wouldn't kiss AFC East rival Bill Belichick's rings, to saying his team should be favorites to win last season's Super Bowl (which the Jets didn't appear in), and that all the "experts" say the Patriots are the NFL's best team, "except me," Ryan is full of the type of tough talk and bravado that is more fun than disrespectful of the opposition.

He could brag that he owns a career 2-1 record against Belichick (including a 28-14 win at the New Meadowlands in Week 2 this year that the Pats are looking to avenge come Monday) and that the Jets, going back to the Eric Mangini era have beaten the Pats three of the last four times. Ryan, however, still has the utmost respect for them and therefore won't provide too much bulletin board material for the Pats to use against him.

New England hosts the Jets on the December 6, 2010, edition of Monday Night Football for what is going to be the biggest regular season matchup of the season with a lot riding on it. The winner not only claims first place in the AFC East outright (as both teams sit atop at 9-2), but could be in good position for a first round bye in the playoffs and possibly host two home games.

The loser of this game could fall one game behind with four games left, and depending on how it does the rest of the way, end up on the road for three playoff games in its march to the Super Bowl. The Jets have Chicago and Pittsburgh as tough opponents on the road in the last quarter of the season, while the Pats have Chicago and Green Bay to battle in that stretch. So they are obviously battling for more than just to to establish who the best team in football is (with the 9-2 Atlanta Falcons begging for consideration as well).

This article was first published and can be read in full at Blogcritics Magazine