Topic: Outsider’s View: New England Patriots Week 10

Pass Offense: 52.9% (2nd)
Rush Offense: 17.7% (4th)
O-Line Ranking: Run Blocking 2nd // Pass Protection 6st

Analysis: So, remember the offense that the Jets just saw against Buffalo?  Imagine that, but even better … actually far better.  Not by Football Outsider’s rankings necessarily, but by the sheer number of playmakers that it has.  Last week, the Jets had to contain Fred Jackson and Stevie Johnson – that was basically it.  This week, the Jets are going to have to worry about BJGE from spreads and multiple TE packages the Patriots love, Welker from the receiver spot, as well as Gronk and Hernandez in passing downs and distances.  Oh and don’t forget Deion Branch.  While he might be the least valuable of the bunch, so far this season he’s still more effective overall and more valuable on a play-by-play basis than the Jets top option Santonio Holmes.  Consider that.

It’s a headache in a jar … that’s for sure.  But the Patriots offense has been slumping … until last week when it raised it’s yards per play upwards for the first time all season.  After bottoming out at 4.3 YPP against the Steelers, the trend reversed, moving up to 6.1 YPP in the loss to the Giants.  Of course, the Jets defense is coming off some strong confidence building performances.  It seemed to start last time the Jets and Patriots matched up.  Revis contained Welker much of the day, but the Jets ceded the run much of the day, allowing the Patriots to run roughshod over the Jets up front.

So what do the Jets do this time around?  Well, since the Patriots like to throw it so much, that’s the first priority.  Look for Revis to Mark Welker.  Cromartie to work against Branch (with some help from the safeties when possible), while the safeties and linebackers will have to do their best to contain the Tight Ends .. especially in the red zone.  As far as the run?  The Jets are going to have to make do with less front personnel.  The Jets might be playing out of nickel and dime formations much of the day.

What I will say, is that the three-man safety rotation took an interesting turn last weekend when Brodney Pool started in place of Eric Smith.  Pool saw some time, was injured during the game, but did come back.  Look to see who starts opposite Leonhard this week.  If the Jets are playing heavy passing teams, are they turning over the reins to Pool?  Ironically, Smith had one of his best games of the year last week … was that out of being benched? Stay tuned there.

For the Jets the biggest problem that they face is that it’s so hard to get the Patriots off the field.  The Patriots rank 5th in the league at third down conversions at 48%.  Of course, the Jets have faced one better third down conversion team so far this year … the Chargers are at 52%.  So look for the Jets to do the following: establish the line of scrimmage with a four man front one gapping in run-blitzes, with nickel or dime personnel playing man coverage on the outside, while the safeties and linebackers read and react to the play (run/pass) and redeploy themselves as necessary.  David Harris and Jim Leonhard are going to have to be tip-top in their chess match with Brady’s audible calls.

Pass Defense: 22.4% (26th)
Rush Defense: -0.3% (19th)
D-Line Ranking: Run 23rd / Pass 28th

Analysis: While it can tend to be a trope, I do believe that a good way to limit one team’s offense is to keep them off the field.  Of course, when Peyton was in his prime, it didn’t matter if he had 20 minutes or 40 minutes of possession, the result was always the same … he’d basically score every drive.  But for the Patriots this year, while their offense is playing efficiently, they’re not crushing the world with it either.  They’re fourth overall in scoring per game, tied with Buffalo at 27.8 PPG.  For the Jets then, this means a few things.

1) If their defense can get some stops or turnovers of the Patriots, the Jets can’t squander any opportunities when they start near or beyond mid-field.
2) Back to #1, the Jets have to win the turnover margin.  The Jets lucked out offensively in this regard because their defense played so well, but they have to control the ball better on the Patriots.
3) The Jets will want to establish the run and ground and pound and all that, but their defense is worse against the pass … they beat the Patriots last January in part because Mark Sanchez had a great day.  Sanchez needs to step it up, and play lights out from the team’s first possession to the final whistle.  No showing up at the half silliness.

Special Teams: -0.3% (18th)

Analysis:  The Patriots have one area of expertise, that’s their punting and punt coverage unit.  Other than that, the Jets should have some favorable matchups.  See if Westhoff doesn’t try and steal a possession from the Patriots this week in a favorable situation with a fake punt, or something of the kind.

"Nobody in football should be called a genius. A genius is a guy like Norman Einstein."
-Joe Theismann

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