There was a similar game like this not so long ago, two seasons back to be exact. Week 10 of the 2006 season the Jets (4-4) traveled up to New England (6-2) to battle their AFC rival massholes; although this game wasn’t as incisive as tonight’s matchup it certainly was an inspiring turn for gang green. The Jets road into Spyville and walked away with a muddy, sloppy, defensive 17-14 win, and a cold handshake among two coaches. If I’m not mistaken, the nickname “Mangenius” would start being referred to coach Mangini shortly after that.
What can Cassel do for you?
I remember getting a text from my friend shortly after Brady’s ACL/MCL injury congratulating me on the Jets AFC East division title. I laughed because I really thought that it was quite possible the Jets were just given a “hall-pass” and a shot for the playoffs. But low and behold here we are, Pats are still in the division race lead by none other than Matt Cassel, a man who since week 2 against the Jets had not started any football games since high school. But surprisingly enough he’s played fairly decent stepping in for the departed (“Say hi to your mother for me”).
The Patriots are not the offensive juggernauts they were last season, partly because of the injuries to key players such as Brady and Maroney. But Cassel continues to improve and develop in the Patriots offensive system (hell he should, he’s been the backup for like 6 years). A lot of credit should be given to the offensive line. They’re doing their best not to lose another quarterback.
With the exception of last season, the patriots always were a strong running football team. They like to run between the tackles and pound the ball up the middle. But with injuries to Maroney, Bam Morris and Lamont Jordan has made it difficult for them to establish a consistent running game. Surprisingly Jarvis-Green has been a huge uplift for their offense. Once listed on the practice squad is now the featured back leading the way out of the backfield. Patriots are 7th in the league average over 130yds rushing per game.
But injuries to certain key players are not unfamiliar grounds for the Patriots. The Patriots are good at just filling guys in to play those roles. Remember a few seasons ago when they were short at cornerback on the depth chart because of injuries. So Bill goes ahead and places wide receiver Troy Brown at nickel and wouldn’t you know it, he actually succeeds and played the position to perfection. Someone needs to knock out Belicheat because I don’t think Kraft can just fill in the head coach role as Belicheat does on offense and defense.
The Patriots are hurting on both sides of the ball with injuries. Rodney Harrison, one of the dirtiest players in the NFL, is done for the season and quite possibly his career, thank God for that (HGH won’t save your career this time asshole). Adailus Thomas will definitely be out for this game with a left arm injury and he too could be out for the season.
A. Thomas was the quarterback of the defense. His loss is detrimental to the overall defense. Special teamer Pierre Woods will be his replacement and he’s got huge shoes to fill. This will also put a lot of pressure on Jerod Mayo and the rest of the linebacking corps to cover for him.
The defensive line has been solid for the Pats all season. Although statistically it doesn’t show they have been effective at stopping the run and getting to the quarterback at the time it’s most needed.
The secondary is also very weak. With Rodney Harrison out, Brandon Meriweather had to move back to safety leaving a hole at nickel. Deltha O’Neal and Hobbs are the starters and with injuries to Wheatley and Sanders, Jason Webster will have to step up and play a bigger role.
Thomas Jones is leading a very effective ground attack for the Jets. Leon Washington has been a nice change of pace back on 3rd downs and passing situations with his excellent agility. Together they have rushed for almost a combined 1,000 yds and 10 touchdowns, a huge improvement from last season.
The additions of Pete Kendall and Damian Woody on the offensive line are finally starting to pay off. Not only are they paving the way for the running backs but they are giving Favre more pass protection and time to throw the ball. Favre has only been sacked 16 times so far this season.
This leads me to the man of the hour, The Miracle Man himself, Brett Favre. Jets needed a quarterback with experience and an arm, plain and simple. So Tannenbaum went out and traded for one of the best. So far he’s been…..entertaining. It was obvious early on that he wasn’t completely comfortable with the playbook and this new complex offense. To be honest I still don’t think he’s got the whole thing down. Plus he’s had to develop chemistry with his wideouts and that too can take a season to formulate. The man certainly likes to take chances. His TD:INT ratio is closer than it should be for this gun-slinger. Still, if I were the Jets, there wouldn’t be any other QB (with the exception of P.Manning and Brady) that I’d want to have the ball driving down the field with under 2 minutes left in the 4th.
The last 2 weeks have been huge for the Jets defense. Combined they have given up 20pts but have had 8 turnovers, 7 sacks and 2 defensive touchdowns. The big playmakers have been the recent additions to the team; Kris Jenkins and Calvin Pace. Jenkins numbers don’t show it but he’s been remarkable lining up at nose tackle. Every play it seems like he’s pushing 2 offensive linemen backwards towards the quarterback. At 365lbs it’s kind of hard to stop this man from moving forward. Calvin Pace plays the OLB position to perfection. He’s affective at rushing the quarterback with 4 sacks and he can drop back in coverage and defend tight ends and running backs. Hopefully Vernon Ghoulston is watching very thoroughly as this is expected of him come next season. If not the Jets will have to face with quite possibly another 1st round draft pick bust (yo Brickashaw!)
Darrelle Revis is developing into a solid #1 corner for the Jets, quite possibly a shut down corner. Most opposing teams have been throwing away from him and Kerry Rhodes and exploiting the rookie Dwight Lowery and the slow safety Eric Smith. If there is a weakness on the Jets defense it would have to be in their secondary.
Matchups to Look Out For:
Jerod Mayo vs. Thomas Jones – Mayo has been the Patriots most consistent defender and was a solid pick for them in the draft. He will have his hands full trying to stop both Thomas Jones and Leon Washington.
Randy Moss vs. Darrelle Revis – The Jets will try and confuse Matt Cassel with blitz packages and cloud coverage schemes. On certain occasions if a safety blitz is required Revis will have to handle Moss one-on-one. Hopefully he can step up to the challenge.
Da’Brickashaw Ferguson vs. Richard Seymour – Brick is definitely a better pass blocker than a run blocker. He’s always struggled against Seymour and the Patriots. Hopefully Faneca can provide some support and help him out on occasion.
Jarvis Green vs. David Harris/Eric Barton – Green has been running the ball effectively and the Patriots are 7th in the league rushing. The Jets have been great against the run, one of the leagues best and will be put to the challenge again on short rest.
Wes Welker vs. Dwight Lowery – Lowery has struggled of late. He’s been inconsistent at times. The Jets need him now more than anything. Ty Law was signed to help add depth to a weak secondary but I doubt he’ll be ready to go by gametime. Welker is the catalyst for the Jets, they need to try and shut him down.
Pierre Woods vs. Dustin Keller – This should be a blessing for Keller and Favre. Dustin was his favorite target last week with 6 catches 107yds and a touchdown. Without Adailus Thomas the Pats will have a hard time matching someone up against him. Look for Schottenheimer to get Keller the ball early.
I don’t know why the Jets went ahead and signed Ty Law. It only makes this rivalry more intense. But it’s week 11 and Ty hasn’t dressed at all this season. He’s obviously not going to be in any kind of football shape but he insists that he will play tonight. I understand the dropping of Justin Miller. Sure, 2 seasons ago he was a pro-bowl kick returner but he never acclimated into a starting cornerback the Jets hoped for. And considering he’s still rehabilitating from the knee injury he was expendable.
So how do the Jets beat the Massholes tonight? Simple, just keep playing the way they have been playing. On offense, stick to the basics and play hard-nosed football. Pound the ball with Thomas Jones and throw short route passes to give receivers room to run after the catch. Open up the middle of the field with Dustin Keller and Leon Washington. Don’t take chances right away going deep. If Coles and Cotchery can start getting separation early then start airing them out, otherwise wear down the front 7 with the run game. Bill Belicheat is not dumb, he will know what to expect from Leon Washington when he enters the game. Mix up the play calling and throw some screens. If they can take Mayo out of the play on those screen packages the Jets can churn up a bunch of yards. Hold onto the ball. Turnovers will hurt you especially when you throw interceptions in the red-zone Mr. Farvara.
On defense, get in Matt Cassel’s face early and consistently. Force him to make mistakes. He doesn’t have Brady’s brains or his accuracy to throw down field. Change up the blitz packages and take away the short passing game; Wes Welker has killed teams with his quick 5-8yd outs and slants. If Ty Law can play this is where they need him most, to bump him off the line of scrimmage and his routes putting more pressure on Cassel to look elsewhere.
The weather is going to be crummy as ran/ice and winds are in the forecast for this evening in Masshole country. But the Jets should have no worry. They have a quarterback whose passes will not be affected by wind turbulence 15yards away from scrimmage. The Jets need to come out with some swagger. Earlier in the year in week 2 they put up a weak effort and lost. They are a much better team now. They are starting to believe that they are a good team and can play with the rest of the elite. They need to start acting like they’re the best team in the AFC East because after tonight, they can be......and they will
Jets – 23
Pats - 16