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Woodhead is a classic X factor candidate for this game.
It's amazing how greatly the absence of Gronkowski affects the game plan for this matchup.
Without him, the likelihood of the Pats getting the one-on-one matchups they want is significantly decreased. Gronk's absence allows the Jets to bracket Wes Welker and Aaron Hernandez, making Tom Brady's reads much tougher.
So how do the Pats take some of the burden off of Brady?
Short, quick strikes that get the ball to playmakers and force the defense to come up and make tackles.
The Jets aren't an elite tackling team—this is a quick and dirty statistic, but according to my count, the Jets miss a tackle for every 7.33 tackles they make. That's just 20th in the NFL.
To give that stat some credibility, the top 10 ranked teams in missed-tackles-per-tackle-made include Houston, San Francisco, Chicago and Pittsburgh. Those are four of the top five teams in total defense.
Anyway, if the Pats can get the ball to Edelman, Welker, Hernandez and former Jet Danny Woodhead with room to spare, they'll rack up the YAC and tire out the pursuing defense.
Running quick screens, checkdowns, short curls and dumpoffs into the flat will help simplify Brady's reads against a swarming D.
A few big plays in space may also slow down the pass rush and bring the corners and LBs up in press coverage. That will open up holes in front of the safeties for Welker and the TEs.