As a Jets fan, I can remember when the Pats would crush us every time we played them.
It was a sad time to be a Jet fan—the Pats were just too good. That team was able to win championships in 2001, 2003, and 2004, and they did that by just beating you up.
As we look at the 2007 Pats, I just sat there in awe when they were putting up points like it was going out of style. However, when they faced the Giants in Super Bowl XLII, they looked like they didn’t know what to do out there, and were only able to put up 14 points. This was the same team that was able to put up 38 points in the last regular season game against the same Giants.
The next season they were still able to go 11-5, but missed the playoffs. And last year they went 10-6, but were crushed by the Ravens, 33-14 in the playoffs.
What happened to this great team?
It seemed like they forgot how they won their championships. Defense will always win you a championship, no matter what. I can remember when the Pats had a solid defense—led by Tedy Bruschi at linebacker—and from there were able to just put in different players at the offensive positions.
Remember when an aging Corey Dillon was traded to the Pats? The Pats were able to just move parts on offense because the defense was so good that you didn't need to score 30 points a game to win—just give them 21 and the defense would hold their own.
Ever since the Pats moved to being a more offensive team (when they got Wes Welker and Randy Moss), the defense has been on a downward slide because no one was watching. The Pats went on to have that perfect season and were stopped by a more powerful defensive team. The offense will be able to get you points, but if you don’t have a defense to stop giving up points, you won’t be able to win.
As we look at their last playoff game against the Ravens, it showed that defense is how you win. Tom Brady was picked off three times, and the line was not able to stop Ray Rice from running all over the field.
You can score all the points you want in the regular season, but you need a hardcore defensive to win in January (and to all the people who will talk about “oh how come the Jets weren’t able to beat the Colts then because the Jets defense was so good,” I say simply, the Jets weren’t as good as the Colts were.)
As we look at the season coming up, the Pats will have a rough time handling teams. With the lost of Adalius Thomas, they will not be able to walk over other teams like they had in the past. It will be very interesting to see what happens now without a strong defense that Bill Belichick was once known for.
They will still be able to put up points against some of the weaker teams, but against stronger teams, it will be fun to see what happens then.