Patriots vs. Jets: Who Has the Edge Offensively?
In the history of the New York Jets-New England Patriots rivalry, the key to the game has always been the Jets defense against the Patriots offense.
This year is a little different.
The Jets are starting to air the ball out more as a team and could give the shaky Patriots defense some trouble.
The Patriots are also having troubles offensively. They have lost two straight games and are bearing down on a third loss—if the Jets can pull out a victory Sunday.
The Jets have endured their own three-game skid this season, but after a two-game win streak, they are back in control and tied for tops in the AFC East with the Patriots (and Bills).
This game is one of the most meaningful and important games of the season for both teams and will dictate playoff position.
So instead of looking at how the Jets defense can stop Tom Brady, let's look at who has the better personnel on the offensive side.
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Mark Sanchez has been playing fairly well this season in the new-look Jets offense.
Sanchez has a 13:7 touchdown to interception ratio. He has shown at times that he can lead the Jets offense by airing the ball out.
However, he is still young and trying to find a way into the upper tier of NFL quarterbacks. He makes mistakes a lot and is consistently inconsistent.
Tom Brady, on the other hand, is one of the league's top passers.
Brady used to be arguably the best quarterback in the NFL, but with superior play by Aaron Rodgers and a noticeably poor last couple of weeks, Brady's standing is in doubt.
In his last three games, Brady has thrown four interceptions—very unlike him.
Two of those three games were losses; Brady's impact on his team is clear.
Even though Brady has been struggling, he still remains a top five quarterback in the league—far better than Mark Sanchez.
Leading the top passing game in the NFL, Brady has the edge in this one.
Edge: New England Patriots
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The running game advantage in this rivalry has usually gone to the Jets, but this year, statistically speaking, the Patriots have the better rushing attack.
The Patriots are ranked 16th in the NFL, while the Jets are ranked 25th.
If stats said all, the Patriots would have the better running backs.
The three-headed attack of BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Stevan Ridley and Danny Woodhead has proven itself as an actual threat in the game.
Led by Green-Ellis, who has 452 yards on the year, the Patriots have shown they can run the ball—but in the last three games, Green-Ellis has been shut out offensively.
The Jets, on the other hand, are moving in the opposite direction.
After a slow start for the running game, the Jets have improved dramatically. Shonn Green finally went over the 100-yard mark against the Chargers and is now finding some room to run.
With a change of pace back in Joe McKnight and a third-down receiving threat in LaDainian Tomlinson, the Jets have the edge in this game.
Edge: New York Jets
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The Jets and Patriots are usually both very consistent at offensive line.
This year seems to be different for both teams, as they are both struggling.
New England's offensive line has not given Tom Brady the time he needs to deliver strikes to the Patriots' offensive weapons. Last week, when the Patriots played the Giants, the line showed how weak they actually are. The key to beating Tom Brady is pressure and the Giants brought a lot of it.
The Jets are not much better. They have been slowed down due to a few injuries, especially one to center Nick Mangold, but that is still no excuse for how poorly they have been playing—especially in the run game.
Usually, the Jets offense will push and grind its way for rushing yards, but the Patriots have been better this season.
The latest trends seem to favor the Jets, though, as the offensive line appears to be getting stronger, while the Patriots' line seems to be weakening.
Edge: New York Jets
The tight ends for the Patriots are exceptional—when you have Tom Brady slinging the ball, that's no surprise.
Rob Gronkowski is Brady's favorite target, especially in the red zone. Gronkowski is ranked second in the NFL in both receiving yards and receptions. He has also tacked on six touchdowns for the Pats.
Aaron Hernandez is also a deep threat for the Patriots. He is a fast, tall tight end that can beat any linebacker that tries to cover him.
The tight ends for the Patriots seem to be the best in the league.
The Jets have Dustin Keller, who leads the team in receiving yardage and receptions. However, since his quarterback is Sanchez—not Brady—he doesn't always get good opportunities.
With Gronkowski and Hernandez playing out of this world and Tom Brady under center, the Patriots have the edge in this one.
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Both the Patriots and the Jets have some talent at the wide receiver spot. This matchup is very close.
The Patriots have Wes Welker, who seems to always be in sync with Brady and always finds the openings in the defense.
Welker has been one of the top receivers this season and has almost reached the 1,000-yard mark already (960 yards). He also has six touchdowns, including a 99-yard reception.
However, behind Welker there isn't too much talent. Deion Branch is good, but this is mostly due to Brady, and Chad Ochocinco has been a bust so far this year.
The Jets have a dynamic duo in Santonio Holmes and Plaxico Burress.
After a slow start to the season, Burress is finding some consistency with Sanchez and is now on the same page with his quarterback.
Holmes has always been the best receiver for the Jets and is having another good season, coming up with ridiculous catches and providing deep-threat ability.
With the emergence of Jeremy Kerley, the Jets have a lot of talent at the wide receiver position.
Edge: New York Jets