Breaking down the Jets-Pats contest |

Breaking down the Jets-Pats contest

Dear Editor:

The likelihood of a Jets’ win rests on several factors. First and foremost, can the Patriots’ momentum be stopped? Right now they are a team that has found a zone and a momentum that has reached a break-neck pace. Brady looks better than he did in their almost undefeated season and the smaller targets to hit have not bothered Tom in the least.

With their uncanny ability to seemingly disappear from a defender’s vision, it will take man-on-man coverage to take the pass away. Good thing the Jets have the premier cornerbacks in the league in Revis and Cromartie. The coverage will have to take away the quick slant that Belichick likes to run and stick the Pats’ receivers at the line. Anything that the Jets defense can do to disrupt the rhythm of the passing game will be the key to defeating Tom Terrific and his diminutive receiving core.

Coach Ryan will have to resist the urge to send either cornerback on a blitz. Jason Taylor, Bart Scott and the other Jets linebackers will have to cover the running backs on those passes over the middle when the receivers take the secondary deep. Let’s hope that Mr. Taylor is not asked to keep up with a streaking Woodhead or Ben-Jarvis as Jason’s legs don’t seem to be able to run flat out for more than 20 yards anymore.

Back to throwing Brady’s rhythm off: The pressure will have to come from the line, much the way that Strahan, Umenyiora and the Giants brought the rush in Super Bowl XLII. This is something that the Jets have not done consistently all season. They have been relying too much on the blitz package for pressure on the opposing quarterback and that will be a key to the game. Without a pass rush, a quarterback like Tom Brady can make for a long and agonizing afternoon for the defense. The Jets will also have to worry about Crumpler and Gronkowski at the tight end position; for Brady uses all his weapons effectively. Lastly Pool, Wilson and Smith cannot let Branch get deep. They need to emulate the great Willie Mays and play center field with golden gloves and lightning speed.

Now, on the other side of the ball for the New England Patriots is the unstoppable force of Vince Wilfork. This land mass of a defensive lineman will be the highest priority for the Jets offensive line. There will have to be double-teams and a lot of trap blocking going on to just slow Wilfork down. Vince is massive, he is fast and the Jets have to beat him, to move the ball. Keep an eye out for the Jets offense to run those trap block plays they did last week ’cause you just will not move the “irresistible force” (nickname now the copyright of CV) head on. I would also count on Brian Schottenheimer to run a few misdirection plays and give Brad Smith more than his customary three or four snaps in the wildcat to slow down a rampaging pursuit. Mark Sanchez will have to play the game of his life and will have to calm the butterflies and adrenaline that make him throw passes that Harold Carmichael, Michael Jordan and John Glenn (yes, the astronaut) could not pull down. If the misdirection plays and trap blocks get LT and Shonn Greene rolling, then Mark will be able to mix it up and not have to deal with Vince leading the bull rush.

Keep an eye out for more than a few roll-outs for Sanchez. If Mangold, Slauson and Moore are able to hold a pocket together, then it will be all up to the Californian transplant to find holes in the coverage. One thing that Rex Ryan will undoubtedly be discussing is the sneakiness of Brandon Meriweather’s play. He lulls a QB into thinking that they can squeeze one in, only to close the gap for a pick. Expect Braylon and Santonio to fight for every ball and for Sanchez to try and take advantage of their speed and stature. Mark just needs to keep it in the lower atmosphere.

Make no mistake, there will be a battle fought in Gillette stadium this week but the outcome will hinge on the Jets ability to get up for the game, their desire to continue on a quest to the Super Bowl and their preparedness to take on the best team in the NFL… at the moment.

Chris Vecchiarello


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