NFL.com’s Bucky Brooks provides a short list of his Week 10 X-factors, or lesser-known players, who could have a big impact on Sunday’s games. For the big Patriots-Jets AFC East matchup on NBC Sunday Night Football, Brooks chooses Patriots WR Chad Ochocinco.
There was once a time when Ochocinco would garner headline attention due to his status as a No. 1 receiver, but he has been a non-factor in the Patriots’ offense to date. He only has nine receptions for 136 yards, and spent most of his time standing on the sideline despite serving as the unit’s No.3 receiver. With Wes Welker likely blanketed by Darrelle Revis, the Patriots’ passing game could hinge on Ochocinco’s ability to win isolated matchups against Antonio Cromartie and Kyle Wilson. If he is able to deliver a breakthrough performance in a key AFC East matchup, Ochocinco could finally emerge as the impact playmaker Bill Belichick envisioned as a part of the Patriots’ offense.
Brooks is way off in his assessment of the Patriots’ X-factor against the Jets.
While Ochocinco could (doubt it) step up and provide Tom Brady with a solid target outside of Wes Welker, the real X-factor of the Patriots would be RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis. The Pats would be much better served offensively against the Jet defense to showcase their running game. Run defense is the Jets’ weak point. They’re ranked 21st in the league in yards given up on the ground per game (123) and have yielded 4.2 yards per carry to opposing running backs.
All it takes is for one to jog their memory back to Week 5 when these two teams first met in 2011. The Patriots defeated the Jets 30-21, and had a run:pass ratio of 35:33, and much of that was on Green-Ellis. The Law Firm exploded to his best game of the season, running 27 times for 136 yards and 2 touchdowns. Not only could the running game be effective again Sunday night, but it would help open up Brady’s play action. Wes Welker’s 73-yard reception against Darelle Revis was off of a play action pass.
What do you think?