Here is this week’s New England Patriots stock watch:
With Julian Edelman out, we knew Danny Amendola had to step up, and that is exactly what he did, as he was arguably the Patriots’ best player on the field yesterday. Amendola caught 8 balls for 63 yards, and returned a punt 39-yards in the first half to set up New England’s first touchdown of the game. As long as Edelman is on the roster, Amendola probably won’t be a star, but he proved that he can really play, and it was a gutsy performance from number 80.
Vince Wilfork/Alan Branch/Sealver Siliga
The big boys up front made it a priority of theirs to slow down the Jets’ running attack, and after getting abused in their first meeting, Wilfork and company held strong on the ground. The Jets averaged a mere 3.6 yards per carry, and while they struggled to get pressure on Geno Smith, that wasn’t the goal, so we have to give major props to the big guys in the middle. Wilfork also came up with a huge tipped field goal at the end of the game to preserve the win for New England.
Jamie Collins/Dont’a Hightower
It would have been nice to see Jerod Mayo play a full season with these two guys, because Jamie Collins and Dont’a Hightower have developed into two of the best inside linebackers in the NFL. Both were excellent once again yesterday, as they combined for 20 total tackles, and Hightower’s sack of Geno Smith late in the fourth quarter may be the difference between a one seed and two seed.
Danny Amendola will receive most of the attention, and rightfully so. But Brandon LaFell was great as well, and his presence on the outside will be huge for this team come playoff time. His ability to win 1-on-1 matchups outside the numbers is something the Pats haven’t had in years, and he proved his worth once again in this one.
Dan Connolly being out certainly hurt the line, but that was still no excuse, as they were absolutely manhandled by the Jets all game long. Rex Ryan is a defensive genius, and always knows how to give Tom Brady fits. Number 12 went down four times in the first half alone, and while his protection improved a bit with the benching of Josh Kline, the Pats never really got in an offensive rhythm because of the poor line play.
Chung was beat a few times in coverage yesterday, most notably for a 20-yard Jeff Cumberland score in the second quarter. Chung has been great for the Patriots’ defense this year, but yesterday was not his best outing.
Please be okay, Kyle Arrington.