W2W4: New England Patriots vs New York Jets

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When the Patriots Pass the Ball:

Oct 18, 2015; Indianapolis, IN, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) throws a pass against the Indianapolis Colts in the second half during the NFL game at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports

The New England passing attack presents a unique look for teams to defend. They pick, they run every route in the tree, they throw inside the numbers and outside them, they attack vertically and horizontally, and they feature a tight end like no other in the league in Rob Gronkowski.

Gronkowski has become the biggest X-Factor in the NFL and no team has been able to stop him. Injuries are the only thing that stops Gronkowski, opposing teams can only try to slow him down. Teams slow him for a quarter, maybe a half, but like last week in Indianapolis he will get eventually get open and that can change the entire game.

The New York linebackers are not the type of athletes who can match Gronkowski’s size and strength. Expect safeties Calvin Pryor and Marcus Gilchrist to have a lot of responsibility for Gronkowski as Pryor is big and strong and Gilchrist is quick and athletic. Linebackers David Harris and Demario Davis would be overmatched with Gronkowski (or Scott Chandler) just due to size and may be used to slow him at the line of scrimmage and pass off coverage.

Wide receiver Julian Edelman is another matchup problem for opposing defenses. The Jets are counting on Buster Skrine to be healthy (concussion) and be able to take on Edelman or Danny Amendola. Darrelle Revis may be the best cornerback in the NFL but covering slot receivers in space is the closest thing to kryptonite that exists for him.

Oct 18, 2015; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Washington Redskins wide receiver Pierre Garcon (88) catches a touchdown pass in front of New York Jets corner back Darrelle Revis (24) during the first quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Antonio Cromartie–a long, strong cornerback–also does not matchup well with Edelman and Amendola. Their quickness in space neutralizes his size and length advantage. Cromartie may be asked to play on Gronkowski, but while he has size, he just does not have the size needed to slow Gronkowski. He may cover the outside receiver be it Brandon LaFell or Keshawn Martin. 

The Jets pass rush remains based on their front line as Williams, Richardson, and Wilkerson are both quick and strong rushing inside. Where New England is most vulnerable, however, is on the outside. Sebastian Vollmer is pushed to the left tackle spot and second year tackle Cameron Fleming is forced into action after an injury to Marcus Cannon tests the depth of the edge blockers.

Pushing Wilkerson and Richardson outside negates their strengths as pass rushers . Calvin Pace is ancient at age 35 for outside linebackers and has not been a factor in 2015. Quinton Coples has continued to struggle despite the lofty expectations New York has had for their 2015 first round draft pick. His playing time continues to shrink in Todd Bowles’ defense and he has been held without a sack so far this year.

The Jets are not facing Kirk Cousins this week. No struggling Ryan Tannehill or Andrew Luck or journeyman Josh McCown. The Jets are facing future Hall of Fame quarterback Tom Brady who is at home and still smarting from his offseason of “Deflategate” nonsense.  Brady provides a true test for the Jets and he will not hesitate to throw the ball 40 times against the Jets defense on Sunday.


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