Tuesday Talking Points: Patriots/Jets Week 3 storylines
By Brendan Howe
What will the encore be for New England against New York when they return home for the second time this season in front of the Foxboro Faithful?
The Patriots are 2-0 to start the 2019 regular season. After beating their rivals from Pittsburgh at home to open the year, they then walloped AFC East division foe Miami on the road in South Beach… a place where they’ve historically had their struggles. Now flipping the page to Week 3, New England returns home to face another rival invading Gillette Stadium: the New York Jets.
Here are some talking points to discuss going into this weekend’s game:
Tom Brady should continue to be Tom Brady
Brady has looked nothing short of locked-in on 2019, completing 68% of his passes for 605 yards and five touchdowns so far. The most impressive part of that? No interceptions… and he’s already had to deal with some issues on the offensive line.
Even with a depleted line, it usually doesn’t affect the GOAT all that much. Typically Brady is so quick to read a defense at the line, a simple audible or a change in the protection is enough to give him that extra half-second to get the ball away before taking a lick.
There’s no shortage of weapons for Brady to work with either this season, and we already know what happens when you give Brady premier help at the skill positions: astounding season results.
Will Phillip Dorsett continue his breakout?
It’s clear that the fifth-year pass catcher has officially entered the ‘Brady circle of trust’, and it’s shown in the numbers. Dorsett has so far hauled in seven passes for 134 yards and two touchdowns, and he’s done it in style. Both scores came in the banner-raising game against the Steelers, a 25-yard strike and a 58-yard deep bomb.
In fact, half of his catches in that game resulted in six points being added to the scoreboard. A quieter performance in Miami last week can be explained with Antonio Brown being added to the mix, but don’t fret, Pats fans and fantasy football enthusiasts… Dorsett will certainly get his looks this year if the early returns are any indication.
How will Antonio Brown impact the running game?
It’s no secret that Antonio Brown is a Hall of Fame-type talent, but how might he impact the offensive basis New England established last year on their way to the Super Bowl with Sony Michel? Through two games, Michel has yet to hit the 100-yard plateau for the season, sitting at 38 rushes for exactly 99 yards.
Brown was targeted eight times on Sunday in his Patriots debut, and one could wonder how much attention AB’s big play potential will take away from the ground game.
How long will the defense’s no-touchdown streak last?
To put it bluntly, this Patriots defense is stifling. Any adjective you can use that relates to ‘good’ fits the bill (no pun intended) with this defensive group.
Three points allowed in 2019, and six points allowed in their last three games dating back to Super Bowl LIII. The last team to reach the end zone against New England was the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC title game at Arrowhead last January.
Think about that for a minute. With the Pats’ next opponent starting a third-string backup this week at Gillette Stadium, you could say with a decent amount of confidence that the streak could live on into Week 4.
Could this really be “deja vu” from 2007?
Inside the walls of the Patriots locker room, all they’re focused on are the Jets. That’s all they’ll tell you. That’s not a secret.
For everyone outside of that room, it’s pretty difficult not to look ahead and wonder: who is going to be the one to even challenge these Patriots? The Jets this week, followed by the Bills, Redskins, Giants, Jets (again), and Browns, make up the first half of the Patriots schedule. With the kind of football New England is playing, it could result in a record of 8-0 by the time they walk into M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore when Week 9 comes around.
New England had a historic season in ’07, one that featured one of the best offenses of all-time. This year, though, we could be looking at a team with an even better squad from top-to-bottom than the one that went 18-1.
And Tom Brady was 30 in that season. He’s 42 now. Whoa.
What do YOU think are the biggest storylines heading into the game against the Jets? Let us know in the comments below!