If you skipped dessert this Thanksgiving weekend, stuffed from the abundance of food you thought you could eat, than you certainly feasted on the Patriot’s dominating highlights streaming across your television.
And I am sure those highlights were just as tasty as ever.
In fact, they were likely so good, Patriot fans will be indulging in the leftovers for many months. Seeing Jet’s quarterback Mark Sanchez jettison himself into the rear side of his lineman will fill the holiday blooper reels for a long while, or at least until the Jets finally return coach Rex Ryan and staff to whatever discount store they found them at.
If most judge a player's talent three years after they are drafted, than the same people should judge a coach and his staff three years after they take front office. On Thanksgiving, the Jets made one thing clear: three years after their entry into the Jet’s compounds, many will judge Ryan and his office’s draft status a bust.
By now, everyone knows the score, has analyzed the record-setting statistics and watched the Patriots score their 7 touchdowns repeatedly. We might not see the Patriots score 3 touchdowns in less than a minute for a long while, but it certainly indicated they are even more opportunistic than many originally thought.
The question remains: when will their defensive turnovers dry up?
Some say the Patriot’s rate of seizing their opponent’s possessions has to dry up. After all, the closest team to the Patriots is Baltimore at +12. Yet, New England continues to indicate they will thrive off turnovers, a trait that helps them swing the balance of the game in their favor. Opponents do not make mistakes; the Patriots cause them to make mistakes.
If however, the turnovers do dwindle, than many may see something similar to last season. As last year progressed, the Patriots and their defense appeared to play with more swagger, confidence and robustness. For now, I will take my chances that New England will hold its +24-turnover differential, a statistic they have kept above +20 for three straight seasons.
More than others, the Patriots can take advantage of its opponent’s weaknesses. What appeared surprising was the Patriot’s willingness to attack the Jets in middle of the field, even with tight end Rob Gronkowski’s absence. To counter, the Jets dropped 5 or more defenders into the secondary on 56 of New England’s 65 offensive plays. In 2010, the Jets were able to gobble up (pun intended) the middle of the field and pressure Tom Brady.
Yet, fast forward three years and the Patriots are more experienced. They have more tight ends with specific skill sets, a more dynamic set of running backs and their receivers are more lethal. The Jet’s talent has regressed considerably and it showed.
The Patriots are a game-plan team and next week they may move away from a 2 tight-end set. In any regard, seeing the Patriots unfazed by their major setback at the tight end position should leave fans confident heading into what will likely be another Superbowl run.
Now, feast on that idea.