Keidel: Who Thought Patriots, Jets Would Battle For AFC East Lead?

By Jason Keidel

You’ll be able to see why the Massive Apple bewilders the world. We boast about two native NFL golf equipment, but each play in New Jersey. We additionally advised you certainly one of our groups would contend for a playoff spot, whereas the opposite might go zero-sixteen.

We have been proper. We simply had it backwards.

Certainly, Giants (zero-5) are lifeless within the Hackensack River, whereas the Jets (three-2) are a part of a 3-group logjam atop the AFC East.

Many writers — together with yours really — not solely questioned when the Jets would win one recreation, but in addition figured they’d problem the 1992 Seahawks for probably the most inept offense in league historical past. (Seattle averaged fewer than 10 factors per recreation in ’ninety two.) After an zero-2 begin, Gang Inexperienced has gained three straight, flipping soccer orthodoxy on its head.

Positive, the Jets have a adverse level differential, outscored 106 to ninety two. Their main rusher, Bilal Powell, solely has 240 yards. However the Jets are at the least within the prime half of the league in dashing, with 111.four yards per recreation. And their modest, two-headed assault of Powell and Elijah McGuire averages four.7 and 5.2 yards per carry, respectively.

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It’s a disgrace the Jets can’t toss the pigskin, because the Pats trot out an astonishingly dangerous passing protection, yielding a league-worst 323 yards per recreation via the air. However the Jets ought to discover some operating room, as New England additionally surrenders a mean of 124.four yards on the bottom, twenty fourth within the NFL.

Talking of the sudden, who noticed the Patriots dropping twice in 5 video games? Or dropping each at residence?

As all the time, their Tom Brady-led offense can transfer the ball at will. They usually might feast on the Jets, who’ve yielded 143 yards per recreation on the bottom, thirtieth within the league. Not surprisingly, Brady leads the NFL in passing, at 320.four yards per recreation, and can certainly discover tender spots within the Jets twelfth-ranked cross protection (211 YPG), particularly if Rob Gronkowski performs.

Their gifted import, Brandin Cooks, hasn’t fairly had the on-subject thoughts-meld with Brady that all of us anticipated. But even with the lack of Julian Edelman, the valued slot receiver and Wes Welker clone, the Pats will put up copious factors and win them double-digit video games. It’s their appalling protection that would sidetrack their normal run to the Tremendous Bowl.

To not wax too romantic on the Jets, nevertheless it’s inconceivable to overstate how traditionally dangerous most thought they might be. The summer time was spent questioning not about their playoff push, however fairly whom of the trinity of coveted…

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