This is one of those battles in which both teams have axes to grind against one another — whereas one team has been consistent and dominated much of the year, the other team has been inconsistent at times and scraping by. This is a battle of Jets coach Rex Ryan and Patriots coach Bill Belichick, cornerbacks Antonio Cromartie and Darrell Revis against the talented and versatile corps of Patriots wide receivers, and the dominating quarterback this season Tom Brady against the dominating New York Jets defense.
This game is a rubber-band match where the New York Jets won 28-14 in week 2 and the New England Patriots routed 45-3 in week 13.
The New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady had a spectacular regular season. He had 3,900 yards passing, 36 touchdowns, 4 interceptions and a quarterback rating of 111.0. He ranked 9th in terms of passing yardage, and he ranked 1st in the league in terms of overall quarterback rating during the regular season. Brady is a force to be reckoned with. On the other side of the ball, the New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez had 3,291 yards passing, 17 touchdowns, 14 interceptions and a quarterback rating of 75.3 during the regular season. He declined slightly against the Indianapolis Colts in their wild card game, passing 189 yards, 1 interception and a 62.4 quarterback rating. Tom Brady and the Patriots get the edge.
The Patriots running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis had 1,008 yards rushing, 13 touchdowns and averaged 4.4 yards per carry. His partner Danny Woodhead had 547 yards rushing, 5 touchdowns and averaged 5.6 yards per carry during the regular season. It should be noted that during the regular season that Green-Ellis was ranked 2nd in terms of rushing touchdowns overall in the league. The Jets running back LaDanian Tomlinson only had 914 yards rushing, 6 touchdowns and averaged 4.2 yards per carry. Although he started strong early in the season, he has declined during the regular season, although he did have 82 yards and 2 touchdowns against the Colts during their wild card game. His partner Shonn Greene had 766 yards rushing, 2 touchdowns and 4.1 yards per carry. From these statistics, Green-Ellis and the Patriots have the edge in this game.
The top two receivers of the Patriots, Wes Welker and Deion Branch, have a combined total of 1,554 yards receiving, 12 touchdowns and averaged 12.3 yards per reception. For the Jets, the tandem of Braylon Edwards and Santonio Holmes have a combined total of 1,650 yards receiving, 13 touchdowns and averaged 15.7 yards per reception. From the looks of it, the Jets get the edge as they are slightly more effective, but both teams have versatile weapons at their disposal.
The New England Patriots had a combination of tight ends during the regular season, and both have been surprisingly effective. During the regular season, tight end Aaron Hernandez had 563 yards receiving, 6 touchdowns and averaged 12.5 yards per reception; meanwhile, Rob Gronkowski had 546 yards receiving, 10 touchdowns and averaged 13.0 yards per reception. For the Jets, tight end Dustin Keller had 687 yards receiving, 5 touchdowns and averaged 12.5 yards per reception. The Patriots tight ends get the edge by a large margin.
This is one interesting battle. The New England Patriots defense was ranked 30th against the pass and 11th against the rush during the regular season. However, Patriots cornerback Devin McCourty was ranked 2nd in interceptions overall in the league with 7 by season’s end. The stellar New York Jets defense was ranked 6th against the pass and 3rd against the rush during the regular season. They were ranked 3rd overall by season’s end. The New York Jets defense gets the edge by a large margin.
This battle of the words and accusations does lead to some interesting drama in the Northeast Corridor, but let’s get down to business. Patriots head coach Bill Belichick had always kept the team competitive and at a top-tier level for the past 10 years, having at least 10 wins during the regular season each year. He favors the pass although this year, he has shown that he is capable of using the rush to balance out this offense. Jets head coach Rex Ryan had only coached the Jets for two years, but he was quite successful this year with 11 wins. I give the edge to Belichick in that he has more post-season experience, and he has more available weapons at his disposal. And the talking may benefit him as before in his domination of the New York Jets in week 13 of 45-3 at home at Gillette Stadium.
The edge goes to the Patriots, although it won’t be quite as easy as week 13, in my honest opinion. It should be closer 35-20 New England Patriots. Brady and his consistency will find ways to beat this defense again.