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Sports Then and Now

How The New England Patriots Can Beat The New York Jets (Again)

Posted on January 13, 2011 by Erik Frenz

Tom Brady threw for 326 yards and four touchdowns in his last game against the Jets.

The New York Jets did some soul searching at halftime of their game against the Colts, and found the answer they’d been looking for. It had eluded them for the first half, but they finally recalled their identity and started running the ball.

In other words, they got back to what has worked for them in the past and has rarely let them down.

It isn’t likely that the Jets will come out slinging the ball on Sunday.

Why? Because quite frankly, Sanchez has let them down before. In just two contests at Gillette Stadium, he has one touchdown, seven interceptions, and two fumbles.

He won’t thrown three or four picks if he doesn’t even throw the ball more than 15 times.

Quite simply, the Patriots will have to shut down the run. That’s not the question. The question marks pop up around the defensive line, where both Mike Wright and Ron Brace have been placed on season-ending injured reserve since the end of the regular season. The Patriots now boast a defensive line featuring Vince Wilfork, Gerard Warren, Kyle Love, Myron Pryor, Brandon Deaderick, Eric Moore and Landon Cohen.

Brandon Spikes makes his return from suspension.

Luckily, the Patriots get back Brandon Spikes after serving his four-game suspension for violating the league’s PED policy.‘s Mike Reiss points out that he recorded seven tackles in 23 defensive snaps against the Jets in their previous meeting. That’s good for one tackle for every three plays.

This snap graph from’s Mike Dussault shows us that Spikes was deemed a run defender by Belichick and was used much more heavily in that capacity. His presence should mean great things for the Patriots defense on Sunday against the Jets.

I wrote earlier this week that Tom Brady and the Patriots seemed to have decoded the weaknesses in the Jets’ defense in their last meeting. The Patriots’ offensive line dominated the battle of the trenches, and made Tom Brady’s day that much easier against the Jets’ man coverages.

Consistently, Tom Brady simply threw the ball away from Darrelle Revis and exposed many other match-ups. A deep shot to Rob Gronkowski early in the game when he was covered by back-up safety Eric Smith resulted in a first-and-goal at the one-yard line. A fourth-and-three mismatch of Deion Branch against Antonio Cromartie resulted in a touchdown that put the Patriots up 17-0.

These aren’t necessarily plays they can rely on, but Tom Brady’s mechanics at finding the mismatch are unrivaled, and he should have no problem doing it against the Jets once again. He did it to the tune of 326 yards and four touchdowns in their last meeting, both his highest totals by far against the Jets defense since Rex Ryan took over.

It’s unlikely the Jets will show any new wrinkles in their defense that the Patriots have yet to see from them. As much as Rex Ryan likes to think Tom Brady doesn’t study like Peyton Manning, the Patriots have dissected more tape on the Jets than just about any team this season.

Rex Ryan may shiver at the thought of kissing Belichick’s rings, but the way the Patriots are playing right now, it may be at least another year before Ryan has one of his own.

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