Behind Enemy Lines: AFC East Week Three Roundup
You know why you’re here. I don’t know why you’re here, but you know why you’re here. Since you’re here and know why you’re here, and I’m here and don’t know why you’re here, let’s get straight to why you’re here.
New England Patriots:
How do good teams play when they go up against a bad team? They put the pedal to the metal and you don’t let up for a second. That’s what the Patriots did to the Jaguars on Sunday. Tom Brady and co. one-up’d their performance from the previous week, and even LeGarrette Blount got to see the field for a bit. And for the first time this season, Gronk was held in check. And by “in check,” I mean he didn’t score and barely got over 100 yards. But from an offensive perspective, there’s not much to say that I didn’t already write about last week after the Bills game. This group is one of the most highly powered offenses in the NFL, and Tom Brady is playing better than any other quarterback in the league (except of course the oft porn-stachioed Rodgers).
For those who were unsure going into this season, Belichick has not only recreated, but has also improved upon his 2007-2012 defense. This is a unit that gives up a lot of yards, on the ground and in the air, but buckles down in the redzone, makes plays on third down and generates turnovers. Belichick has switched almost seamlessly from the lock-down defense of last season back to his bend-don’t-break system this year.
Malcolm Butler continues to impress while going against opposing teams’ number one, and Devin McCourty is still very good at intercepting footballs. Jamie Collins, Dont’a Hightower, and Jerod Mayo are one of the best linebacking trio’s in the NFL. Dominque Easley and Chandler Jones generated consistent pressure all night long, while Malcolm Brown continues to look like Wilfork 2.0. Now we just need to get the man a pair of massive blue overalls.
New York Jets:
What do you think I would have rather done with part of my Sunday; watch the Jets-Eagles game, or literally anything else? You probably guessed right. But alas, I care about you the reader almost as much as I care about the rock that I stole from outside a Krueger’s this weekend (his name is Rip), and so I endured (much like Rip).
The biggest thing I noticed this weekend? How bad the Jets linebackers are. “Football Genius” Chip Kelly finally decided to show up, and it’s clear from the tape that his offensive game plan revolved around punishing the Jets for their single defensive flaw. The Eagles got made most of their yardage picking on the LBs, and it’s something the Jets need to fix before other teams follow suit.
On the offensive side of the ball, it became apparent just how much the Jets need Chris Ivory. I thought going into this year that Zac Stacy, Bilal Powell and Stevan Ridley would factor into the run game heavily, but it is far and away the Chris Ivory show. Without Ivory, the Jets were forced to beat Philly through the air. For those of you who are just now blacking in after your 10 year bender, the Jets cannot beat people through the air. Ryan Fitzpatrick is “serviceable” (and I do use the term loosely) when you ask him to make 25 passing attempts a game, but 50? Fitzy doesn’t win you games through the air, regardless of whether or not he’s throwing to Brandon Marshall. Speaking of the wide receiver, it looks like he is now 100% a Jet after Sunday’s hilarious lateral.
This is a team that got exposed on Sunday. The mask of a good team was taken off, and underneath were the Jets, just as ugly as ever. As it happens, the Dolphins were also exposed* on Sunday, and this upcoming matchup could end up being a pivotal game for both teams this season.
*there were a few either choice adjectives I could’ve used here, but my editor thought “thoroughly and completely rectally shafted” was a tad bit obscene.
WARNING: the following analysis contains footage that may be hard to watch for some viewers. Caution is advised.You know what separates good teams from mediocre ones? How they lose. Mediocre teams get beat, and they let it hang around and affect how they play for the next two or three weeks. Good teams come out of a loss swinging like a bat outta hell, and that’s exactly what the Bills did this weekend against Miami. “Thrashed,” “gutted,” “demolished,” and “thrashed” again are a good way to describe what the Bills did to the Dolphins this weekend. You think I’m just hating on the Dolphins? Think again Geoff (that’s right, I know your name you sneaky little bastard). The Bills were far and away the better team on Sunday, and here’s why:
The Bills are Rex. Rex is the Bills. This team has wholly and completely adopted the Rex Ryan swagger that the Jets had for years. Who else would send out Richie Incognito and Charles Clay as the team captains for the game? The faith these players have in Rex is apparent, and it’s part of the reason they’re winning.
Tyrod Taylor continues to look like a franchise quarterback, but time will tell if teams lock in on his running ability like they did Kaepernick and RGIII. The Bills also got help from one Karlos Williams, who will plague both opposing teams and LeSean McCoy fantasy owners for at least the rest of the season. Don’t let the tape against the Patriots fool you; this defense is scary. For all the wives of offensive coordinators who are reading right now (which is all of them I’m sure), if your husband is waking up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat, don’t fret. He’s probably just playing the Buffalo Bills next week.
One thing is sure; three weeks into the season, it looks like Rex Ryan plans to make good on his promise to bring the Bills to the playoffs year one.
Note from the Editor: