Tale Of The Tape: New England Patriots At New York Jets
- QuarterbackThe Patriots don’t have the kind of explosive offensive team that fans are used to seeing, but they are 5-1 and in first place in the AFC East. Despite all their problems, Tom Brady led a remarkable fourth quarter comeback that allowed the Pats to beat the previously unbeaten New Orleans Saints. With the heat on, Brady threw a perfect pass to rookie Kenbrell Thompkins to give New England the win.Geno Smith has had several bright moments for the Jets in his rookie year, but he was not at his best in New York’s Week Six loss to the Steelers. Smith appeared confused by the Pittsburgh defense and he threw two interceptions. Smith has shown that when he has time in the pocket, he will deliver the ball with velocity and accuracy.
- OffenseThe Patriots are searching for offensive weapons so they can go up and down the field and light up the scoreboard. Stevan Ridley and LeGarrette Blount have both had fumbling issues this year, but Bill Belichick has no choice but to turn to them. Thompkins can get down the field and make plays, while Julian Edelman can make tacklers miss. Injury-prone Danny Amendola (head shot) may not be able to play.Bilal Powell has given the Jets a credible ground game through the first five games of the season, but he was limited to 30 yards against the Steelers. That could be indicative of the way things will go for Powell in this game. The Jets' unheralded receiving crew knows how to find the soft spots in the zone, but Clyde Gates and Jeremy Kerley are not going to scat the Pats.
- DefenseThe Pats played a solid game against the explosive Saints, and other than one fourth-quarter breakdown that gave the Saints the go-ahead touchdown, this unit played a praise-worthy game. Linebacker Jerod Mayo is an excellent tackler who suffered a shoulder injury while tackling Darren Sproles. If he’s not healthy, the Jets could take advantage.The Jets have been playing excellent defense for head coach Rex Ryan this season. They have proven to be one of the best tackling teams in the league to this point, and linebacker David Harris may be the Jets’ best. He had 10 stops against the Steelers, while defensive end Sheldon Richardson had six tackles and a forced fumble.
- Special TeamsThe Pats play very consistently on special teams. Julian Edelman has the ability to flip the field with his quickness on punt returns, while the coverage teams excel. Placekicker Stephen Gostkowski almost never misses and he connected on a 54-yard FG attempt against the Saints.The Jets also have solid special teams. While they don’t have a legitimate punt or kickoff return threat, they do an excellent job in coverage. Nick Folk is a solid kicker who provided the winning field goal in the Week Five win over Atlanta. Ryan Quigley is a good but not great punter.
The Patriots are no longer an offensive juggernaut, but they have the kind of defense that can take advantage of an up-and-down rookie quarterback like Smith. Look for Brady to make one or two key plays that will allow the Pats to come out of MetLife Stadium with the win. -Steve Silverman, CBS Local Sports contributor