(CBS Boston/CBS Local) — The New England Patriots are 22-point favorites going into Sunday’s matchup with the New York Jets at Gillette Stadium. And they deserve to be. The Patriots steamrolled two obviously inferior opponents to open the season.
Further examination of those two wins confirms their dominance in all facets of the game. Tom Brady went 24-36 for 341 yards and three touchdowns in the opener and 20-28 for 264 yards and two touchdowns in the second game. Seven different receivers caught passes in each game. In the second game, Antonio Brown was one of them. As part of a receiving core that already included Phillip Dorsett, Julian Edelman and Josh Gordon, he will only improve in his next game in the system.
What could potentially slow down Brown, are the off-the-field issues, which continue to pile up. This past week included another sexual misconduct allegation and a parting ways with Nike. Just this morning we learned that Brown’s accuser said he recently sent her “intimidating” texts. The Patriots are one of the few teams — possibly the only team — that can subsume a player like Brown. But even New England has its limit.
And let’s not forget about the Patriots defense, which has been just suffocating. The Steelers managed 15 first downs, and the Dolphins only 11, mostly in the second half with the game essentially over. The Dolphins struggled for 184 total yards. Maybe the most telling stat is that the Patriots have allowed only three total points total this entire season. That number may stay in single digits for another week.
The banged-up Jets are prepared to start a practice-squad QB when they come to town to face the Super Bowl champions. And their fortunes look bleak. As Bob Pompeani, sports anchor at KDKA in Pittsburgh, sees it, “The Jets are about to go 0-3.”
Their season has gone downhill quickly, and it’s picking up speed. After blowing a 16-point lead to AFC East rival Buffalo Bills to open the season, they dropped another dud to the Cleveland Browns. While the first loss was disheartening, the second was kind of expected. The big difference between Week 1 and Week 2, of course, was the loss of starting quarterback Sam Darnold. The Jets’ bright hope came down with mononucleosis, which will sideline him at least through Week 5.
The Jets competed for parts of the Bills game, with Le’Veon Bell (92 total yards) and Jamison Crowder (14 catches) stepping up with strong individual performances against a stingy defense. The Jets defense forced four turnovers, including C.J. Mosley’s pick-6.
Darnold’s absence was noticeable in Week 2. Trevor Siemian started under center, but left with an ankle injury in the second quarter. (He’s since been sidelined for the season, with ligament damage that requires surgery.) Luke Falk, just promoted from the practice squad, took over. None of it much mattered, as the entire Jets team seemed to sleepwalk through the Monday night matchup.
In Pompeani’s estimation, “…The Patriots, who have been just a machine — 33-3 over the Steelers, 43-0 over the Dolphins — I would expect something similar. Maybe not that wild, but I would say New England should win this one something like 31-6.”
It may not even be that close.
The Patriots play the Jets Sunday @ 1 pm ET on CBS.