By Dan Zeigarnik, Patriots Daily Staff
Last week’s loss to the Colts was undeniably bad. The Pleasantville-like, happy-go-lucky days that Patriots fans enjoyed for much of this decade are clearly a thing of the past. Spygate, the Giants Super Bowl loss, and now “fourth and two” are inextricably linked with the Belichick era.
However, I believe that negative events deepen fans relationship with their beloved sports franchises. If Patriots fans are to join the pantheon of sports fandom-hood with the Packers and Eagles, they need bad stories along with the good.
None of that though, has anything to do with the Jets game at hand today. Here’s what we’ll be looking at this afternoon:
1) Patriots win-at-all-costs mentality vs. Last week’s ghosts
All the various discussions (and criticisms) about last week’s Indy game are normal amongst sports pundits and fans, but they cannot cloud the Patriots personnel judgment. They need to maintain that cutthroat mentality and never second-guess their commander. As long as they are focused on the Jets and implementing their game plan, they will be OK.
2) Randy Moss vs. Darrelle Revis
Darrelle Revis got the best of Randy Moss in their much-hyped Week 2 matchup. The story goes, as told by those with an endless need for talking points, that Randy can be taken out of games by elite corners that pop him in the mouth and play aggressively. As a result, Randy gets flustered and starts to take more plays off, and he ends up having a bad game. Randy’s performance against the Jets seemed to prove the Mike Felgers of the world correct, but others say that it’s easy to cover Moss aggressively when you have safety help over the top. It will be interesting to see how this matchup plays out now that the Patriots have Wes Welker back to take some of that safety help away from Moss.
3) Mark Sanchez vs. Patriots defensive schemes
Mark Sanchez is young and has been having an up-and-down rookie year. If the Patriots can confuse Sanchez with all of their various defensive formations, they could force the USC standout into some untimely errors.
4) Jets no-huddle offense vs. Patriots Defense
In Week 2, the Jets came out in the second half with a no-huddle offense and it devastated the Patriots, who were ill-prepared to deal with it. Bill Belichick has surely addressed this issue during practice. If the Jets succeed in marching up the field with their no-huddle, it could be a very long day for Patriots fans.
5) Braylon Edwards vs. Patriots Secondary
Braylon Edwards has always been a talented receiver and will surely be a handful for the young Patriots secondary. Look for over-the-top safety help throughout the game as Dean Pees tries to shut down one of the Jets most potent offensive weapons.