Patriots Nation is probably feeling pretty good about itself today, perhaps even bordering on overconfident. The Jets looked horrid and lost Kris Jenkins for the season (not saying I am glad he's injured, but it is a major blow to their defense), while the Patriots are being collectively praised again as a Super Bowl contender, even by the likes of Rex Ryan! It also helps that the Colts and Chargers, perennial AFC power houses, both lost as well.
But the Jets are not a team, or even an offense, to be taken lightly.
Why the Pats and their fans still need to take this weekend's game very seriously after the jump...
If you're holding out hope that the Jets offense is going to be as horrible this Sunday as they were last night you're bound to be sorely mistaken. There's no question Mark Sanchez was awful against the Ravens, but this was due in large part to the Raven vaunted front seven shutting down the Jets running game.
Yes, stopping the run seems like a pretty good starting point in the blueprint to stopping the Jets offense, but that's a lot easier said than done.
As much as I think the Patriots have a solid young defense, they do not have the run stoppers the Ravens have. At least they have not proven that they do... yet.
The Patriots will be facing a desperate team that was just embarrassed on national television. Shutting down Cedric Benson is one thing, shutting down a Jets team with their back against the wall and something to prove is another.
We all know that beating the Patriots would put the Ravens loss squarely behind the Jets and reposition them as a legitimate team. Expect them to come out and play solid football.
If the Jets are able to gain some yards on the ground early against the Patriots it will open up the rest of their offense. Let's not forget either that Sanchez's specialty is the short passing game that tore up the Patriots D in the preseason, especially against the Falcons and Rams.
You could make a pretty lethal drinking game out of every Sanchez bootleg pass or incompletion.
We can't count on the Jets to make the same number of turnovers and penalties that they made last night either. Especially since their game with the Ravens was reffed by the most Pass Interference-happy officiating crew in the NFL. Though they surely look like an undisciplined team who will make costly errors at inopportune times, the Patriots must take advantage in those instances.
The Ravens offense was out of sync for much of the game and Joe Flacco looked flabbergasted by the Jets D in a way that you know Tom Brady will never be. If Brady has time they should chew up the Jets with their own short passing game. But everyone can agree that this Jets defense, even without Jenkins, is one that must be respected. Ball security will be a paramount point of emphasis this week at practice.
So yes, we're all feeling pretty confident right now, but don't expect the same sputtering Jets offense this Sunday. They will be better and the Patriots defense will need to play just as well, if not better than they did against the Bengals.