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New England Patriots vs. New York Jets: keys to winning

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Everyone knows there's a game this Sunday, right?  I mean, how could you not?  Rex Ryan is proclaiming he's going to stomp the crap out of our New England Patriots.  The problem with the mouth from Joisey?  He may make a good go of it for our matchup.


The personalities of the teams are very much a reflection of their head coaches.  Belichick, the martial arts master, prefers a thoughful, decisive approach.  Ryan, the street fighter, likes barking a lot.  Both approaches work.  The question is how befuddled and frustrated will the barking dog get when he's run out of tricks?

The Jets' defense hammered Houston.  From confusing blitz packages to constant pass rushes, Texans' QB Matt Schaub simply couldn't get a word in edgewise.  He struggled to get to his receivers, holding their star WR, Andre Johnson, was held to 4 for 35.  The difference?

This Sunday isn't against Matt Schaub, it's against one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL: Tom Brady.  Many have stated the blueprint for winning against the Patriots is the Giants style defense of Super Bowl XLII.  That was true...then.  Don't you think Belichick has watched the same film every other head coach has?  Don't you think he's worked to fix the mistakes made during that game?  He doesn't have 3 rings for nothing, sport.

Tom Brady will be the intellect, the brainiac of this game.  When Ryan brings the house, Brady will simply check down to Welker or Faulk.  If Moss can get downfield fast enough, Brady will get it to him for 10-15 yard gains.  If the OL, RB's, and TE's can protect Brady long enough, maybe Moss will have a chance to break away.  Tom Terrific will do what all top tier quarterbacks can do: carve up a defense trying to put too many blitzers in the backfield.  Or maybe he'll keep Ryan and crew guessing with a strong running game, keep 'em unbalanced.

I've said protection is the name of the game.  That's where smashmouth comes in.  Laurence Maroney has already stated he plans on, "...hitting the linebackers in the mouth and being physical".  I believe it.  That goes for the TE's, too.  I think they'll be tasked with protecting Wonder Boy more than catching passes.

On the defensive side of the ball, it's time to stuff the run.  While decent enough, the Jets' receivers aren't blazing any trails; it's the running backs we need to worry about and the matchup against Houston proved that.  2 out of 3 touchdowns were scored on the ground, Thomas Jones in particular.  Stuff the gaps with either a 4-3 or a 3-4 and linebackers to fill the other gaps.  The chances of rookie Mark Sanchez mounting a destructive passing attack is pretty low.

Protect Brady, confuse the Jets' D, stuff the Jets' running game, and befuddle Sanchez.  The master will speak on Sunday.