The New York Jets have one of the most talented defensive lines in the league that ranks in the top 5 of the league against the run in both the DVOA and EPA models. They also rank in the bottom 10 of most metrics against the pass.
What more do you need to know to figure out the Patriots game plan?
“I’m for moving the ball and scoring points, so if that’s throwing it, if that’s running it, as long as we move the ball and score points, that’s good,” Belichick said. “The better balanced you are, I think there is certainly a benefit to that. It helps the other complementary part of the game, the passing game helps the running game, the running game helps the passing game, which gives the defense more things to worry about and more things they have to defend, and you have more ways to attack them.
“Sometimes it tilts one way or the other. We run the ball 40 times or in the high 30s. Some weeks we run it in the teens. It’s hard to keep calling runs or passes if they’re not working well. I mean, I’m not going to call 40 runs for 53 yards and say, ‘Well, we ran it 40 times.’ I mean, we’re not doing that. We know if we run it, we’re going to call runs. We know if we throw it, we make yards and we’re going to throw it.”
Belichick isn’t going to call a run play for the sake of calling a run play; he’s only going to do it if he believes it will generate a positive contribution for the team. That is why 80% of the Patriots running back snaps against the Jets over the past two seasons have gone to receiving backs like Shane Vereen and James White.
The Jets are clearly vulnerable in the passing game, especially to running backs out of the backfield. There’s no point in running into a brick wall just to say that you are willing to run the ball. RB LeGarrette Blount should get some well-deserved rest this week as the Patriots will lean on White and Lewis to generate offense out of the backfield.