The Patriots went full, old-school Batman on the New York Jets Sunday, complete with “BAM!” “WHAP!” “KA-POW!” graphics. It was a crazy, fun game to watch. Wide receivers throwing touchdown passes; Offensive linemen dominating at the line of scrimmage; Backs running with authority; Sacks, interceptions, defense sowing confusion... this game had something for everyone. Unless you were a Jets fan realizing your team may have drafted the wrong quarterback. Oops.
Not surprisingly, the NFL pundits aren’t quite ready to latch onto the ‘Patriots turn the corner’ storyline. Apparently when a struggling team puts it all together, it matters if it was against a bottom-of-the-barrel opponent. The only fix will be to show their stuff in the coming weeks: At Chargers, at Panthers and home vs. the Browns. Patriots are only down one game in the division and still very much alive in the AFC. The Chargers will be a tough opponent, but I believe the Patriots will eke out a win this week and turn Halloween into fright night for Los Angeles.
Around the AFC East:
Baltimore Ravens (5-2) Bye
Las Vegas Raiders (5-2) - Bye
15th - Frank Schwab (Yahoo! Sports): We’ll have to see if the Patriots’ offensive explosion was a big step forward or a case of the Jets being that bad. Either way, it was obviously a good day for rookie quarterback Mac Jones and his teammates. A Week 8 game against the Chargers will be a great test. [+4]
15th - Nick Wojton (TouchdownWire): The Patriots smoked the Jets in their AFC East showdown, 54-13. Rookie QB Mac Jones had the first 300-plus yard game of his career with two touchdowns. Not a lot went wrong for New England. [+5]
15th - Consensus (Bleacher Report): Last week, the Patriots took the one-loss Cowboys to overtime before eventually coming up short. On Sunday, they took out their frustration on the hapless Jets. New England’s offense racked up a staggering 551 yards and peeled off chunk play after chunk play on the ground and through the air. The defense allowed fewer than 300 yards while adding two sacks and three takeaways. Rookie quarterback Mac Jones lauded the effort, but he also cautioned that the team needs to start stringing good performances together. “We’ve got to do that every time. It can’t be a one-time thing,” Jones told reporters. [+1]
16th - Mike Florio (ProFootballTalk): Never, ever write off the Patriots. [+2]
16th - Conor Orr (SI): While the Patriots are beating up on their inferior opponents like certain BCS schools trying to make their way back into the tournament, I predicted a week ago that they were a club on the rise. I still believe it. Mac Jones has been the best rooke QB by a mile. [+4]
16th - Russell S. Baxter (Fansided): It was the first rematch of the season as the Patriots looked to extend their winning streak vs. the Jets to 12 straight. Damien Harris ran for 106 yards and two scores as New England ran for 148 yards. Rookie Mac Jones threw for 307 yards and a pair of scores and Bill Belichick’s offense rolled up 551 total yards. It was also the first home victory in five tries for the Pats this season, who had scored only 125 points in their first six games this year. [+4]
16th - Danny Kelly (The Ringer): The Muddled Middle category. [+7]
16th - Dalton Miller (ProFootballNetwork): The New England Patriots have heard everybody talk about their offense lacking big-play potential, and they decided they’d take it out on the Jets. They’re still not an explosive offense. They don’t have the playmakers or the quarterback to consistently pick up chunk plays. But boy, did they show the Jets that they’re the superior team! They were a perfect 6-for-6 in the red zone and 5-for-5 in goal-to-go situations. Damien Harris had a big game on the ground, and Mac Jones looked like an MVP candidate against New York’s defense. Let’s see what they can do against the Chargers before we claim their offense has turned a corner.
17th - Harris Ahmadzai, Dylan Fraychineaud (New Arena): The Patriots would be the best team in football if they were able to play the New York Jets every week. In two games against the Jets this year, the Patriots have outscored their AFC East foe by a total of 79-19. New England ended this one on a 37-6 run which included a 21-0 fourth quarter by the Pats. Damien Harris and J.J. Taylor each had two scores, and Mac Jones finished the day with 306 yards and a pair of passing touchdowns. The Patriots will face a much tougher test this week with a date in Los Angeles to take on the Chargers. The last time these two teams faced off, New England shutout Justin Herbert and the Chargers 45-0. [+5]
17th - Mark Maske (Washington Post): If the Patriots could play the Jets every week, all would be well. They’re 2-0 against the Jets after routing them Sunday — and 1-4 against everyone else. Rookie QB Mac Jones was solid, and the Patriots got a tone-setting TD on an early gadget play. Now the challenge is to actually win two games in a row. It hasn’t happened yet. [+3]
18th - Vinnie Iyer (Sporting News): The Colts were coming up lame early in the season with a brutal schedule, but things have softened up nicely for them and they’ve crept back into AFC wild-card contention under Frank Reich. Catching the Titans will be very difficult, even with a little at only twos, but Carson Wentz getting the offense back on track has Indianapolis back in the playoff mix. [+7]
18th - NFL Nation (ESPN): Prediction we missed: The defense will be the strength of the team. With a rookie quarterback in Mac Jones, the projection was that he would be more of a game manager to complement a defense and special teams that spearhead the club, somewhat similar to the early years of Tom Brady’s Patriots tenure. But the defense and special teams have been up-and-down, especially in the clutch. The secondary currently looks undermanned, especially after trading recovering CB Stephon Gilmore to the Panthers. [+3]
18th - Karen Guregian (Boston Herald): They finally got a win at home. Next on their 2021 bucket list? Beating a good team. They’ll get their chance Sunday in LA against the Chargers.
18th - Dan Hanzus (NFL.com): He’ll never acknowledge it publicly, but nothing brings Bill Belichick more pure joy than embarrassing the New York Jets. His Patriots did it again on Sunday, pouring it on Robert Saleh’s team in a 54-13 win that ended a four-game losing streak at Gillette Stadium. Led by the already ever-steady Mac Jones, the Patriots scored on nine of their 10 possessions, not counting kneel-downs. “We finally kind of saw a little bit of a result that was good, and we’ve just got to stick to the formula and stick to the process,” said Jones, now a fully programmed and operational soldier of Patriot Way. [+3]
18th - Pete Prisco (CBS Sports): It’s too bad they can’t play the Jets every week. They own them and they usually make them look like a playoff team. It’s a big step up in competition this week with a road trip to play the Chargers. [+6]
19th - Justin Leger (NESN): The Patriots once again asserted their dominance over the Jets with a 54-13 win over their AFC East foe on Sunday. Rookie quarterback Mac Jones topped the 300-yard mark for the first time in his young NFL career while tossing two touchdown passes. Wide receiver Kendrick Bourne added a TD pass of his own on a trick play while running backs Damien Harris and J.J. Taylor added two TDs apiece. New England will look to improve to .500 next Sunday in a tough road matchup vs. the Los Angeles Chargers. [+3]
19th - Ryan Dunleavy (NY Post). [+5]
21st - Nate Davis (USA Today): Before you get overly excited about their 41-point shellacking of the Jets, understand New England is the first team in the Super Bowl era to notch its first three wins against rookie QBs. If the pattern holds, the Pats’ next victory will come in Week 17 against Trevor Lawrence’s Jags. [+2]
AVG RANK: 17.1 [+3.7]