After the news broke of Darrelle Revis' departure from the New England Patriots back to the New York Jets, many Patriot fans, myself included, thought he did it solely for the money and his love of the city.
However, fast forward a couple months, and an entire new picture has been painted, which pains most Patriot fans to admit: the Jets are a contender.
At 4-1, Sunday's game in Foxboro will decide who sits atop the AFC East going into Week 8. While the Patriots are a considerable favorite according to Vegas (-10 as of Wednesday), the Jets are sure to play their divisional foe tough.
With one of the best equipped defenses in the entire NFL, they stack up surprisingly well against New England's high-powered offense. A mix of strength and speed in the secondary, coupled with a tenacious Front 7 that loves getting to the quarterback could provide problems for the Patriots come Sunday afternoon.
Fortunately, the Patriots have something that no other team in the NFL has: Tom Brady.
Against the blitz, Tom Brady is the best quarterback to ever play the game. His ability to get the ball out lighting quick, while still being able to bark out who is the middle linebacker and what coverage the opposing defense is playing in helps the entire offense prepare pre-snap.
The Jets defense cannot stop the Patriots, but only hope to contain them. Receivers such as Julian Edelman, Rob Gronkowski, and Dion Lewis won't be factored out of the game, but hopefully diminished if you are a Jets fan. (If you are, I feel sorry for you)
While Todd Bowles has done an incredible job of righting the ship that Rex Ryan tried to destroy so badly, the Patriots are a better overall team.
The Patriots defense has had it's fair share of struggles, but has gotten to the quarterback consistently throughout the entire season. Their 19 sacks on the season is good for 3rd best in the league, and against a quarterback like Ryan Fitzpatrick, who, similarly to Andrew Luck, likes to hold the ball to try and make plays, there is a chance the Patriots force Fitzpatrick to make mistakes.
This game will come down to two main things:
1. Can the Jets hold the Patriots to around 30 points, similarly to the Cowboys?
2. Do the Jets trust Ryan Fitzpatrick enough to let him loose to try and match the Patriots offense?
My gut tells me this will be a close game, with Dion Lewis emerging as the difference maker as the Patriots win a close, hard-fought game. But then again, I thought they would blow the Colts out.
By Pete Packowski