With both teams at 3-3, I guess you can call Sunday’s matchup between the New England Patriots and the New York Jets a “must-win” as the winner will get a head start on the rest of the division. It’s always a joy to see Tom Brady against the Jets defense as you really don’t know what you’re going to get sometimes. You can get the Brady that picked the Jets apart during Week 10 of last year or you can get the Tom Brady that was sub-par in the 2010 playoffs against this Jets team.
Hopefully Brady brings his best as he’s coming off of a tough loss that can be placed on his hands, but to do this Josh McDaniels may want to shape the offense so that it avoids defensive back Antonio Cromartie. While he hasn’t been a big name cornerback since his move to the Big Apple (it’s not his fault he’s playing next to Darrell Revis). If I remember correctly, Cromartie was a great cornerback for the San Diego Chargers and a threat to not only intercept a pass, but to run it back. Though Andrew Luck isn’t Tom Brady, Cromartie had two interceptions returned for touchdowns though they were taken back due to penalties.
It’s likely that Cromartie will trail Wes Welker the entire game as he’s been the Pats best receiver since Week 3 and has notched consecutive 100-yard games. When Welker goes, this offense runs smoothly. But this team has enough options to survive without another 100-yards from him and that’s why they should stay away from him or any other receiver that Antonio is guarding.
Since drafted in 2006, Antonio Cromartie has had 25 interceptions. That’s 5th most in that time period behind Asante Samuel, Charles Woodson, Ed Reed and DeAngelo Hall. Of those 25 interceptions, he’s taken 3 of them back for touchdowns.
And if you watch Brady play there is always one or two passes that he throws recklessly and with Cromartie on the field there is a chance that “mistake” could result in seven points.
Another reason they should stray away from Cromartie is the depth at cornerback the Jets have. After Antonio, the second best defensive back is Kyle Wilson (unless they play Tim Tebow at DB). Can he contain a Deion Branch or Brandon Lloyd one-on-one without help the entire game? With Brady at quarterback, that’ll be highly unlikely.
Call this a buyer’s beware for Brady. Cromartie did a great job on Andre Johnson and he’ll be solid against whoever he’s defending as the Pats receivers aren’t lightning fast or overly physical. If it were me, I’d stay away from his receiver, but we’ll see what Brady and Bill Belichick have up their sleeves come Sunday.