New England Patriots' Defense Key Against New York Jets

By philipalexander
Chandler Jones
Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

We all know about the injuries to the offensive players of the New England Patriots. Tom Brady could be without several major weapons, making it virtually impossible for the offense to put up major points. This is the time where the retooled defense must step up.

The New York Jets‘ offense should not present much of a challenge to the Patriots’ defense. Geno Smith is a raw rookie quarterback who does not have many weapons in the running game or passing game. He made plenty of mistakes in his first game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but those mistakes were not fully exploited.

Plus Smith does not have that great of an offensive line. Left guard Vladimir Ducasse is a major liability. Ducasse spent his first three seasons rotating between right tackle and both offensive guard spots because he was not really effective at either. The young guard really struggles in pass protection. Right guard Willie Colon has similar problems, which was why he cut from the Pittsburgh Steelers. Smith will have to deal with a lot of interior pressure, especially from right defensive tackle Tommy Kelly. Left defensive end Rob Ninkovich could get into the fray as well, as defensive coordinator Matt Patricia loves to match up his defensive ends against offensive guards on inside stunts.

Another huge problem is the lack of a true standout running back on the Jets. Bilal Powell is currently the “starter,” but he has already shown that he does not have difference-making ability. He’s better suited for a backup role. Speaking of backups, running back Chris Ivory was supposed to be the starter when general manager John Idzik Jr. traded for him a couple of months ago. That hasn’t worked out because Ivory was injured for most of training camp. Ivory also failed to stand out when he carried the ball against the Bucs.

Patriots’ defensive backs should easily be able to cover the depleted Jets receiving corps. Jeremy Kerley will miss the game with a concussion, taking away a reliable safety valve for Smith. Who knows how healthy Santonio Holmes really is? The highly-paid wide receiver barely played against Tampa Bay. Even if he’s out there for more snaps against New England (which will be a stretch considering the three-day turnaround), his effectiveness should be limited. Second-year wide receiver Stephen Hill is a threat because of his size and speed, but he is very raw. Nobody knows what to expect out of him. Tight end Kellen Winslow II showed that he still had something left last week, but it was just last season when most people thought that he was washed up.

This game is a dream matchup for the Patriots’ defense. The defenders get another raw rookie quarterback, but this one has less weapons than the last opposing rookie quarterback (E.J. Manuel) did. Smith should struggle mightily to move the ball and will likely turn it over a couple of times. That is what should win the game for the Pats.

Philip Alexander is a New England Patriots writer for Follow him on Twitter @steely0906, “like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.


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