Outsider’s View: New England Patriots – Week 7

Brian Bassett, TheJetsBlog.com

We at TJB love advanced statistics and have long been fans of Football Outsiders.  Now that the season is underway, we’re going to take a look at the weekly opponents through the overall and unit rankings through the lens of Football Outsiders.  Let’s take a look at how the Patriots are stacking up.  

(As a heads up, negative percentages are good on defense, but bad on offense & specials)

Tom Brady, Calvin PacePass Offense: 6.2% (17th)
Rush Offense: -10.7% (21th)
O-Line Ranking: Run 8th / Pass 6th

Analysis: Consider this season so far Tom Brady’s solo acoustic set.  Wes Welker is on a record pace in Denver, Aaron Hernandez is in jail and Rob Gronkowski can’t get on the field while Danny Amendola can’t stay on it.  Anything that is good that is happening in New England is the sole responsibility of Tom Brady.

What do I mean by this?  Without the severe threat of the passing attack, Stevan Ridley has only proven to be as good as the blockers in front of him, and those blockers have been decent, but not great.  Granted, Ridley did have an impressive game against the Saints, but the Saints rank 32nd at stopping the run, while the Jets have been the league’s best through six games.  The best single aspect of the offense is the team’s pass blocking, and that comes almost entirely from Brady’s ability to get the ball off quickly and to avoid sacks.  Edelman and Ridley are doing what they can and while Kenbrell Thompkins is getting better, Aaron Dobson isn’t.

The Jets defense is reeling off their loss to the Steelers, but they are a unit who can pressure Brady and will get the chance to do it with Quinton Coples this time, who will only make things better for the whole unit.  The Jets also might see an oportunity to work Dee Milliner back into the game in the secondary.  For the Jets, Rob Gronkowski is the Damocles Sword that hangs over their gameplan.  If Gronk can suit up Sunday, it will immediately change the complexion of this rather pedestrian offense.

Pass Defense: -6.4% (7th)
Rush Defense: -5.3% (23rd)
D-Line Ranking: Run 31st / Pass 23rd

Analysis:  I don’t know how to more delicately say this:

MARTY MORNHINWEG, RUN THE F***ING FOOTBALL!!!!!!1!!!1!!!!!!!!!

This Patriots unit was already one that could easily be run on and they’ve lost two of their best players for the remainder of the season.  NT WIlfork is out for the year.  ILB Jerod Mayo was just put on the IR this week.  There’s nothing to over-think here, the Jets passing attack is best utilized strategically as a complement to a capable running attack.  Teams seem to do best when running to the middle and right versus the Patriots, so expect to see a lot of plays run behind Willie Colon this week.

When the Jets do go to the air?  CB Alfonzo Dennard is the man that the Jets would be wise to exploit.  As well as Aqib Talib was playing before he was injured, Dennard is playing as poorly.  Look for the Jets to try and get Dennard in isolation on the outside and use Geno Smith’s arm to make some game-changing plays against the second year corner.

Special Teams: 7.2% (2nd)

Analysis: The Jets are going to have their work cut out for them against this unit.  Gostkowski is having another excellent season and punter Ryan Allen is one of the league’s best.  New England has been in some close games and their special teams has done a fantastic job in bailing out the team with field goals and field position.  The Jets will be meeting their match in this regard (Jets are ranked 5th) but it should make for an interesting component to how the game unfolds.  Hopfully the addition of Josh Cribbs can help the field position battle for the Jets, but if the game is close in the last eight minutes, this might be the unit that could make the difference for one team or the other.

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