|Team||W||L||T||Pct||PF||PA||Net Pts||Home||Away||Div||Conf||Last 5||Streak|
They haven’t looked that good but they are doing what we have been accustomed to, stringing wins together. They are the ultimate model of “next man up” when a player gets injured, and although they probably shouldn’t be 4-1, it shows improvement. The defense has playmakers on all levels of the defense, this team is more physical, and the offense found a way to do just enough with some young talent that is gaining valuable experience for the playoffs. Losing Vince Wilfork on the defensive line hurts but they have veteran Tommie Kelly playing between 2nd year standout Chandler Jones and Rob Ninkovich. The linebacking core is aggressive and the secondary has a couple of ball-hawks in Aquib Talib and Devin McCourty. Receiver Danny Amendola has returned to form a unique tandem with Julian Edelman, with superstar Rob Gronkowski expected to suit up for the first time this weekend. Brady to Gronkowski is the AFC version of Drew Brees to Jimmy Graham. This will instantly open things up for everyone else, including the struggling ground game, but take note that the Patriots have a handful of options in the backfield and that presents versatility.
New York Jets
Without expectations the Jets are over .500 behind the 2nd ranked defense Rex Ryan is used to translating on the field. This is a nasty unit with the collective motor to wear down an offensive line and get into the quarterback’s head. They force you to use everything you have in the playbook. The defensive line is relentless, 3rd year player Muhammed Wilkerson and rookie Sheldon Richardson could keep this defense elite for a long time. The linebackers can shuffle assignments to give you different looks and the secondary will get in your face. They’re going to deliver an impact hit on every down, so you better hold onto the ball if you’re going to get hit anyway. As for the offense, they grind it out by running with multiple backs, with the quarterback, then defenses get worn down and sucked further into the box for Geno Smith to make a few plays downfield. Every quarterback has to make a couple of plays to win, and this team will be in every game by simply taking care of the football like every team strives to do. Simple and smash-mouth football is their motto.
Miami has the kind of offense you would hope your team would run with any type of quarterback, similar to Green Bay’s balance, something head coach Joe Philbin brought over. They have a deep threat in Mike Wallace, but they need to stop force feeding the vocal receiver. Brian Hartline is still the best route runner on the team and needs to be involved underneath. The run game features rookie Lamar Miller, but all of the defense’s attention revolves around him while forcing 2nd year quarterback Ryan Tannehill to make plays. He certainly has the talent and promise, I really like him, he’s just raw at the position because he hasn’t been at the helm for that long. The guy he has to lean on is classified as the quarterback’s best friend, tight end Charles Clay. This guy can do a lot of things in this offense, he has a carry for a touchdown, was a fullback to begin with, and has caught nearly everything thrown his way at tight end. He is excelling and needs to be targeted early and often every week, he should soon be a household name. especially in fantasy football. The defense has the pieces to be very stout against the run, however they aren’t sticking with many receivers and tight ends downfield, biting on the playaction and double-moves with regularity.
I love the fact that they run their offense through their best players, in this case it’s two running backs and a receiver. It hurts any team to have a starter injured, let alone the signal caller, but the gameplan has to relatively stay the same in the absence of rookie E.J. Manuel. Little is it known that Fred Jackson is a major part of this offense, and his duty is to be the dual threat out of the backfield. He is a reliable runner, receiver, and pass blocker, and they change the pace with the speed that C.J. Spiller brings to the table. He might not gain positive yards every play, but he is a home run threat despite his yards per carry average dropping. Then they have Stevie Johnson out wide that can beat any corner in the league, he is so talented I hope he stays generally healthy but he does play through most injuries. Rookie wideout Robert Woods is taking advantage of the attention that Johnson draws, they should give Matt Flynn a call and see what he can do with these weapons. The defense got safety Jairus Byrd back which is huge, unfortunately off the field there has been a rift and he is rumored in trade talks. As for his teammates, rookie Kiko Alonso is having an all-world start to his career with 44 tackles, 4 passes defenses, 4 interceptions, a forced fumble, and a sack. I expect the unit as a whole to improve as the season goes on, especially with Mario Williams coming to life on the edge.