Wednesday, November 9, 2011

StatMan On Football: The Unstoppable Force and the Immovable Object

Welcome to StatMan On Football, our weekly football column.  We might tackle a local football topic or a national football topic, but look for it right here every Tuesday (or, in this case, Wednesday).  This week, we take a look at the upcoming Sunday night matchup between AFC East arch-rivals, the Patriots and the Jets.

The Patriots and Jets, improbable as it sounded just two weeks ago, are neck and neck in the division, joined by the underdog Buffalo Bills, in a three-way tie for first halfway through the regular season schedule.  In a season of unbelievable storylines, this has to be right up there.

This time, the trash talk should subside.  There is more on the line than idle chit-chat, as long as Rex Ryan keeps his brash talk under wraps.  Both teams respect each other and both teams know a win is not a given this Sunday at MetLife Stadium.  The Patriots are in no mood for joking around, as they are losers of two in a row and almost dropped the last game they won at home to the Cowboys.  The Jets are feeling good, but why wake the sleeping giant?  It is normally what the Jets do, but this time should be different.

The Patriots were playing like the unstoppable force they have been.  New England scored 30 or more points in 14 straight contests and, outside of a playoff loss to these same Jets and a surprising four interception performance by Tom Brady against Buffalo early this year, they are a sure bet.  The Jets played like windmills against opposing teams’ running attacks earlier this year.  But, after a mediocre start, the Jets beat the Dolphins as the defense made a comeback.  Following that win, the Jets came back late against San Diego and suffocated Buffalo after the bye week.  Their play and their results may not be immovable objects, but the indomitable spirit that the Jets have is certainly immovable. 

Derrick Mason wavered and complained openly.  He is gone.  The rest of the team stopped pretty quickly, which tells me that Ryan continues to have his finger on the pulse of his team.  After Darrelle Revis’s incident on Mike Francesa’s radio show before the San Diego game, the Jets have not done as much talking.  No wrestling appearances.  No YouTube embarrassments.  They were anonymous for a week.  They appeared in Buffalo and took care of business and Ryan seemed humble. 

The Jets’ confidence is starting to set in with this team and they believe again.  That alone makes this matchup a must-see.

What is your take on the Patriots and Jets this week?  Feel free to leave a comment.  I'll announce the best stuff on the Sports With The StatMan show.

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