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When the infamous feet-loving Rex Ryan challenged the NFL to beat the Patriots, I couldn't help but laugh. A publicity stunt I'm sure, as most of Ryan's stunts are, it's still amusing how the Jets need help to knock off the reigning AFC East champions. And even if they don't need help, the way that people should view the request is simply that of a coward....
   
I understand that the next logical thought would be the horrendous whooping that the Jets gave the Pats in the playoffs last year. But let's not forget the embarrassment that the Patriots personally shoved down Ryan's throat earlier in the season. They might as well put Ryan in a tutu, on stage in front of his whole team. But with the past being the past, I'm here to break down my thoughts on each major element of both teams and whether or not the Jets do have what it takes to prove that Ryan isn't all mouth (and belly).

Quarterback

It's blatantly obvious who has the advantage in this category. Coming off only a four interception season while unanimously winning the MVP award, Tom Brady looks to repeat or improve on his stellar season. The defense of the Jets will make sure to adjust to provide more pressure on Brady, but with most of the Patriots offensive line still intact, I don't see any reason why he shouldn't be able to throw the way he did last season. 

Mark Sanchez is still a threat... to throw an interception whenever there happens to be pressure coming his way. I'm sorry Sanchez, but you're still a bit dirty if you know what I mean.

Defense

This one is a tough category. There has been many additions to the Patriots defense that we're all waiting to see. For the Jets, one name stands out: Darrelle Revis.  Revis is a future hall of fame corner back. He's a playmaker and a threat no matter who he's guarding and he's the back bone to that defense. He's proven that his defense can back up the many, many, many words that Ryan spits out of his gums. And with the addition of Antonio Cromartie, the Jets backfield will be a challenge. Now, imagine if they had won the bidding war for Nnamdi Asomugha.

Until Albert Haynesworth and Shaun Ellis prove that they can help out the young secondary of the Patriots by providing enough pressure on quarterbacks, the edge has to go to the Jets. 

Receivers

The receiving core for the Pats has received (ha, get it?) an improvement with Chad Ochocinco. As long as he plays ball and leaves the distractions behind, I believe he can and will put up good numbers. He will also help Wes Welker and Deion Branch to work one on one with defenders. When you add the improving second year tight ends in Rob   Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez, Brady might have TOO many options out there. Darrelle Revis can only guard one man. 

The Jets also updated their receivers. They went out and let go of a troubled but productive Braylon Edwards, re-signed Santonio Holmes in hopes that he can become a big name receiver, added a recently released from prison Plaxico Burress and for good measure, acquired Derrick Mason from the free agent market. 

It'll take time for Burress to return to form but as Michael Vick proved, it isn't impossible. When it comes to Holmes, I'm not convinced that he can draw the double teams or deserve them. Even with that said, the Jets have a core that can rival that of the Patriots. But the question remains: Can Sanchez get the ball to them?

I give a slight edge to the Patriots for familiarity with the quarterback and because I believe Ocho, Branch and Welker are better route runners. 

Running Back

LaDainian Tomlinson used to be one of the most explosive running backs in the league. Used to be. The Jets do have a younger back that has shown great potential in  Shonn Greene; who may or may not be the starter for New York. On the other side of the ball, the Patriots have re-signed veterans in Sammy Morris and Kevin Faulk. They also brought back BenJarvus Green-Ellis who is fresh off a 1000 yard season. Add on Danny Woodhead, and you have a respected bunch of backs who might not strike fear in a front defensive line, but they can do some damage. 

Unfortunately, I do not feel that any of the Patriots backs are as good as Shonn Greene individually so unless the new comers to the defensive line of the Pats can show me a thing or two, the slight edge has to go the Jets on this one.

Special Teams

      One name -- Stephen Gostkowski. The man is the epitome of consistency. He had the daunting task of stepping out from Adam Vinatieri's shadow in New England and has proved himself easily. The Patriots also have Brandon Tate and Julian Edelman returning kick offs and punts respectively. Tate had 2 run backs for TDs last year and if not for a missed block here or there, would have had more. I give the edge to the Patriots. It may not count as much but field position and three points can go a long way. Remember the Oakland-Patriots Snow Bowl game?

Final Word

So can the Jets overtake the Patriots? This writer doesn't see it happening this year. The difference is in the quarterbacks. Tom can find a way to beat a great secondary and Sanchez can find a way to lose to anyone. Although in his defense, he did have some great last minute drives last season.

The defense in New England will be a bit better this year and the pressure on quarterbacks will be more consistent. All in all, the Patriots will back up their silence with better play and more silence. That's just what we've grown accustomed to in the Belichick era.

Written By: Jordan



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