What to Look For…

I almost forgot that I had to write this segment because it has been so long since the Pats have had a game.  It is what we have all been waiting for since the season started in early September…the playoffs are finally here.  Here’s what to look for in Sunday’s match-up between the Pats and the Jets:

-Emotions are going to play a huge role in this game.  With all of the build-up, trash-talking, and bad blood that goes into this rivalry, you better believe that this will be one of the most emotionally driven games that the Patriots will have played all season.  Both teams will be very energized for this one, but what I’m looking for is who is going to let their emotions get the best of them.  I can almost guarantee that at some point throughout this game, there will be a personal foul penalty thrown for a late hit, unnecessary roughness, or something else along those lines.  What to look for: Which team lets their emotions get the best of them…

-The Jets’ defense is heavily dependent on applying pressure on the quarterback.  In the Patriots first game against the Jets, pressure was applied from all over.  Corners, outside linebacker, inside linebackers, and defensive lineman all had their shot at Brady.  The Patriots lost that game 28-14.  In the second game against the Jets, Tom Brady went virtually untouched throughout the entire game, and that led to a 45-3 Patriots win.  What to look for: How much pressure the Jets can get on Tom Brady.

-Although the Patriots use the pass to set up the run, I truly believe that a huge key to this game will be the Patriots’ ability to run the ball.  There are few things more devastating to a defense than knowing that the team is going to run, but not being able to stop them.  If the Pats can run the ball effectively, the Jets will be forced to bring a safety into the box, and that will open up deep routes to Branch, Tate, Hernandez, and Gronkowski.  What to look for: How effective the Pats’ run game is against the Jets and their solid run defense.

-I don’t think that Rex Ryan was far off when he said that the biggest match-up in Sunday’s game will be between him and coach Belichick.  In my opinion, Ryan outcoached Belichick in the first match-up between these teams, and then Belichick clearly outcoached Ryan in the second match-up.  Rex Ryan is a great defensive mind, so his ability to develop a defensive scheme to slow Tom Brady and the Pats’ offense.  It is Belichick’s job to anticipate Ryan’s moves and create plays and schemes to counteract what Ryan will do.  I’m pumped for this game, let’s get it started.  What to look for: The coaching duel between Rex Ryan and coach Belichick.

THIS WEEK’S PREDICTION: Patriots 28 – Jets 17

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