It is always a different feeling when we reach a week where the New York Jets and New England Patriots square off. This week will be further different because the days when Rex would “tug on Superman’s cape”, as well as the days when New England seems unbeatable are gone. Yes, the “Patriot Way” took some hits this offseason, with the arrest of Aaron Hernandez and the loss of Wes Welker. However, we at TOJ still picked the Pats to win the AFC East, namely because of one Thomas Edward Patrick Brady, Junior. Let’s get to know this week’s opponent, an opponent we are all very familiar with.
Week 2: New England Patriots (1-0), last week, a win @ Buffalo (23-21)
2012 Offensive Rankings: 1st in points scored (34.8 per game), 1st in total yards (6,846), 4th in passing yards (4,662), 4th in passing touchdowns (34), 4th in interceptions (9), 6th in yards per completion (7.0), 7th in rushing yards (2,184), 1st in rushing touchdowns (25), and 17th in yards per carry (4.2).
Overview: The Patriots came in to their Week 1 match up with a very balanced attack from the year before, as evidenced by top 10 rankings in both passing and rushing yards and passing and rushing touchdowns. However, New England used the running game to win the time of possession by 15:26 and subsequently protect Tom Brady, as the Buffalo Bills had 2 sacks and 7 quarterback hits and won the battle up front against the Patriots offensive line. Led by Shane Vereen and his 14 carries for 101 yards, the Patriots 4.5 yards per carry was an increase from last year’s average. Stevan Ridley chipped in 9 carries for 46 yards, a 5.1 yards per carry average, but also put the ball on the ground twice and was benched in the second half. Danny Amendola led all wide receivers with 10 catches for 104 yards, and Julian Edelman and Shane Vereen each had 7 catches. The Patriots got virtually nothing from anyone else, as rookie Kenbrell Thompkins and Michael Hoomanawanui were the only other players to catch a pass. Brady completed 55% of his passes, had 7 passes batted down, and threw an interception as he was under duress at different points. The Patriots offense, also, had three total turnovers.
- Wide Receiver Danny Amendola
- Wide Receiver Kenbrell Thompkins
- Wide Receiver Aaron Dobson
- Running Back LaGarrette Blount
- Wide Receiver Josh Boyce
- Wide Receiver Wes Welker, 118 catches for 1354 yards and 6 TDs
- Tight End Aaron Hernandez, 51 catches for 483 yards and 5 TDs
- Wide Receiver Brandon Lloyd, 911 receiving yards and 4 TDs
- Running Back Danny Woodhead, 747 total offensive yards and 7 TDs
Injuries (all players listed below are expected to be out Thursday Night)
- Tight End Rob Gronkowski
- Running Back Shane Vereen
- Wide Receiver Danny Amendola
- Tight End Zach Sudfeld
2012 Defensive Rankings: 9th in points allowed (20.7 per game), 25th in yards allowed (5,972), 29th in passing defense, 21st in passing touchdowns allowed, 9th in rushing defense, 6th in yards per carry allowed (3.9), 8th in rushing touchdowns allowed (10), and 2nd in turnovers forced (41).
Overview: You can move the ball on the Patriots defense, as evidenced by rookie QB EJ Manuel completing 66% of his passes and the Bills averaging nearly 5 yards per play. That may not seem like alot, but when you’re consistently putting yourself in 3rd and 1-3 yards to go situations, you’re bound to have more success. The Bills were only 4/13 on 3rd downs. New England’s ability to get off the field was a major reason why they dominated the time of possession. The Bills were able to run on the Patriots as they had 136 rushing yards on 34 carries. The beneficiary of most of these yards was running back Fred Jackson (13 carries for 67 yards and a 5.2 YPC), as the Patriots defense did a good job of bottling up CJ Spiller and forcing three total fumbles by the Bills. The pass defense held Stevie Johnson to 3 catches (on 6 targets) for 36 yards. The defense didn’t have any sacks of EJ Manuel and hit the QB just four times as Manuel was able to use his mobility to elude the rush.
- Defensive Lineman Tommy Kelly
- Defensive End Trevor Scott (3 sacks)
The New England Patriots lead the all-time series 54-52-1, with the Patriots winning four consecutive games. Rex is 3-6 lifetime against Bill Belichick.
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