Christian breaks down what the Pats need to do to beat the Jets on Thursday Night Football

Earlier in the week it was reported Patriots linebacker Jerod Mayo would be out for the season with a “bad right leg injury.” Thursday, the extent of the injury was revealed.

According to Tom E. Curran, Mayo had surgery Thursday morning to repair his patellar tendon, which he injured in Sunday’s win over the Bills. Mayo is hoping for a six month recovery time.

It is the second season in a row Mayo has suffered a season-ending injury in Week 6 as last year he tore his pectoral muscle against the Saints. In his five-plus games played this season, he leads the team in tackles with 37.

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Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable
Darrelle Revis will face his former team in the Jets Thursday night.  (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Darrelle Revis will face his former team in the Jets Thursday night. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Each week, we’ll present The Darrelle Revis Report, a look at what’s on tap for the Patriots cornerback. This week, New England welcomes Revis’ old team — the Jets — to Foxboro for a Thursday night clash.

Last week: Working almost exclusively against talented young Buffalo wideout Sammy Watkins, Darrelle Revis had perhaps his best game of the season last week against the Bills, yielding two passes on three targets for 27 yards. The biggest play was a 20-yarder midway through the third quarter that looked a little like a broken play, but Watkins was able to haul in the pass from Kyle Orton just shy of the goal line.

He finished the game with four tackles, including one for a loss. Of the 68 snaps he played, we had him on the left for 23 and the right for 45, and all of those were opposite Watkins. There were times where he was clearly playing press coverage — we counted 32 snaps where he was close enough to Watkins where he was able to get hands on him as he came off the line — and there was what appeared to be zone. But it was all Watkins, all the time for Revis on Sunday.

“He played a great game. He held me to two catches and that was his job,” Watkins said of Revis. “He’s a competitor, competes every play. He got balls to come up and press every play and I [tip] my hat to him.”

Revis played very well, but on the other hand, there was almost no inclination to try and think outside the box when it came to getting Watkins the ball. There were a couple of fake reverses to the rookie — on one in the early going, Revis got caught up in the crossing traffic, and if Orton had gotten Watkins the ball, he would have almost certainly had a big gain. But other than that, on almost every snap, Watkins was a stationary figure, either in the slot or split wide. No motion, no pick plays, no disguising anything. There appeared to be one stack play on Buffalo’s two-point conversion, but on that play, it was Robert Woods who got open after Logan Ryan was picked off and not Watkins.

The one thing that Buffalo did appear to do was try and use the matchup to create space underneath — that is, Watkins would take off on a go-route, and bring Revis with him. Then, another receiver would flow to the open area where Revis and Watkins were previously located — usually either Woods or tight end Scott Chandler. But in terms of trying to get Watkins free from the death grip of Revis, the Bills did virtually nothing.

By our highly unscientific count, in six games, Revis has now allowed 16 catches on 28 targets for 228 yards this year, with one touchdown and one interception

Looking ahead: On Monday, Revis was asked if he knew anything about the upcoming opponent, the New York Jets. He responded with a straight face.

“Ah, I know nothing about them. I definitely don’t. Hope that answers your question,” he said before breaking into a smile.

Revis against the Jets is one of the more intriguing matchups of the 2014 season. The veteran, who spent six seasons in New York, evolved into an All-World cornerback on Rex Ryan‘s watch. But now, he’s on the other side of the battle.

The corner, who spent last season in Tampa Bay before joining the Patriots this offseason, said that when it comes to the Jets, there’s a “lot that has changed” since he left North Jersey. As a result, any familiarity he might have had with personnel or scheme is pretty much out of the window … other than the fact that he’s familiar with the basics of Marty Mornhinweg’s West Coast offense.

“[Brian] Schottenheimer was the coordinator there when I was there. It’s a different coordinator now, and they run a totally whole different offense.

“It’s a West Coast offense — that’s what [Mornhinweg] runs. We’ve played other coaches who run the West Coast offense,” he added. “Once you’ve been doing this for awhile, things look the same, especially when you play against the same west coast offense. Coaches might put some kinks in here and there, or different things in the offense — their little touch. But at the same time, it’s still a West Coast offense.”

Also, he indicated that he’s focusing on his own responsibilities instead of offering much help dissecting the New York offense.

“The coaches are focusing on that on their own. I have a lot on my plate and what I need to do, game-plan wise. I’ll leave that to the coaches.

Possible man matchups this week (with the understanding that it won’t solely be one on one): There are no elite receivers on the Jets, but the best option at this point might be to try and match him against Eric Decker. While other pass catchers have emerged as favorites of quarterback Geno Smith (rookie tight end Jace Amaro actually leads New York in receptions), the Decker-Revis matchup might be a good one, if Belichick and the Patriots are inclined to try and utilize Revis in the man-on-man coverage he’s been doing the last two weeks.

Decker is a 6-foot-3, 206-pounder out of the University of Minnesota who made his bones the last two seasons catching passes from Peyton Manning in Denver. (He had 85 catches and 1,064 yards in 2012 and 87 catches and 1,288 last season.) He’s struggled with a hamstring injury, but has still 20 catches for 258 yards and three touchdowns through six games with the Jets this year.

Problem is they have the least effective passing game in the league. Smith and Michael Vick average a 55.5 completion rate between them, 31st in the league. The Jets’ passer rating is 67.4, also 31st. New York also averages the fewest yards per attempt (5.6) and the seven picks are tied for third-worst in the NFL. (They’re only one of three teams in the league to have more interceptions than touchdown passes.) Not that it matters, but Smith is expected to start Thursday against the Patriots.

This is Revis second career game against the Jets, and his second against Smith. In the 2013 clash with New York at MetLife Stadium, he finished with one tackle in an 18-17 loss to New York.

Money quotes: “A little sick to my stomach.” — Ryan on how it makes him feel watching Revis in a New England uniform

“He’s one of the best, if not the best. It’s going to be, if we have one-on-one matchups at all, it’s going to be tough.” — Decker on Revis

One more thing: If Revis and the Patriots can win Thursday, the Ravens will be the only remaining AFC team he has never beaten.

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price

Rex Ryan and Geno Smith have their work cut out for themselves Thursday night. (Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)Here's a five-point plan for how the Jets could possibly, maybe, somehow, perhaps beat the Patriots in Foxboro Thursday night (even though they won't).

Bill Parcells said he reacted to Bill Belichick‘s decision to walk away from the Jets head coaching job 15 years ago with a simple philosophy;

Bill Belichick earned the wrath of Bill Parcells after he decided to leave the Jets. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Bill Belichick earned the wrath of Bill Parcells after he decided to leave the Jets. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Bill Parcells said he reacted to Bill Belichick‘s decision to walk away from the Jets head coaching job 15 years ago with a simple philosophy;

“He made a deal and then tried to get out of it,” Parcells writes in his new autobiography, “Parcells,” due out later this month.

“A deal’s a deal. You want out? You’re going to pay. Simple.”

Belichick, who had been named Parcells’ hand-picked successor with the Jets, left the post soon after the announcement was made, famously resigning as the “HC of the NYJ” in 2000. Later that offseason, he became head coach of the Patriots.

For his part, Belichick says he believed he was making the right call at the time.

“I knew I did the right thing and I didn’t know where my career was going,” Belichick said in the book.

Parcells said there’s no ill will between the two over what happened.

“I didn’t begrudge Bill getting another job somewhere else,” Parcells wrote. “In fact, I’m probably the one that got it for him.”

Parcells said Charlie Weis lobbied for the head coaching job after Belichick left to coach the Patriots, but Parcells turned his back on Weis when he testified on on behalf of Belichick at a hearing to determine if Belichick would be able to interview for other jobs.

“I’ve told many coaches that friendship and loyalty is going to be more important than ambition,” Parcells wrote. “Some guys don’t realize that until after they’re done.

“I don’t bear animosity toward Charlie. I can say that with a straight face because I know what he is. His actions back then don’t bother me anymore.”

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Blog Author: 
Christopher Price
Rob Gronkowski appears to be back to full strength. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Rob Gronkowski appears to be back to full strength. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Here’€™s everything you need to know about Thursday’€™s contest between the Patriots and Jets:

Our three favorite matchups on the evening:

1. The Patriots offensive line against the Jets defensive front: For both teams, this is the absolute key matchup on the night. The strength of the New York team is the front seven — when the Jets have been able to be competitive, it’€™s been because of their front, a grouping that includes big defensive ends Muhammad Wilkerson and Sheldon Richardson and nose tackle Damon ‘€œBig Snacks’€ Harrison. They are a stout and dependable combination, and have forced teams to try and get creative to find a way around them. They do a good job getting after the quarterback, as their 19 sacks are tied for second-best in the league, and their 235 passing yards allowed is a middle-of-the-pack 15th overall. But their strength is against the run, having allowed an average of 92.2 yards per game on the ground (ninth-best in the NFL) and 3.5 yards per carry (sixth-best in the league). From the Patriots perspective, there are a few ways to try and minimize their overall impact of the Jets defensive linemen, including lots of heavy sets that feature two tights ends, as well as fullback James Develin and another back (Shane Vereen?) kept in for protection, or at the very least, a chip on a blocker before running a route. If New England can find a way to neutralize their presence, it’€™ll go a long way toward a Patriots win.

2. Quarterback Tom Brady against the Jets secondary: This summer, the New York defensive backs were seemingly dropping at the rate of one a day, and as a result, the Jets are left with an alarming lack of depth in their secondary. Meanwhile, after some talk early in the season that Brady was zeroing in solely on one or two receivers, the quarterback has spread the ball around masterfully over the course of the last two games: eight Patriots had at least one reception in the victory against Cincinnati, and 10 players made at least one catch last week against the Bills. With tight end Rob Gronkowski and wide receivers Julian Edelman and Brandon LaFell having emerged as the three go-to targets over the course of the last two weeks (not to mention the work of Vereen, who is on pace for almost 50 catches this season), it’€™s debatable as to whether or not the Jets have the depth to keep up with New England’€™s suddenly surging passing attack.

3. Tight end Rob Gronkowski against safety Calvin Pryor: With Gronkowski returning to fully functional Gronk status last week against the Bills — seven catches on nine targets for 94 yards in the win over Buffalo — he figures to again be a colossal part of the New England passing game on a weekly basis. (The big tight end has always tortured the Jets, with 28 catches for 362 yards and four touchdowns in six career games against New York.) The Jets have yielded six touchdowns to tight ends over the first six games of the season, including four the last two weeks to a pair of oversized pass catchers in Denver’€™s Julius Thomas and San Diego’€™s Antonio Gates. The Jets will likely counter Gronkowski with a few different defenders, including Pryor, a rookie out of Louisville who made some waves this offseason with some statements about the Patriots. Should be an interesting matchup.

4. Under the radar opponent who Patriots’€™ fans need to know: The Jets tight ends, Jace Amaro and Jeff Cumberland. The two have combined for 32 catches over the first five games — Amaro leads the Jets in receptions with 24 — and have provided some small measure of security for New York in the passing game. Over the years, if there’€™s been an Achilles’€™ heel for New England when it comes to defending the Jets passing game, it’€™s been the tight ends. With Jerod Mayo sidelined for the rest of the year, the Patriots’€™ work against tight ends and backs in the passing game will be tested, and the Amaro/Cumberland combination provides an interesting dynamic for New England to consider.

5. By the numbers: 0 — The number of pass plays of 40 or more yards that have been given up by the Patriots’€™ pass defense this season. New England is the only team in the league not to yield a single pass play of 40-plus yards. For what it’€™s worth, the Patriots are tied for 13th in the league in pass plays of 20 yards or more, having allowed 17. Those good numbers on the deep ball stand in contrast to the last few seasons, where New England was at or near the top of the league in the number of deep balls allowed over the course of the season

2013: 55 20-plus (11th most), 9 40-plus (15th most)
2012: 74 20-plus (1st most), 8 40-plus (14th most)
2011: 79 20-plus (1st most), 9 40-plus (17th most)
2010: 55 20-plus (7th most), 4 40-plus (30th most)

6. Quote of note: “A little sick to my stomach.”€ — Jets coach Rex Ryan on how he feels when he sees former New York cornerback Darelle Revis in a Patriots uniform

7. Patriots fans should be worried about… the New England offensive line failing to hold up against the combination of Wilkerson, Harrison and Richardson. This is the worst matchup of the evening for the Patriots, who have shuffled offensive linemen in and out at all five spots over the course of the first six games of the season in hopes of finding the right combination. That lack of continuity is now compounded by the head injuries that were suffered by rookie Bryan Stork (who had been doing a very good job at the center spot) and veteran Dan Connolly (arguably New England’€™s best and most consistent offensive lineman over the course of the first five games of the season). The Patriots need to hope that Wendell will hold up at center — the likeliest spot for him after Stork went down — while either Marcus Cannon or Josh Kline can do the same at guard.

8. Jets fans should be worried about… the Patriots’€™ making New York one-dimensional. Given the way the matchup looks on paper, it appears that New England’€™s best course of action would be to load up along the defensive line in hopes of trying to slow down the best Jets’€™ offensive option, their ground game. (Chris Johnson has been a disappointment, but the vaguely multidimensional Chris Ivory has been a pleasant surprise with 67 carries for 325 yards and a pair of 2 touchdowns to go along with eight catches for 85 yards.) If the Patriots run defense is successful, that would force New York to try and throw the ball. Given the Jets inability to string together anything in the passing game over the first six games (as well as the fact that the Patriots have one of the better pass defenses in the league), that seems to be a long shot at best. In the end, the directive for the Patriots is simple: Stop the run and let Smith try and beat you with his arm.

9. One more thing: Despite the fact that the season is less than halfway over, the Patriots have to be taking some measure of satisfaction in the fact that they can effectively end any thoughts the Jets might have of making the playoffs. New York enters the game at 1-5, and a loss would take the Jets to 1-6 on the year. The 1970 Cincinnati Bengals were the only team in NFL history to open a season 1-6 and still make the playoffs. (For what it’€™s worth, the odds don’€™t get much better with a 2-5 start. Per Scott Kacsmar of Football Outsiders, four teams made the postseason after opening the season 2-5: the 2011 Broncos, 2002 Jets, 1995 Lions and 1990 Saints.)

10. Prediction: The two teams come into this game seemingly headed in two different directions. The Jets have lost five in a row, the longest skid of the Rex Ryan era, and are in danger of falling even father behind in the AFC East race with a loss Thursday night. Meanwhile, there were some early-season hiccups for New England, but it has since won two straight, and posted a combined 80 points in its’€™ last two games. The Patriots’€™ offensive line continues to be a problem, but New England was able to minimize their troubles down the stretch against the Bills with some better work up front. The Patriots will need that same sort of execution up front against this week against a feisty Jets front seven, one that’€™s capable of keeping New York in the contest if they don’€™t find a way to neutralize them. If New England can keep that front in check, it will go a long way toward a win. In the end, it’€™s not going to be a blowout, but the Patriots will have enough on both sides of the ball for their third straight win: New England 30, New York 20.

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price

Tom Brady‘s newest UGG commercial.

“Pancakes … Let’s do this!”

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The Patriots officially ruled offensive lineman Cameron Fleming and defensive back Nate Ebner out on Wednesday for this week’s game against the Jets. Meanwhile, quarterback Tom Brady was listed as probable with an ankle issue, after he was limited in practice Thursday.

Nate Ebner

Nate Ebner

The Patriots officially ruled offensive lineman Cameron Fleming and defensive back Nate Ebner out on Wednesday for this week’s game against the Jets. Meanwhile, quarterback Tom Brady was listed as probable with an ankle issue, after he was limited in practice Thursday.

Fleming and Ebner join linebacker Jerod Mayo (knee) and running back Stevan Ridley (knee) as out for the contest against New York, set for Thursday night at Gillette Stadium.

DB Nate Ebner (finger) — did not practice
OL Camerton Fleming (finger) — did not practice
LB Jerod Mayo (knee) — did not practice
RB Stevan Ridley (knee) — did not practice

CB Brandon Browner (ankle) — limited participation
LB Jamie Collins (thigh) — limited participation
OL Dan Connolly (concussion) — limited participation
DL Dominique Easley (shoulder/knee) — limited participation
LB Dont’a Hightower (knee) — limited participation
WR/ST Matthew Slater (shoulder) — limited participation
OL Bryan Stork (concussion) — limited participation

QB Tom Brady (ankle) — limited participation
DE Chandler Jones (shoulder) — limited participation
S Devin McCourty (rib) — limited participation

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Blog Author: 
Christopher Price