Well, two weeks are in the books for the Patriots and they couldn’t have gone any better if they had dreamt it. The Patriots are head and shoulders above everyone right now with only the Chiefs and Cowboys laying claim to being close to as good as them thus far. Through their first two games the Patriots have outscored their opponents at a 76-3 clip. To put that in perspective the 2007-2008 Patriots won their first two games by a combined score of 76-28, and taking it a step further, those Patriots never had a game where they allowed less than seven points. This year’s team has accomplished that feat in back-to-back games. But as Bill Belichick always says last week is in the past, we are on to the Jets.
First Down: After facing off against old friend Brian Flores and some former staffers, the Patriots now get former Miami coach Adam Gase, who now roams the sideline for the Jets. Gase coached the Dolphins for three seasons and in those years compiled a record of 2-4 against New England. That doesn’t sound bad until you look at combined points and realize his teams were outscored by a combined total of 192 to 122. Throw in the fact that one of those games was the miracle play last year and Gase could very easily be looking at a career record of 1-5 as a head coach against Belichick.
Gase does have some lesser known ties to the Patriots though as Josh McDaniels gave Gase a position as his wide receivers coach when McDaniels was the head coach of the Broncos. Another fun fact is that Gase has former interim head coach of the Saints Joe Vitt, on his staff. Vitt is the father-in-law of Gase as he is married to Vitt’s daughter.
Second Down: The Patriots will once again luck out with the schedule as the Jets will be missing starting quarterback Sam Darnold, who is out with mononucleosis. They also will be missing Trevor Siemian, who suffered a season-ending ankle injury in the Jets loss Monday against the Browns. That leaves Luke Falk as the guy for Jets this week in Gillette Stadium. Falk played at Washington State under head coach Mike Leach and (stop me if you have heard this) was drafted in the 6th round of the 2018 NFL Draft at pick 199. (by the Titans)
Unfortunately for Falk though he has very little experience as Monday night was the first time he was even active for a game, let alone play in one. Falk will be facing a New England defense that hasn’t allowed a touchdown yet and just three points total, and is coming off a performance where they had two pick sixes, seven sacks, 11 passes defended, and 12 QB hits. They also have allowed an NFL-best 11.4 points per game and have a +16 sack differential over since week 16 of last year and including the playoffs. Tough sledding ahead for Falk.
Third Down: Going into this season it seemed like the Jets would be able to at least be competitive for an 8-8 season with an improved Sam Darnold behind center, but it has been a tough start for the Jets. They started the year against the Bills and jumped out to a 16-0 lead at home in the third quarter against the fighting Josh Allen’s, but since that point they have been outscored 40-3, have lost their starting quarterback indefinitely with mononucleosis, suffered injuries to their CJ Mosely and Quinnen Williams their top defensive free agent signing and top draft pick respectively, and then lost their backup QB. Tough stretch for the Jets who now play at New England, at Philly, home versus Dallas and home versus New England as their next four games. Jets are staring at a strong likelihood of winning one or zero games through week seven.
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On the other side the Patriots seem set be able to work through anything they need to get better on (I know I am not sure either) or get healthy through the first seven weeks as the next five games are: vs Jets, @ Bills (could be a battle of 3-0 teams), @ Redskins, vs Giants, and @ Jets. That schedule sets up extremely well for a team that has a habit of starting out slow the first month or so of the season (well slow for them) but really turns it on after that. Looking at that schedule it would be a surprise if the Patriots do not start 6-1 or 7-0. Worst case scenario one would think would be 5-2.
Fourth Down: If you had to guess which team has more players with a cap hit of 10 million or above based on results, you would say the Patriots because of how good they are, right? Well according to Spotrac, the Jets have four such players while the Patriots only have three. In fact, the Patriots only have four players this year with cap hits over seven and a half million, let alone double digits. Meanwhile the Jets have eight such players. This isn’t meant to draw attention to the Jets management of the cap, but more so the work the Patriots do in managing the cap and how they focus on keeping a strong middle class of players or players under team-friendly contracts.
However, the Patriots do have the highest cap hit by far of both teams: Tom Brady at $21.5M. Brady of course is worth that and then some, heck, a lot more.
Prediction: Patriots 41 – Jets 6
Last week there was a feeling among everyone that the Patriots would like to try not to run up the score on old friend Brian Flores considering how much respect Belichick has for him and the tough spot he is in. This week however there are no such reservations. Belichick is known to dislike the Jets and their organization and one would think the Patriots will be throwing the ball around late even if they are up big. I don’t see this Jets team as the first to reach the end zone against the Patriots defense with Luke Falk in at quarterback. The Patriots will have a full week to prepare for him and something tells me we see a lot of eight man boxes to make Falk beat them. At home the Patriots run away with this one.
–David Albiani is a Staff Writer for Full Press Coverage and covers the New England Patriots. Follow him on Twitter @david_albiani.
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