Okay, so let’s get this out of the way first- I get it, I get it. I would’ve lost my house had someone decided to officially accept my bet. But no one did! That kinda leads me to believe that most of you readers out there agreed with me, so I’m going to take that.
We truly are spoiled as Boston sports fans. Most of my friends who are Pats fans weren’t excited as the clock struck zero Sunday night as they were disappointed. I don’t like just winning by a touchdown either, especially against them. But at the end of the day, a win is a win, and New England remains unbeaten.
A few takeaways from yesterday’s game on the Patriots’ side….
First off, the injury bug got some good bites in yesterday. I mean, the Patriots were already without Dont’a Hightower, who has been the best the linebacking corps has had to offer this year, save the supremely-athletic Jamie Collins. Losing Marcus Cannon, Jabaal Sheard and Matthew Slater is huge, so let’s hope that they will be back soon. Cannon and Sheard apparently will be fine, but we’re still awaiting word on Slater, the special teams guru. That doesn’t even count Julian Edelman, who seemed to have barely kept his finger attached to his hand after his touchdown catch.
Second, damn, the defense sucked yesterday. We get Luck is good, I said it myself (even though I’m critical of him). But honestly, none of Indy’s weapons are scary. Like, at all. If T.Y. Hilton, who is good, don’t get me wrong, is your #1, then I’m not impressed. Donte Moncrief is up-and-coming while Andre Johnson is just the opposite- old as dirt and over the hill. Fleener is a solid tight end, and it helps that he has an extensive rapport with Luck, but you can’t tell me he is un-coverable, you just can’t. To be fair though, it’s tough for guys like Butler and Ryan to stick with their men if the pass rush isn’t doing anything. That has to change, and that has to change quick. Overall, it was just an awful defensive showing for New England.
Finally, what I got from watching the Patriots offensively was this- they’ve got balls. Is that Blount (see what I did there?)? Yeah, sure, whatever. Brady’s pick six was nothing but an injured receiver trying to do too much while being way too close to his own end zone. The Colts kept Gronk pretty subdued for a half. Dion Lewis didn’t blow away the Colts’ D like he has to pretty much everyone else this year. But they kept at it. They kept going. I thought the Pats’ makeshift offensive line got better as the game wore on, and that’s definitely a positive sign.
I refuse to write anymore on the Colts unless we play them in the playoffs or if they embarrass themselves at some point this year. They played well, and it would hurt to have to give them credit, even if it is due. But this is all I need to say. Taking a game at the peak of its competitiveness and doing that. Indy is coming around, and even though New England won by only one score, let’s not pretend the second half was as close as it looked. I think the Patriots played bad more than the Colts played well, let’s put it that way.
Moving on to the Jets. This is a serious game that New England must not take for granted. It’s weird saying that, isn’t it? But it’s true- the Green and White stroll into Foxborough with a 4-1 record. Their defense has been phenomenal, Chris Ivory has played like a top-ten back, and wouldn’t ya know it, but Harvard legend Ryan Fitzpatrick hasn’t screwed up too bad yet. Their receiving corps is headlined by the moody but talented Brandon Marshall, but it’s deeper than that, with guys like Eric Decker and Devin Smith playing key roles.
I don’t see the Pats losing this game at home, but it’s not out of lack of respect for the Jets. Trust me, I love to disrespect New York. My aunt is one of the biggest (and only) Jets fans I know, and I won’t pass up a chance to tell her how much of a joke the franchise is. But they’re confident. I’m curious to see how they will try to stop Gronk, based on the fact that their two best cover guys are obviously cornerbacks. While I see Darrelle Revis as a mercenary, you have to respect his skill- he’s a top three cornerback, no matter how you slice it. But he struggled last year against smaller, shiftier receivers. Does Edelman spell trouble for Revis? One could definitely say so.
The Patriots’ defense can’t play that bad again this week. Specifically, I’m talking about Malcolm Butler. He didn’t impress me yesterday, and he will have his hands full with Marshall. We need….NEED, to force turnovers, especially if the gunslinging Fitzpatrick is the quarterback. And finally, the Pats can’t get caught sleeping again. They lost guys in coverage yesterday, they almost lost an onside kick, they didn’t pick up guys on the blitz consistently. I’ll take New England by double digits still, though. No way Coach Belichick will let his team put an effort like that out there for two straight weeks.