The Patriots are set to face the Jets in the Razor on Sunday evening for the third round of the season. The two teams split the regular season series, which makes this game count for all of the marbles. Winner goes on, loser goes home for the summer. Let's look at how the two teams match-up.
Quarterback -The Patriots have a clear advantage with Tom Brady at the helm. The Jets have Mark Sanchez, who is a solid quarterback in the clutch, yet struggles for the rest of the game. His statistics in the cold? 59.8% completion rate, 2 TDs, 5 INTs, 6.06 YPA. His statistics in December? 53.8% completion rate, 1 TD, 5 INTs, 5.73 YPA. Sanchez is not a cold weather quarterback and the weather is going to be frigid. The Patriots are going to try and force the Jets to win with Sanchez, which will allow the defense to shut down the run. Hopefully Sanchez will continue to struggle in the cold.
Running Backs, Wide Receivers and Tight Ends - The Jets have LaDainian Tomlinson as the work horse and pass receiving running back and Shonn Greene as the "give LT a break" back. They feature Braylon "hands no longer made of stone" Edwards and Santonio "Circus Catch" Holmes as the main receivers, with Jerricho Cotchery as the third receiver. Edwards catches the ball down the field, Holmes loves catching the slants and Cotchery will catch anything. Dustin Keller is their tight end who loves catching the ball, but struggles at blocking on the line.
On the other side, the Patriots have BenJarvus Green-Ellis as the work horse back and Danny Woodhead as the third down/change of pace/two minute drill running back. Their skill sets complement each other wonderfully. At wide receiver, the Patriots have Deion Branch and Wes Welker, both of whom have incredible rapports with Mr. Brady. From a prototypical wide receiver stand point, both pale in comparison to their Jets' vertical offense counterparts, but they're both perfect for the Patriots' dink-and-dunk offense. Finally, at tight end, the Patriots feature Rob Gronkowski, Aaron Hernandez and Alge Crumpler. Gronkowski will be the best tight end on the field for either team and Crumpler will be a ferocious blocker. Hernandez should be a factor in the receiver game and should match Keller's output.
Edge: Patriots, by a nose. The Patriots and Jets have running backs and wide receivers that are ideal fits for their offense. However, the Patriots win the tight end battle by a lot and win this category.
Offensive Line - The Jets feature a line of Pro Bowler D'Brickashaw Ferguson, Matt Slauson, All Pro Nick Mangold, Brandon Moore and ex-Pat Damien Woody. The Patriots feature Pro Bowler Matt Light, All Pro Logan Mankins, Dan Koppen, Dan Connolly and Sebastian Vollmer. I would have to say that this match-up is as even as possible since these two lines are some of the best in the league in both the run and the pass. The Jets win the Left Tackle by a hair, the Patriots win the Left Guard battle in a blow out, the Jets win the Center comfortably, the teams tie at Right Guard, and the Patriots win Right Tackle by a German.
Looking at the offense, the Patriots have a clear advantage over the Jets. While the Jets may have the better individual talent, the Patriots have the better scheme and have a more diverse offense that involves the young tight ends. The Patriots should be able to force the Jets into a one-dimensional offense of either passing to the wide receivers or running the ball, while the Jets should struggle to slow all of the offensive weapons of the Patriots.