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Sam Farmer breaks down Patriots-Jets matchup

The Times' NFL columnist examines Sunday's playoff game between New England and New York and predicts which team will win.

January 13, 2011|By Sam Farmer
  • New England quarterback Tom Brady will be looking to beat the New York Jets for the second time this season when they meet in a divisional playoffs on Sunday.
New England quarterback Tom Brady will be looking to beat the New York Jets… (Greg M. Cooper / U.S. Presswire )

Mark Sanchez said this week his right shoulder feels better than it has in weeks.

That's good news for the New York Jets, because their second-year quarterback is going to have to shoulder quite a bit of the load Sunday at New England.

For the Jets to knock off the top-seeded Patriots, Sanchez has to play a lot better than he did in his first two trips to Gillette Stadium, when he had a combined one touchdown and seven interceptions, and a passer rating of 30.4.

Of course, the problems the Jets have had in New England extend well beyond the struggles of Sanchez. But the former USC standout also understands he'll play a big role in whether the Jets succeed or fail in their attempt to get back to the AFC championship game, where last season they lost to Indianapolis.

"We're going to have to play well -- offense, defense, special teams -- and it starts with the quarterback," he said. "It's going to be a good matchup for us. We're excited."

In a 31-14 loss at New England last season, Sanchez completed eight of 21 passes with four interceptions and two sacks. The score was even more lopsided for the Jets at New England this season, when they lost 45-3. Sanchez was picked off three times and finished with a 27.8 rating.

According to the New York Daily News, Sanchez, when asked this week what went wrong in the latest loss to the Patriots, said: "How much ink you got? It was the perfect storm. We started slow, they started fast. I was forcing balls over the middle, throwing interceptions. You do that, they'll bury you. They'll capitalize on mistakes."

Ring's the thing

Dust off a spot in Canton for the bronze bust of Tom Brady. He's one of four quarterbacks in NFL history to win at least three Super Bowls, and he's one of two starting quarterbacks left in these playoffs with multiple rings. Pittsburgh's Ben Roethlisberger is the other.

Starting quarterbacks to win multiple Super Bowls:

Terry Bradshaw 4
Joe Montana 4
Troy Aikman 3
Tom Brady 3
Bob Griese 2
Bart Starr 2
Roger Staubach 2
Jim Plunkett 2
John Elway 2
Ben Roethlisberger 2


Zip it

It seems everyone is weighing in on the questionable decision of Jets cornerback Antonio Cromartie call Brady an unflattering, vulgar word.

None other than baseball great Reggie Jackson ripped Cromartie on Thursday when asked about the comments on "The Michael Kay Show" on 1050 ESPN radio in New York.

"What are you talking about? What are you doing? Shut up, play football," Jackson said. "What are you talking about [Patriots Coach] Bill Belichick and these people for? Spend your time looking at film; spend your time knocking down a pass. What are you doing? You're not affecting Brady; you're wasting time.

"This guy [Brady] is an automatic Hall of Famer; making fun of him is like making fun of Mariano Rivera. What are you doing?"

Best when it counts

No quarterback in NFL history has a better postseason winning percentage than Brady (minimum 15 starts). In fact, every other passer on the list is already in the Hall of Fame.

Quarterback, W-L, Pct
Tom Brady, 14-4, .778
Terry Bradshaw, 14-5, .737
Troy Aikman, 11-4, .733
Joe Montana, 16-7, .696
John Elway, 14-7, .667

At home

The Patriots are 60-12 in regular-season home games since 2002, the NFL's best record over that span. They also have the best postseason record since 2002, Brady's first full season as the starting quarterback:

N, Team, W-L, Pct
1 New England, 7-1, .875
2 Seattle, 5-1, .833
3 Pittsburgh, 4-2, .667
3 Indianapolis, 6-3, .667
5 Philadelphia, 5-3, .625

Another view

ESPN's Trent Dilfer: "I think Tom Brady is going to unleash hell on them. I can see him playing another one of those flawless games. I can see him being nearly perfect against them."

By the numbers

How the teams compare statistically. All statistics are per-game averages, except for turnover differential, which is for the season (league rank in parentheses):

JETS?
Points scored 22.9 (14)
Points allowed 19.0 (6)
Pass offense 202.6 (22)
Rush offense 148.4 (4)
Pass defense 200.6 (6)
Rush defense 90.9 (3)
Sacks 2.50 (8)
Penalty yards 58.4 (6)
Turnovers +9 (7)

PATRIOTS?
Points scored 32.4 (1)
Points allowed 19.6 (8)
Pass offense 240.4 (11)
Rush offense 123.3 (9)
Pass defense 258.5 (30)
Rush defense 108.0 (11)
Sacks 2.25 (14)
Penalty yards 47.9 (20)
Turnovers +28 (1)


Farmer's pick

Tom Brady is too good at finding weak spots and exploiting mismatches in a defense. Last time the Jets played here, they lost by 42. This could get ugly.

PATRIOTS 35, JETS 21

sam.farmer@latimes.com

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