PatsJets: The Pick


PatsJets: The Pick

For all the back and forth leading up to this weeks PatriotsJets game and by back and forth, I mean the sound of Rex Ryan talking to himself Sundays result will ultimately come down one question:

Just how bad is the New England secondary?

Now typically, this is a question that Patriots fans dont want to address, and if they do, that answer will consist of some hateful, sarcastic mix aimed at the failures of Bill Belichick or incompetence of Devin McCourty and will somehow find its way back to the core reason that the Pats have gone seven years without winning a Super Bowl. I mean, theres no question that this secondary is bad. Its the single biggest flaw in the Patriots armor. The one thing that opposing coaches look at and say: OK, this is how we can beat them. This is how we will beat them.

But when it comes to Sundays game, it doesnt really matter how the secondary stacks up against most NFL passing games. In this case, it only matters how McCourty and company compare to one of the NFLs worst. Thats what the Jets bring to the table.

Call it a product of having one the leagues most inconsistent quarterbacks Mark Sanchez has thrown for fewer yards per game (188) than all but two starting QBs (granted one of them is Russell Wilson); he has the lowest QB rating (70.9) of any starter other than Matt Cassel and Brandon Weeden; he has the lowest completion percentage (49.7) in the NFL.

Call it a product of losing their No. 1 receiver (Santonio Holmes) to a season-ending injury, or the fact that last years No. 2 receiver (Dustin Keller) has made only two catches since returning from his own injury or that last years No. 3 receiver (Plaxico Burress) is currently unemployed.

Whatever it is, just know that the Jets passing game is horrendous (they rank 30th in yards and 29th in net yards per attempt) and that for one game, the Pats only need to be better than them. Forget everything else. Its not about beating the critics. Its about beating Mark Sanchez.

Yeah, Tim Tebow will be there, too. I think we can expect a healthy does of No. 15 at various points on Sunday. The Jets know theyre out-matched; they know that theyll have to take some chances and that despite what Ryan says they have little to lose on Sunday. In a way, that makes them dangerous; I'm sure they'll have plenty of tricks up their sleeve. But when it comes down to it, this game will be decided with Mark Sanchez standing in the pocket. And it won't be enough for him just to hold his own.

Sanchez will have to keep pace with the NFL's No. 1 ranked offense, playing at home, with their backs against the wall, playing against a defense that has been decimated by injury. Sanchez will have to put up real numbers on Sunday. Brady numbers. Especially since the Jets running game is a mess, and the Pats rush defense currently ranks with in the NFL.

So let's get back to the original question: We know the Pats secondary is bad, but are they that bad? Are they turn-Mark-Sanchez-into-Tom-Brady bad?

I don't think so. Which makes this an easy pick:

Pats 35, Jets 13

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Four killed in crash involving Dallas Cowboys' bus


Four killed in crash involving Dallas Cowboys' bus

PHOENIX (AP) -- A bus carrying Dallas Cowboys staffers but no players and a van collided Sunday on an Arizona highway, killing four people in the van, authorities said.

The bus occupants emerged uninjured from the crash, Arizona Department of Public Safety spokesman Quentin Mehr said.

"All on the bus came through OK with some bumps and bruises," Cowboys spokesman Rich Dalrymple said in an email.

Dalrymple said the bus was only carrying members of the franchise's staff but would not say how many. There were no players on board.

Mickey Spagnola, a columnist for the team's website, has been writing for the past week about traveling on a Cowboys bus with a driver, the team mascot and videographer. On his Twitter page, Spagnola tweeted before 2 p.m. that the bus was 80 miles outside of Vegas.

The two vehicles collided in the afternoon on U.S. 93, about 30 miles north of the city of Kingman or 180 miles northeast of Phoenix, according to DPS.

The crash shut down at least one lane of the highway that serves as the main route between Las Vegas and Phoenix.

The bus was on its way to a Dallas Cowboys fan event in Las Vegas. Charles Cooper, manager of GameWorks entertainment center in Vegas, said the session with 50 to 75 fans was scheduled for 3 p.m. PDT. People were already waiting when the president of a Las Vegas Cowboys fan club called to relay news of the accident. The event was subsequently canceled. Cooper says the team mascot was supposed to appear.

After the Las Vegas stop, the bus was scheduled to go on to Oxnard, California for the team's training camp. Members of the organization typically take a bus two weeks before the camp starts and make stops along the way.