Yuck, what a terrible week 2. Cowboys played terribly and BadNFL moved to 0-2. Definitely did not see that coming. It was made even more disappointing because I wrote out a list of 5 games to pick, and I hit 4 out of 5, yet decided to write up the Pats for the blog, and it backfired. I now proceed to the unpleasant task of explaining why.
In short, Mark Sanchez outplayed Tom Brady. In fact, the Sanchize without a doubt played the best game of his career. In contrast, Brady summed it up best when he said "we sucked." The Pats' offensive ineptitude was even more disappointing given that Revis was out with a pulled hamstring. But in spite of that, Moss had a limited impact and started dropping passes at an alarming rate. And Darius Butler was absolutely torched by a thus-far unimpressive Jets offense.
All in all, the Pats started off strong, but the Jets dominated the 2nd half. It was frustrating, because many of the basic tenets of the prediction were borne out: Joe Flacco struggled against the Bengals' defense (supporting the conclusion that the Jets' defensive performance wasn't that impressive week 1), and the Jets' off-the-field distractions continued to escalate. Nonetheless, the Patriots weren't able to capitalize on what I continue to think is an overrated Jets' defense, and it was in large part because Brady had a really bad day. Which I did not expect.
1. Pay more attention to home/road splits. I normally do not factor in homefield advantage that much, and because of the 3-point swing Vegas awards, I find myself taking road favorites quite a bit. In fact, I've done that 12 times out of the 18 picks I've made overall on this blog thus far. My picks have gone 5-7 in those games. Last week, I noted that Qwest Field was undoubtedly one of the factors that contributed to Seattle's surprising win over the 49ers week 1. I probably should have factored that in more here; after all, the Pats last year went 8-0 at home and 2-6 on the road. Maybe this Patriots team is one that really does disappoint away from Foxboro.
2. Is the Belichick defensive reputation no longer deserved? Maybe so; his defense certainly looked terrible last week, in both execution and scheme. I never thought they had a great defense, but to get carved up by Sanchez is just unforgivable.
3. Beware picking against a player coming off rock bottom. My arguments against the Jets were heavily premised on how historically atrocious Sanchez looked week 1. Maybe he was just due for the bounceback game. Indeed, this game reminded me of the shocking Oakland upset of Philly last year, when Oakland was rebounding from what was a laughably low point of their season. While I'm still surprised Sanchez rebounded, in the future those "rock bottom" moments will make me more wary.
Stay tuned to see if I can stave off falling to an embarrassing 0-3.