Saturday, December 11, 2010

Upon Further Review: Pats Cover 45-3

It feels good to be on the right side of a blowout for once. The Pats annihilated the Jets in a game that was as lopsided as some of the previous BadNFL blowout losses, dominating them 45-3. Tom Brady strengthened his position in the MVP race and threw for a whopping 11 YPA. Conversely, the Sanchize looked really bad -- he threw for less than 5 yards per attempt, barely completed 50% of his passes, and threw 3 INTs compared with 0 TDs. In other words, he looked as bad as I predicted he would the last time I (wrongly) predicted this match-up, and he gave the Jets absolutely no chance in this game.

Most of the reviews of this game note how dominating the Pats were in all phases of the game. Indeed, it was so bad that Rex Ryan stole a motivational ploy from Bill Belichick and buried the game ball afterward. In a game that lopsided, it's hard to pinpoint any one cause, but the loss of Jim Leonhard from the Jets secondary undoubtedly affected the Jets pass D -- particularly in the Jets' ability to defense the Pats various multiple-TE sets. Moreover, the vaunted Jets' pass rush, although getting to Brady a couple times early, never made much of an imprint on the game. And the Pats simply avoided throwing at Revis, exploiting the gaping holes all over the rest of the field.


1. Does Mark Sanchez struggle in cold-weather games? Remember, he's a USC kid who lacks ideal NFL arm strength and sometimes tends to obsessively focus on short-yardage throws. That tendency obviously did not manifest itself last time the Jets pounded the Pats at home in week 2. But it's now December, and the weather has begun affecting games like it hasn't so far this season. It certainly looked like the cold windy conditions negatively affected Sanchez in this game; he unquestionably had the worst game of any QB last week. This is a possible trend that bears watching.

2. Picking against teams that have recently enjoyed several lucky wins pays off. One of my main rationales for this pick was the series of lucky, dramatic comeback wins against mediocre teams that the Jets had enjoyed of late. At the time, that led most pundits to label them "resilient" and "tough" etc; in retrospect, maybe they were just getting lucky. And once they played a motivated, streaking team on the road, that luck ran out in a major way.

3. The Broncos continue to frustrate. They have now officially imploded and fired their coach, 3 weeks after administering an asskicking to the (3-0 since) Chiefs in Week 10. My contrary pick, readers will remember, was premised on an assessment that the Broncos were on the verge of collapse and the Chiefs were picking up steam down the stretch. All that appears to have been correct, but just not that week. The result of that one game continues to frustrate me, but the general assessment was right on.

4. The Hilton 100 club had only 1 entry last week: Bears -3.5 @ Lions. I didn't like that pick at all, since BadNFL is a big fan of the covering Lions, especially at home. Nonetheless, the pick barely hit, as the Bears won 24-20. The theory now moves to 11-3, with 2 of the losses (albeit one of its wins now) coming by 1 point.

Not everything about the Hilton Contest appears helpful, however. The most popular pick last week among the contest leaders? Jets +3.5. That obviously didn't work out; maybe those top contestants should have read their BadNFL a little more carefully.

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