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Archive for November, 2011

What We Learned From The Patriots Victory Against The Eagles

The Patriots (8-3) came into their latest game off of a victory last week against the Kansas City Chiefs, to face the Eagles (4-7) on Sunday. New England started slow, but eventually rolled in their 38-20 road victory at Lincoln Financial Field.

The Eagles to their credit, came out strong, and were throwing deep early in this game. They certainly had the approach to attack the Patriots secondary through the air, and it certainly worked as they led early in the first quarter 10-0.

However, as the Patriots settled into the game, the offense took over as they took advantage of the Eagles glaring weakness which was their linebackers in the middle of the field. Tom Brady and company completely carved up the Eagles defense, and pulled away in the second half.

So what did we learn from watching the game Sunday?

The first thing we learned is that I really think Brady is back at full strength as his throws were on target with plenty of velocity on the ball. When Brady is accurate like he was against the Eagles, he has the ability to just go right down the field, and really take advantage of a defense.

The second thing we learned is the defense with all of their issues right now in the secondary can make stops, and get off the field. The Eagles were 4-of-13 which is 30% on third down conversions. That statistic is important as it shows the ability for the Patriots to get off the field, and get the ball back to Brady.

Now, the Eagles certainly had some drops, but some credit has to be given to this unit. There is no question that they are resilient and we’ve seen them fight through adversity this season. They continue to show character, even though some think they lack the talent to do it in the play-offs.

The third thing we learned is that talent isn’t the only ingredient to winning in the NFL. We have now witnessed the Patriots beat both the San Diego Chargers and the Philadelphia Eagles who arguably have some of the best talent in the NFL. Yet both teams are currently 4-7, and probably won’t make the play-offs.

The reason the Patriots won those Super Bowls wasn’t based on just having the best talent. It had to with a combination of playing together as a team, and being well coached. Talent was a factor in those titles, but I think you need the other ingredients as well.

On offense, it was about Brady being one of the best quarterbacks in the game, and forcing the Patriots offense down the throats of the Eagles defense. Brady was 24-34 and threw for 362 yards with 3 touchdowns.

He completely carved up the middle of the field as he found his receivers. The running game wasn’t spectacular but very effective. BenJarvus Green-Ellis led the Patriots with 44 yards, but really made an impact with grinding out his carries. It was a complete offensive performance by the Patriots.

On defense, this unit gave up 466 yards which included 400 yards from Vince Young in the passing game. However, the Patriots defense only surrendered 13 points until the Eagles final drive when the game was completely wrapped up.

Also, they stepped up on key drives to stop several Eagles drives. Most notably was from the Patriots 2 yard line where the Patriots held on a fourth and 1 on a terrible pass in the end-zone by Young.

I keep going back to this statement about the Patriots defense, and the character that they are showing seriously cannot be denied. They proved against the Eagles that they can make that crucial stop when needed.

As I always do, I like to look back at my keys to victory to see what kind of role they played in the game and below is my analysis of¬†‚ÄĚ My Five Keys To Victory For the Patriots Against The Eagles.‚ÄĚ

1. The Patriots need to contain LeSean McCoy in this game. I have a feeling that stopping McCoy was the number one priority for the defense in this game. McCoy was kept in check as he only ran for a total of 31 yards. He had one run for 22 yards, but beyond that carry, he was not really the force that he had been in prior games. The Patriots did a nice job in limiting McCoy in this game.

2. The Patriots need to keep Vince Young in the pocket. I thought the defense did a nice job not letting Young outside to beat them with his legs. Young did throw for a ton of yards, but besides his early success, the Patriots kept him from really hurting them.

3. The offensive line needs to step up against the Eagles defense.  Early, the Eagles did get to Brady, but this unit settled down, and was able to protect the quarterback. In the second half, they were phenomenal with protection, which certainly helped Brady find his receivers.

4. The Patriots need to focus on the running game. Green-Ellis did not run for a great deal of yards, but they were quality carries that helped move the offense. His runs probably opened up the play-action game. We also did see the young running backs as well which was encouraging. The running game was a factor in this game, and should continue to enhance the Patriot offense.

5. The middle of the field needs to be taken advantage of in the passing game. I think this is where the Patriots won the game. Brady found one on one coverage for Rob Gronkowski, and Wes Welker. It was pitch and catch after the first couple of drives for the Patriots.

The Eagles linebackers were horrible as Brady really carved them up. This was a major key in this game and the Patriots passed with flying colors.

So what did we learn from this game? The most important thing we saw in this game was the difference between a club that plays together as a team, and the other that is based on great talent that don’t seem to play well together. We learned that you need more than just talent to win in the NFL.

What are your reactions to the game? Feel free to leave a comment and let me know what you thought of  the Patriots 38-20 victory against the Eagles.

 

On Monday night’s show of Patriots Fourth And Two, we discussed the the Patriots 38-20 victory against the Eagles. We were also joined by two great guests on the episode.

First, Marc Bertrand of 98.5 The Sports Hub came on to discuss his thoughts on the Patriots game. Later in the show we were joined by Christopher Price of WEEI who gave us his analysis of the latest victory.

Please do check out this latest episode. Also, we did have technical difficulties in the first 8 minutes, that did clear up after that point. Please do listen to Patriots Fourth And Two.

Listen to internet radio with PatriotsFourthAndTwo on Blog Talk Radio

My Five Keys To Victory For The Patriots Against The Eagles

The Patriots (7-3) are coming off of a home victory against the Chiefs, and are back in action later today to face the Philadelphia Eagles (4-6) on the road at Lincoln Financial Field. Here’s a preview with my five keys to the game that I hope will lead to a Patriots victory.

WHERE TO WATCH: The game will be shown live on WBZ Channel 4 at 4:15 PM EST. You can also listen to the game on 98.5 The Sports Hub in Boston.

The Eagles are coming off of an impressive 17-10 road victory against the Giants. Their play-off hopes are still alive, but for that to happen they cannot really afford to lose anymore games this season. They are an extremely talented team, and will be a huge challenge for the Patriots.

On defense, this is an aggressive group that can really get after the quarterback. Their defensive line is very impressive lead by defensive ends Trent Cole (5 sacks) and Jason Babin who has 10 sacks.  Also, Cullen Jenkins is a real presence in the middle of the line at defensive tackle.

The other serious strength of this unit has to be the cornerbacks. Asante Samuel and Nnamdi Asomugha could be the best tandem at their position in football. They can shutdown the Patriots receivers if they want to.

On offense, reportedly quarterback Michael Vick will be missing this game with an injury. In his place will be Vince Young who played fairly well last week against the Giants.

He should have two really good  receivers to get the ball to with DeSean Jackson, and Jeremy Maclin. However, Maclin is listed as doubtful for this game. If he cannot go they still have another dangerous receiver in Jason Avant who already has 35 receptions this season.

The big threat of the offense has to be running back LeSean McCoy who has 1,019 yards this season, and averages 5.4 yards per carry. He will be the player the Patriots will have to really contain in this game.

The Eagles have plenty of talent on both sides of the ball, but have yet to be able to really put it together this season as a team. With the absence of Vick in this game, I do see the Patriots pulling out a close victory.

Here are my ‚Äúfive keys‚Ä̬†which I believe could play a role in a potential victory for the Pats.

1. The Patriots need to contain LeSean McCoy in this game. When the Patriots have put their mind to it, they have been able to stop the run. McCoy is a huge challenge as he has breakaway speed and could break some long runs.

Without Brandon Spikes, the Patriots run defense won’t be at its best, but will need to limit the runs of McCoy. He has the ability to take over a game.

2. The Patriots need to keep Vince Young in the pocket. Young has the ability to be effective with his running and passing when he breaks containment.

In this game the defensive ends have to keep Young in the pocket at all costs. He is not the most accurate passer, so let’s see him beat the Patriots throwing the ball from the pocket.

3. The offensive line needs to step up against the Eagles defense. The offensive line cannot afford the breakdowns it has shown in the last several games. In their last game, in the first half they really did not do a good job at protecting Brady. They will need to be better this week against the Eagles.

4. The Patriots need to focus on the running game. The Eagles are 14th in the league against the run, and the Patriots last week established the running game against the Chiefs.

BenJarvus Green-Ellis really can grind out the yards, and the Patriots really need to do that against this aggressive defense. I also hope we see Stevan Ridley and Shane Vereen get some carries in this game, as they have potential to really be impact running backs.

5. The middle of the field needs to be taken advantage of in the passing game. The Eagles corners are excellent on the outside, but that might open up the middle of the field, which could allow the Patriots tight ends to have a field day this afternoon.

Wes Welker could also find some openings in the middle of the Eagles defense. This is a game where the Patriots strengths might really be able to expose a weakness of the defense.

The Eagles have so much riding on this game as their play-off chances could be on the line. However, I see the Patriots being able to take advantage of the Eagles weaknesses on both sides of the ball. It will be close, but in the end I am predicting a 24-21 Patriots victory against the Eagles.

What are your predictions? Feel free to post them in the comments section below.

What We Learned From The Patriots Victory Against The Chiefs

The Patriots (7-3) came into their latest game off of a resounding victory last week of the New York Jets, to face the Chiefs (4-6) on Monday night. New England increased their lead in the AFC East with a convincing 34-3 victory at Gillette Stadium.

As I expected, the Chiefs came to play in the first half, but eventually the Patriots would impose their will on their opposition in the second half. Chiefs defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel certainly had a great game-plan against Tom Brady and the Patriots offense. Eventually, Brady and his teammates would find openings in the Chiefs defense to pull away.

So what did we learn from watching the game Monday night?

The first thing we learned is that opposing defenses can slow down the Patriots offense when they implement an aggressive defense with a very good game-plan. Crennel had his defense double team both Wes Welker and Rob Gronkowski.

He also had his defense blitz and really give Brady different looks to confuse him. It certainly worked in the first half, but eventually Patriots offense settled in.

However, even if the Patriots are slowed down, it seems they eventually will kick it into gear. The question moving forward will be how long in each game will it take the Patriots offense to make the proper adjustments?

The second thing we learned is the defense can continue to tighten up in the red-zone. The 2001 Patriots were known for being vulnerable between the twenties, but tough to score  on in the red-zone. Say what you want about this defense giving up yardage, but points are what really matters, and if you can limit the amount of points scored especially in the red-zone you are doing something right.

The third thing we learned is no matter what the Patriots do in their upcoming games, the critics will still point to the defense as a possible fatal flaw in the play-offs. Trent Dilfer on ESPN after the game doubted the Patriots defense to be Super Bowl caliber. He could end up being right, but they played last night without 3 defensive starters, and I feel there is still room to improve.

Just remember that similar comments were made about the 2001 Patriots, 2006 Indianapolis Colts, and the 2009 New Orleans Saints. Those defenses were not elite, but they were good enough to get the job done in the play-offs, and eventually win Super Bowls.

On offense, the Patriots were really stymied int he first half, but Brady came alive in the second half as he went often to Gronkowski who had 2 touchdown passes. If you look at Brady’s numbers they are not overwhelming as he threw for 234 yards, with 2 touchdowns, and was 15-for-27 passing. However, he and his receivers lead by the tight ends did enough to get the job done.

On defense, when you hold any opponent to 3 points you have to be doing something right. There is no question that the Chiefs were able to move the ball on the defense. The Chiefs actually ran very well as they gained 120 yards combined from their 3 top running backs.

Also, Tyler Palko did make some throws on the Patriots defense, but they were definitely opportunistic when they needed to be. They intercepted Palko 3 times, and they did seem to put a good amount of pressure on the young quarterback. The Patriots defense against the Chiefs was the classic “bend but don’t break”. You can talk yardage or the opponent all you want. Three points against any offense is the number you need to focus on. Overall, the defense did a nice job considering how depleted the unit was with 3 starters being out.

As I always do, I like to look back at my keys to victory to see what kind of role they played in the game and below is my analysis of¬†‚ÄĚ My Five Keys To Victory For the Patriots Against The Chiefs.‚ÄĚ

1. The Patriots really need to stop the run on defense.  The defense did not do a real good job at stopping the run. When you give up 5 yards a carry to the Chiefs top 3 running backs, that is very sub-par.  There is no question that the Patriots miss both Brandon Spikes and Patrick Chung in run defense.

Moving forward, I think the defense will be fine in stopping the run once those players return. However, last night’s effort by the rush defense was just not good enough.

2. The front four needs to put pressure on quarterback Tyler Palko. I feel the Patriots defensive line did a good job at getting pressure on Palko. Mark Anderson had 1.5 sacks, and from the other side, Andre Carter continues to bring it, and make quarterbacks uncomfortable in the pocket. Kyle Love and Brandon Deaderick also did a nice job at creating some pressure. If the line continues to develop a pass rush, the Patriots defense could be good enough.

3. This is the game for BenJarvus Green-Ellis to really run the ball.  Green-Ellis definitely ran the ball well. He especially excelled in the second half when the running yards were needed. He ended up with 81 yards on 20 carries. He certainly was a huge plus last night for the Patriots.

4. Both tight ends need to establish themselves in the middle of the field. This key turned out to be very important for the Patriots as the Chiefs took away Wes Welker . Aaron Hernandez had 4 catches for 44 yards.

However, the star of the game had to be Gronkowski as he had 4 receptions for 96 yards, and 2 touchdowns. He is a tough man to take down, and against the Chiefs his yards after the catch were impressive.

5. The offense should use the ‚Äúhurry up‚ÄĚ to change the pace of the game. The¬†Patriots came out in a conventional offense and struggled. They did seem to try to use the “hurry up” in this game to jumpstart the offense. I think it played a role, but in this game it didn’t have the affect it had against the Jets.

So what did we learn from this game? I think we saw a club that had to fight threw some adversity early in the game, and still figured out a way to pull away and win.

I am not saying this is a Championship team right now. However, they do have some of those characteristics that those Super Bowl teams had. This Patriots team is continuing to show the character of a winner.

What are your reactions to the game? Feel free to leave a comment and let me know what you thought of  the Patriots 34-3 victory against the Jets.

 

The Michael Felger Interview On Patriots Fourth And Two

Tuesday Night, was another episode of¬†“Patriots Fourth And Two”. We discussed the game, and also had a very interesting guest come on to the show. Michael Felger of 98.5 The Sports Hub joined us, and I asked him several questions about the Patriots.

He is usually the host of his own radio show, and this time I was asking him the questions. Please do check out this episode, and you might be surprised by his answers. I asked him several questions ranging from this thoughts on the Patriots chances in the play-offs to his feelings on the New York Jets.

Again, here is the latest episode of¬†‚ÄúPatriots Fourth And Two‚Ä̬†BY CLICKING HERE.

Patriots Fourth And Two: Chiefs Recap At 6PM EST

Tuesday Night at 6PM EST will be another live episode of the internet radio show¬†‚ÄúPatriots Fourth and¬†Two¬†‚ÄĚ.¬†We will be breaking down the Patriots victory. We also have special guest Michael Felger of¬†98.5 The Sports Hub joining us at 6:10 PM EST

Co-hosting with me for this show will be Steve Balestrieri of Pats Pub, Damien Jarrett of 4th And Long, and Derek Havens of Patriots Haven.

Again, Please do join us at 7PM EST for 60 minutes of¬†‚ÄúPatriots Fourth And Two‚Ä̬†BY CLICKING HERE.

Patriots Fourth And Two: Pre-game Show At 7PM EST

Monday Night at 7PM EST will be another live episode of the internet radio show¬†‚ÄúPatriots Fourth and¬†Two¬†‚ÄĚ.¬†We will be having our own¬†Patriots pre-game¬†before the upcoming Chiefs game. We will be previewing this match-up and giving you our predictions.

Co-hosting with me for this show will be Steve Balestrieri of Pats Pub, Damien Jarrett of 4th And Long, and Derek Havens of Patriots Haven.

Again, Please do join us at 7PM EST for 60 minutes of¬†‚ÄúPatriots Fourth And Two‚Ä̬†BY CLICKING HERE.

My Five Keys To Victory For The Patriots Against The Chiefs

The Patriots (6-3) are coming off of a 37-16 away victory against the Jets, and are back in action on Monday Night Football to face the Kansas City Chiefs (4-5) at Gillette Stadium. Here’s a preview with my five keys to the game that I hope will lead to a Patriots victory.

WHERE TO WATCH: The game will be shown live today on WCVB Channel 5 at 8:30 PM EST. You can also listen to the game on 98.5 The Sports Hub in Boston.

The Chiefs are coming off of a 17-10 loss to the Denver Broncos, and will be coming to Gillette Stadium without their starting quarterback Matt Cassel who is injured. They will be starting Tyler Palko who has thrown just 13 NFL passes. However, this is a homecoming for former Patriots defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel, who is in charge of the Chiefs defense, and should have his team ready to go.

On defense, this unit does have some talent, and has been under-performing this season. On the defensive line you have Kelly Gregg at nose-tackle, and Glenn Dorsey has the potential to be an impressive defensive end in the league.

The player to watch on this defense is Tamba Hali at outside linebacker. He already has 6 sacks, and can really get after the quarterback.

Overall, the defense tends to play very vanilla with the infamous “bend but don’t break” philosophy in keeping the play in front of you, and making the opposition work down the field. They are decent against the pass as they are ranked 14th, but they are vulnerable against the run as they are currently 27th in the NFL.

On offense, the Chiefs can certainly run the ball as they are currently 9th in the NFL. They have a trio running backs to deal with in Thomas Jones, Dexter McCluster and Jackie Battle.

They do have two accomplished wide receivers in Steve Breaston and Dwayne Bowe. The latter wideout is a star, and currently has 41 receptions for 663 yards.

The wildcard in this game has to be quarterback Tyler Palko. The former University of Pittsburgh player has bounced around the league, and gets a great opportunity to show what he can do against the Patriots.

The Chiefs are definitely challenged on offense, but with Crennel running the defense, this game could be closer than most think. Honestly, the Patriots should be able to pull away, but it might take a while to really get going.

Here are my ‚Äúfive keys‚ÄĚ which I believe could play a role in a potential victory for the Pats.

1. The Patriots really need to stop the run on defense. With the Chiefs starting a back-up quarterback, I think there is a a good chance that they will run the ball very frequently. The Chiefs average over 124 yards per game. I expect to see a good amount of their 3 backs getting the ball and sharing the carries.

I feel the Chiefs will play conservative, and try to eat the clock with running the ball. The Patriots have done a decent job this season against the run as they are currently 13th in the NFL. They will need to really up their game somewhat against the Chiefs.

2. The front four needs to put pressure on quarterback Tyler Palko. Conventional wisdom might be to blitz often and force Palko into making mistakes. I think the Patriots with their issues in the secondary are better off rushing the line, and dropping 7 into coverage. I think the defensive ends should be able to put enough pressure on Palko.

Maybe this is an opportunity to disguise coverages, and see if Palko makes mistakes that way? They do have accomplished wide receivers, and I would respect them by putting more players into coverage. The Patriots defense needs to make Palko work his way down the field.

3. This is the game for Benjarvus Green-Ellis to really run the ball. The Patriots running game has been slowed down recently, and this is an opponent to get it started up once again. Playing against the 27th ranked rush defense is an opportunity to really establish the run, which should open up the passing game more.

4. Both tight ends need to establish themselves in the middle of the field. With the Cheifs playing a 3-4 defense, the Patriots might find openings for Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez in this game. The Chiefs might be able to take away one of these players, but the other tight end should have plenty of opportunities against this defense.

5. The offense should use the “hurry up” to change the pace of the game. I expect Crennel to have his defense ready, so I think the “hurry up” can be used to speed the game up, and get the Patriots in rhythm. When the situation presents itself in the game, I hope the Patriots use it to their advantage, and get the defense on their heels.

This is a game the Patriots should win if they play up to their capability. However, as stated earlier, this could be a struggle early in the game, but I see the Patriots pulling away in the second half. I am predicting a 24-10 Patriots victory against the Chiefs.

What are your predictions? Feel free to post them in the comments section below.

Ten New England Patriots Thoughts For Week 11

The Patriots soundly defeated the New York Jets 37-16 at MetLife Stadium last Sunday night, and are now getting ready to face the Chiefs on Monday Night Football.

There’s certainly plenty to talk about, so here are some thoughts for this week ranging from my thoughts on the recent victory, along with my thoughts on the upcoming game against the Chiefs.

1. The Patriots are firmly in control of the AFC East. With the Patriots beating the Jets they are now firmly in charge of the division. With all due respect to the Buffalo Bills (5-4) I think the Bills are playing over their head, and will continue to slide in the second half of the season.

The Jets (5-5) with their recent loss to the Broncos are now in serious trouble. The Patriots are essentially 3 games up in the Division as they have beat them twice and win that tie-breaker. I wouldn’t be surprised to see them still make the playoffs, but I think they just kissed the Division goodbye.

2. The offensive line did a nice job in protecting Tom Brady last week. The O-Line has really struggled in the last 4 games prior to the Jets encounter. They really stepped up, and protected Tom Brady fairly well last week

Brady had plenty of time to throw, and was not sacked at all in this game.This was a huge upgrade than what we have seen lately from this unit. Let’s hope they can build on this performance moving forward the rest of the season.

3. Tom Brady had a classic performance.¬†He took over the game in the second half, and really pushed the Patriots ahead to victory. He threw for 329 yards, and 3 touchdowns. When Brady ran the “hurry up” he was simply unstoppable.

4. Did Chad Ochocinco stretch the field? ¬†He only caught 2 passes for 65 yards, but that might have opened up the Jets defense slightly. His presence could have forced the Jets to play back, and fear the deep threat somewhat. Maybe I am pushing it a little bit on Chad, but I think he does have value. I say let’s give him to the end of the season and see where he ends up.

5. Rob Gronkowski could becoming the bigger threat at tight end.  Against the Jets, he had 8 receptions for 113 yards and two touchdowns.  Nothing against Aaron Hernandez but Gronkowski is starting to separate himself as a complete tight end. He is a better blocker, and an impossible match-up for opposing defenses.

Hernandez is extremely valuable and I think still hampered from an injury. Regardless, I see Hernandez as being like Dallas Clark, but Gronkowski being the future Russ Francis.

6. The “Hurry Up” offense pays off against the Jets. ¬†I have come to the conclusion that the “hurry up”, when used in certain situations, can be deadly to a defense.

On Sunday, the Patriots utilized it in the 3rd quarter, and the Jets had no answers for it. The defense tired out, and Brady picked them apart as they could not substitute. It doesn’t work every time, but against the Jets, it worked like a charm.


Andre Carter was a dominant force last Sunday night against the Jets. (FILE:Icon/SMI)

7. Mark Anderson and Andre Carter were both dominant against the Jets. Most in the media have focused on Carter as he had 4 sacks and harassed Mark Sanchez, but Anderson was very effective from the other side. He only had 1 sack, but he was constantly putting on pressure.

If these two defensive ends can continue to get after the quarterback like they did against the Jets, they can certainly mask the issues in the secondary. We will have to wait and see if this performance was a breakthrough or just a one game wonder by the two of them.

8. Enough with the back handed compliments on the defense in the media. After an impressive performance by the defense, the more I listened and read had to deal with that this defense is just not good enough to win in the play-offs.

The defense had several “no name” players, but a good amount of that had to do with injuries. When Devin McCourty, Brandon Spikes, and Patrick Chung all return, this defense is going to look and feel different. I think it is too early to count this unit out. Let’s make a judgment on them as we get to the end of the season since, after all, there are still seven more games to go.

9. I am a little scared about the return of Romeo Crennel. The Patriots should win this game easy, but Crennel certainly knows how to handle the  offense.

When he was head coach at Cleveland, he did a nice job in containing Brady in that game. With the Chiefs, he has that defense playing well. The return of Crennel is just something to monitor on Monday Night.

10. I am disappointed not to see the return of Matt Cassel. I believed in the ex-Patriots quarterback when he was here. In 2008, I thought he did a tremendous job filling in for Brady. I wish we could have seen what he was capable of in the play-offs.

Cassel is injured and will not be playing in this game. Instead we will see Tyler Palko at quarterback for the Chiefs. Nothing against him, but that is a serious letdown for me.

Those are my 10 thoughts for week 10, but feel free to leave some of your thoughts or concerns on this upcoming game in the comment section below.

What We Learned From The Patriots Victory Against The Jets

The Patriots (6-3) entered MetLife Stadium on a two game losing streak to play the Jets (5-4) Sunday night. New England left New Jersey with a convincing 37-16 victory, and gained serious control over the AFC East.

What I found fascinating watching this game Sunday night was that I have seen this movie before many times. There were many people including myself that had serious doubts that the Patriots could win this game on the road. Well, I couldn’t be happier that the Patriots proved me wrong.

The Patriots are at their best when they feel they have something to prove. This was an old school victory for the team, that could gain a considerable amount of confidence from this game.

We have now seen a few victories this season by the team that brings you back to the Dynasty years. The Patriots have their issues, but they showed last night that they still have the character that built those Championship teams.

So what did we learn from watching the game on Sunday?

The first thing we learned is that having a quarterback that can win you a Superbowl is huge in the NFL. Tom Brady still has the quality and determination to win games in tough situations. However, Mark Sanchez – who does have the physical ability – needs to to raise his game to the next level if the Jets do want that Super Bowl ring someday.

If you don’t have a quarterback that can take you all the way, it is an uphill struggle to win a title. ¬†The Patriots still have a quarterback that can take you all the way to the promised land, while there are doubts that the Jets have the answer at that position.

The second thing we learned is that putting pressure on the quarterback can help disguise the issues in the secondary. When Patrick Chung could not go Sunday night because of injury, I was extremely concerned about the safety play in this game. My concerns about the secondary grew larger when starting cornerback Devin McCourty went out with an injury during the first half.

Well, there were issues in the secondary in this game, but there is no question that they played as well as could be expected. When you have players like Antwaun Molden, Phillip Adams, Ross Ventrone, and Sterling Moore playing significant roles in the game, and you only give up 16 points you are doing something right.

The pressure that the defensive front four of the Patriots put on was impressive. Defensive end Andre Carter was in the face of Sanchez most of the game. He ended with 4.5 sacks, but his play was much more than that one statistic. Mark Anderson did a nice job at the other defensive end position as he as well got pressure on Sanchez. The pass rush definitely masked the issues in the secondary.

The third thing we learned is that the “hurry up” offense when used in certain situations can really make a difference in a game. The Patriots took over in the second half on offense, and that style of play certainly helped their situation. It forced the Jets to be in a defense where they could not substitute.

This created match-up advantages for Brady to exploit, and he was very successful at it. This style also tired out the Jets defense. Overall the “hurry up”¬†was a weapon when it was used in the right situations of this game. Against the Jets, it worked like a charm.

On defense, overall this was an impressive performance considering the issues with injuries leading up to the game. As stated earlier, the defensive line really stepped up big against a real good offensive line.

The underrated unit in this game had to be the linebackers. Jerod Mayo is probably not 100 percent yet, but his presence certainly sets the tone for the defense. The real star of this unit in this match-up was Rob Ninkovich who had 5 tackles and 2 interceptions. Ninkovich is a steady player, and certainly had a great game against the Jets.

On offense, The Patriots were kept in control for the most part in the first half, but made plays when they had to. The second half is when this unit became dominant once again. Rob Gronkowski was huge as Brady went to him time after time. He ended with 8 receptions for 113 yards, and two touchdowns.

Brady showed once again why he is such a difference in a game. He carved up the Jets in the second half, and just took advantage of the match-ups he would see. Brady threw for 3 touchdowns, and was 26-of-39 with 329 yards. This was a really good performance by the Patriots quarterback.

As I always do, I like to look back at my keys to victory to see what kind of role they played in the game and below is my analysis of¬†‚ÄĚ My Five Keys To Victory For the Patriots Against The Jets.‚ÄĚ

1. The Patriots offensive line needs to protect Tom Brady. The offensive line did their job against the Jets. They did not give up a sack, and Brady it seemed felt pretty comfortable in the pocket.

2. The Patriots need to establish the run against the Jets. The Patriots running game was pretty much a non-factor until the end of the game when Danny Woodhead got some nice yardage. The lack of a running game did not hurt them against the Jets, but they will need to do better in this part of the game moving forward.

3. The Patriots need to get their outside receivers involved in the game. Surprisingly Chad Ochocinco caught a few passes early, and did make a difference. He had 2 receptions for 65 yards, but I thought his presence outside helped the offense.

Also, Deion Branch had a nice game as he had 5 receptions for 58 yards, and 1 touchdown. This was a positive sign for the Patriots passing game.

4.The Patriots defense needs to stop the Jets ‚Äúground and pound‚ÄĚ running game. The¬†Patriots did not do a real good job at stopping the run. LaDainian Tomlinson and Shonn Greene combined for 99 yards. Since the Jets played from behind in the second half, they didn’t have the opportunity to run more. The loss of Brandon Spikes hurt the run defense, and they will have to be better against the run moving forward.

5. The Patriots need to contain Dustin Keller. The Patriots did a nice job on Keller as he only had 2 receptions for 37 yards. I think this key had more of an impact on the game than most might think. The Patriots did take away some of the short passing game that the Jets like to use. I think not having those quick reads readily available hurt Sanchez in this game.

So what did we learn from this game? I think we learned that the Patriots have some serious character and resolve. Facing a tough opponent on the road, and beating them soundly could have strong positive effects the rest of the season.

So, just when you think that the “Patriots Way”¬†was in decline, they remind you that it is alive and kicking. I wouldn’t underestimate this team again this season.

What are your reactions to the game? Feel free to leave a comment and let me know what you thought of  the Patriots 37-16 victory against the Jets.