About the Author
Recent posts by Kevin Fishbain
Here's a key matchup to watch in Sunday's divisional-round game between the Patriots and Jets:
Patriots QB Tom Brady vs. Rex Ryan's defense
Brady has gotten familiar with Ryan's attacking defense. This will be the fifth time he has faced the Jets with Ryan at the helm and he played Ryan's Ravens defense in 2004 and ’07, both times having poor completion percentages.
In Week Two, after a stellar first drive, Brady's numbers plummeted thanks in part to a reliance on Randy Moss. He threw two interceptions and completed just 55.6 percent of his passes. It was his second lowest passer rating of the season.
Brady, who is known for his preparation, was ready come Week 13, completing 21-of-29 passes for 326 yards and four touchdowns in the 45-3 thrashing of Ryan's Jets on "Monday Night Football."
On Sunday, you can be certain that Ryan's defense will put up a better fight than it did in Week 13, but coming off a bye week, will Brady be just as ready?
In Week 13, Brady never threw it toward star CB Darrelle Revis, instead targeting Antonio Cromartie and the Jets' safeties. He motioned his wideouts and backs to put them in advantageous situations and found them for plenty of yards.
Ryan likely will scale back his blitzes after watching Brady pick them apart. Look for the Jets to try and throw coverages at Brady that he has never seen. Brady doesn't get sacked often, but he is prone to mistakes when under heat, it's a matter of getting to him before he releases the ball that is a concern.
If Brady has anywhere near the success on Sunday that he had back on Dec. 6, there is little shot the Jets can compete with the Pats in Foxborough. He's very familiar with Ryan's defense, so it will be interesting to see what kind of tricks the boisterous coach has up his sleeves.