AFC East: 49ers Another Big Test For Tom Brady And The Patriots
by Kennedy Ross
Cold, Hard Football Facts AFC East Overlord (@FNscribeNY)
The Patriots prepare for the second half of an "NFL's best" double header. Last week it was the Texans. This week it's the 49ers. Getting closer and closer.
The Jets try to ride the icecream truck all the way to the post season. For the third straight week they get an opponent as soft as pralines and cream.
The Bills and the Dolphins are just trying to save face with a .500 2012 season. They have lots of work after the season, but it will be more if they don't work to win these last three games.
Here are five things you should be aware of this week:
1. Who's next? (Patriots vs 49ers)
After an impressive performance last week, the Patriots are going for the monster encore. What better way to step to a tough guy than by stepping over the body of the last tough guy that stepped to you?
The Patriots took their top running game and their top five passing game and struck blows one, two and three against the Texans. Then while they were stunned, the ever improving defense malled what was left of Houston.
What was supposed to be a classic bout turned into a three round knockout.
With 29 touchdowns and four interceptions so far this yar, Tom Brady is most certainly ready for the challenge. Unfortunately for the 49ers, he won't be coming alone.
The Patriots running game, lead by Stevan Ridley who just crossed 1,000 yards, will fight to keep that strong San Francisco defense off of Brady's back. And if the Patriots defense can befuddle Matt Shaub, they should be able to hamper Collin Kaepernick.
All three phases at home means good news for anyone who likes chow-duh.
2. Jets go back so they can move forward. (Jets vs Titans)
Mike Lupica of the New York Daily News said this week that the MVP of the Jets was the schedule makers in the NFL. Can't really argue with that.
The Jets have yet another wretched team laying in front of them like a dying coyote. The Titans may not be the worst team in their division, but they are certainly worse than the Jets. At least according to the standings anyway.
The numbers say that the lowly Titans are on par with the lowly Jets. It might have something to do with the fact that they are both lowly.
The one place that the Titans are not lowly, while the Jets still are, is the running game. More specifically the Titans have the fourth best rushing attack in the league. On the flip side, a block of cheese can stop runs better than the Jets.
The Titans even have the edge in the passing game. That was at least until the Jets made a way too late desperation move and re-signed wide receiver Braylon Edwards. Edwards was busy calling the Jets idiots when he was interrupted with a call to come and play for them again.
So now Mark Sanchez is reunited with on of his most productive weapons in Edwards. They will just have to see if they made the move too late.
3. The battle of the pan-handle. (Dolphins vs. Jaguars)
This could turn out to be one of the all time stinkers of the year. Despite a valiant effort, the Dolphins got leveled by the 49ers last week. While the Jaguars battled the Jets in a game of "lets see who can lose first".
The ugliness of the statistical analysis would make you hurl your Dolphin safe cookies. Unlike the Jets game, the stats reflect the respective positions in the standings. In short, the Jags are even more god awful than the Dolphins are.
The Jags edge the Dolphins in one statistic, Offensive Passer Rating, in which they are only two points less vile than Jacksonville.
Once again, Reggie Bush and Ryan Tannehill should have opportunities to basically practice what they've learned all year against this lowly defense.
If the fans are lucky, Sandy's cousin Doris will blow in and shut this down before it starts.
4. Bad luck for the Bills. (Bills vs. Seahawks)
While you can't expect a team to perform every week like the Seahawks did last week, if the caliber of the opponents are the same, then there's a chance.
Unfortunately for Buffalo, they are only slightly better than the Cardinals. You remember the Cardinals? They were the team who was crucified by the Seahawks last week after coughing up the ball EIGHT times!
58-0 is what happens to you when you give up eight turnovers. That and you lose your citizenship to your country of origin.
The one thing in the Bills favor has been that Seattle has been crappy on the road. That was until they upset the division leading Chicago Bears on the road and helped them to not lead the division anymore.
Seattle has won four of their last five games and quarterback Russell Wilson is bucking for rookie of the year. Couple him with the quintessential "beast", running back Marshawn Lynch, and you have problems up north.
5. You can sleep well knowing . . .
. . . The Patriots are going for their 14th straight win in the month of December. A thank you plaque will be presented to Mo Lewis if they go all the way.
. . . If the Jets were really serious about making a playoff run, they would bring back Brian Schottenheimer too as long as they are bringing back Jets who think they are idiots.
. . . For all of his suffering, Tim Tebow will be resurrected on another team in (about five months and) three days.
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