Patriots offense key to Jets matchup in Week 5: Fan’s take

You may not have heard much about it, but there is a big AFC East matchup this weekend. The New England Patriots will host the New York Jets at 4:15 EST on Sunday.

Surprisingly there has been little buildup to this contest. Instead the national scene has been focused on the Philadelphia Eagles taking on the Buffalo Bills and Chicago Bears and the Detroit Lions Monday night tilt. I get the Eagles story as they spin out of control and of course the media sensation that is Michael Vick(notes). I am also not about to take away anything from the Lions and their great start as they face their first huge test in the Bears.

The thing I don't understand is that the Jets are in dire straits as well, maybe not as bad as the Eagles, but their offense looked abysmal Sunday night against the Baltimore Ravens. The Patriots defense is still ranked dead last in the league. So which of these dreadful units will have the edge of Sunday? I think the Patriots will because they may allow a ton of yardage, but they do sometimes come up with the timely interception or fumble. Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez is good at giving teams those opportunities. In the first four games he has thrown five picks and fumbled away four balls.

Then we have the high flying Patriots offense going against some of the best corners in the league in Darrelle Revis(notes) and Anotonio Cromartie. If the Patriots can do a good job mixing in a little bit of the run I like the Patriots chances of running up the score. Rookie Stevan Ridley was impressive against the Oakland Raiders last week with 97 yards and his first NFL touchdown. Also the Patriots are likely to have tight end Aaron Hernandez(notes) back which gives the Jets defense one more weapon to worry about.

It should be an exciting contest, but it seems to be getting very little attention. For a rivalry game that is rare. There was talk just last year of the Patriots and Jets rivalry eclipsing that of the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox in baseball. I find that a bit laughable now. Maybe Jets Coach Rex Ryan needs to say something stupid that will stoke the embers. It's only Thursday so the odds are good that Ryan can pull it off.

Darren Pare has been a New England Patriots fan for over 25 years and Steve Grogan and Troy Brown are still his favorite players.

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Updated Thursday, Oct 6, 2011