Will the AFC East Soon Be There for the Jets? NFL Insiders See the Patriots Demise
The thorn in the side of the New York Jets for so many years has been the New England Patriots. Now it appears that some NFL insiders and analysts have the Patriots on the decline, perhaps in the perfect time for the Jets to step forward and become contenders in the AFC East.
The Patriots are coming off a 28-22 loss on Sunday night to the Houston Texans, a result that dropped New England to 10-2 and sent shockwaves throughout the NFL. The Patriots looked very human in the loss, physically being dominated in the game and quarterback Tom Brady never developed a rhythm.
It has been a sustained run of dominance the likes of which the NFL has never seen. The Patriots have won the division every year since 2003 save for one season. They have won the AFC five times and have five Super Bowl titles since this run began 16 years ago.
Conversely, the Jets have made the playoffs just four times since 2003. They haven’t won the AFC East since 2002. Their last playoff appearance came in 2010. There are no Super Bowl appearances.
But now, there is talk that the Patriots are ready to take a step back. It is likely all hyperbole given that Brady is still their quarterback and the team still has a fantastic record this year. They lead the division again and are a lock for the playoffs.
On Tuesday night, Showtime’s ‘Inside the NFL’ discussed the Patriots being on the decline.
“It sounds like we’re putting it all on the quarterback. Let’s get to the root of it. You said it. They’ve always had answers. Now, they have real problems,” said Brandon Marshall on Showtime. The former New York Jets wide receiver is a regular analyst on the show. “And their number one problem is their offensive line. They can’t block at all.”
If the Patriots are truly on the decline – and they have to be at some point - then the Jets are hitting a good time to kick their rebuild into high gear.
With what appears to be a franchise quarterback in Sam Darnold and a superstar in safety Jamal Adams, the Jets have some pieces to build a future around. There is quality depth on the team but holes along the offensive line, at corner back and needs at wide receiver and edge rusher are holding the Jets back.
They will likely have a top 10 pick in next April’s NFL Draft. In addition, they should have a sizable amount of salary cap space with which to pursue free agency.
Should the Jets be able to address those needs and the Patriots continue to regress, then the AFC East is suddenly wide open.
“Everything that people have tried over this dynasty, over these decades here against the Patriots, they’ve had an answer for,” said Michael Irvin, another regular on the show.
“You want to blitz them – they got an answer. You want to play coverage – they got an answer with the run game…Now, they don’t have answers. They don’t have answers and I hate that they’re putting it all on the receivers all the time.”