posted on: Thursday December 2, 2010
Joe Dalli ’14 & Meg O’Neill ’12/ Sports Staff
As the NFL enters the last month of the regular season, the AFC is still very much up for grabs. The Indianapolis Colts and the San Diego Chargers have struggled to 6-5 records, division rivals Baltimore and Pittsburgh are tied with 8-3 records, and the Patriots find themselves with a 9-2 record in second place behind the AFC favorites, the New York Jets.
To the doubters who claim that, save six plays over the course of seven games, the Jets would have a losing record, there is no denying the fact that record-wise, the Jets are the best team in the NFL. And while the Gang Green may not have the same fire power that the Patriots have, they are finding ways to win.
The Jets have all the pieces to win the AFC. Second-year QB Mark Sanchez has matured much faster than experts had predicted, and has 2,472 yards, 16 touchdowns, and only eight interceptions going into Week 13. Running backs Shonn Greene and LaDainian Tomlinson have provided the Jets with the second-best rushing offense in the NFL. Finally, the wide receiving corps. of Braylon Edwards, Dustin Keller, and Santonio Holmes, have provided the Jets with legitimate deep threats. This offense, paired with the number three defense in the NFL and the best offensive line in all of football, has the star power to take the New York Jets the distance.
Of course, as a Jets fan, I always have to be prepared for disappointment. The statement game is upon us: Jets vs. Patriots on Monday, Dec. 6. The winner of this game will most likely win the AFC East. And while there is usually some Tom Brady magic in December, this year, as long as Revis Island is open for business, is the Year of the Jets. – Joe Dalli ’14
With five games left in the regular season, the play-off race is tight. A single win or loss within the next month can determine whether or not teams will be watching from the sidelines or watching from their couches at home in January. The main AFC contender as the playoffs approach is definitely the New England Patriots. The Patriots have a 9-2 record and have the momentum on their side. Many people are looking to the New York Jets as the top team in the AFC, but we have to take a look at the schedule differences. The New York Jets, despite also having a record of 9-2, have only beaten two teams that have a winning record. The Pats, on the other hand, have beaten five teams that have a winning record.
Throughout the past few seasons, the Pats have proved their placement in the upper echelon of the NFL. They have won three of the last eight Super Bowl titles and quarterback Tom Brady has led them to each. Brady had thrown 23 touchdown passes, compared to 16 from Mark Sanchez of the Jets. He has the experience and the clear head to let the Pats power through the next month of play and ultimately be a top play-off team.
It will be interesting to see what happens next Monday when these two teams meet up for Monday Night Football. The last time the Pats and the Jets met on the turf, in Week 2, the Jets proved victorious, 28-14. But, as you know, a Week 13 team is exponentially different from a Week 2 team. This game is going to decide a lot for the AFC, especially in the East. Who will prove to be the favorite? My money is on the Pats—and that is coming from a Giants fan. – Meg O’Neill ’12