Green Day: Pats hurting, but still dangerous

October, 16, 2013
10/16/13
6:00
AM ET
The questions are bound to come up a hundred times this week: Are the New England Patriots vulnerable? Is this the New York Jets' big chance?

You've heard this storyline for more than a year, and it will be on the forefront this week because the Patriots are decimated as they prepare to face the Jets Sunday at MetLife Stadium. The latest news broke Tuesday night, with Yahoo! Sports reporting that linebacker Jerod Mayo could be lost for the remainder of the season after undergoing surgery Tuesday to repair a torn pectoral muscle. The Patriots recently lost their outstanding defensive tackle Vince Wilfork to a season-ending injury, wiping out their two heart-and-soul players on defense.

This would be akin to the Jets losing David Harris and Muhammad Wilkerson.

It's a continuing trend for the Patriots. They have no Wes Welker, no Aaron Hernandez, no Danny Woodhead and no Rob Gronkowski (maybe). Welker Lite, Danny Amendola, also is a question mark this week. But they're still atop the AFC East. They're still winning because they have Tom Brady and nobody else does. He has a way of winning with a patchwork supporting cast.

There will be no Brady pity from Rex Ryan.

"What’s their record, 5-1 or something like that?" Ryan asked Monday. "I think he’s pretty good. He looks pretty good to me. Always has."

That's because Ryan has lost five straight to Brady.

So to answer the question: Are the Patriots vulnerable? Well, yeah, they're more vulnerable than in the past, but they're still better in a diminished state than everybody else in the division.

ICYMI: The Jets, battling their own injuries, made a flurry of roster moves Tuesday. They signed WR/KR Josh Cribbs and WR Greg Salas and placed RB Mike Goodson and WR Clyde Gates on season-ending injured reserve. On Sunday, the receiving corps will consist of Stephen Hill, Jeremy Kerley, David Nelson, Michael Campbell and Cribbs. Santonio Holmes (hamstring) is a long shot to play. Talk about patchwork. ... Here's my film review of last week. ... The Jets are 20th in the latest ESPN.com Power Rankings. ... And a former local-college football star comes home to the Jets.

Rich Cimini

ESPN New York Jets reporter

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