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Saturday, October 8, 2011
Scouting the Patriots' tendencies

By Rich Cimini

No matter how you crunch the numbers, the result is always the same: The Patriots are a damn impressive team -- on one side of the ball, anyway. Let's take a closer look, with help from ESPN Stats and Information:

TOM BRADY VERSUS 5+ PASS RUSHERS

27-for-38 ... 71.1% ... 461 yards ... 6 TDs ... 1 INT ... 1 sack ... 140.5 passer rating

Analysis: Obviously, Brady isn't bothered by extra pressure. These days, the Jets aren't an extra-pressure defense. They're using conventional rushes more than ever under Rex Ryan.

PATRIOTS OFFENSE: 2+ TIGHT ENDS

139 plays ... 953 total yards ... 52-for-78, 733 passing yards ... 59 rushes for 233 yards.

Analysis: The Patriots use multiple tight ends on 50 percent of their offensive plays. Rob Gronkowski is developing into one of the best two-way tight ends in the league and Aaron Hernandez, more like a WR than a TE, is a receiving weapon. (Hernandez is recovering from a knee injury, but appears likely to play.) The Jets usually have trouble with TEs. Wouldn't be shocked if CB Antonio Cromartie is used on Hernandez.

BRADY: SCREEN PASSING

8-for-12 ... 66.7% ... 91 yards ... 0 TDs ... 1 INT ... 54.5 passer rating

Analysis: Ah, ha! We found something Brady isn't good at. Well, actually, he's pretty good with screen passes, but for some reason the Patriots' screen game isn't clicking as well as it has in the past.

PATRIOTS PASS DEFENSE: INSIDE THE NUMBERS

Comp. Pct ... 79.2 (32nd)
Yds/Att ... 9.6 (28th)
1st Dwns ... 37 (31)
TDs ... 4 (t-20th)

Analysis: Much like the Jets, the Patriots don't defend the middle of the field particularly well. It could get worse for them because they'll be without MLB Jerod Mayo (ankle). There should be plenty of opportunities for TE Dustin Keller.

PATRIOTS PASS DEFENSE: 5+ RUSHERS

20-for-32 ... 62.5 percent ... 321 yards ... 1 TD ... 1 INT ... 2 sacks ... 93.4 passer rating

Analysis: The Patriots don't play good defense, not even when they send extra pressure. They don't blitz often and, when they do, they're vulnerable. The Jets are going from one extreme (the Ravens) to the other in back-to-back weeks.