You enjoy this beat-down? I just love the way our good friend Chris Stout put it this morning: “Belichick’s not evil; he’s strategic.” If strategy is sending a message to a division rival in the form of an absolute and embarrassing drubbing, then yep, he once again proved he was a master strategist. Throwing in the 4th quarter, going for it on 4th down? I suppose they were just working on certain aspects of their game that needed improvement.

Giving credit where it’s due, this was one of the prettiest game-plans I’ve seen all season long. Knowing that the Jets defense was lacking its heart and soul, Belichick and Brady decided they’d go ahead and dismember the body as well. Cromartie and Revis? Non-factors. Isolate them, spread the field, and check down to the space where pass catchers can run. With everyone going fast and hard, from Welker to Woodhead, there were just too many weapons on the field for the Jets defense to deal with. Especially considering Mark Sanchez and the offense couldn’t sustain a drive, and once they were able to run, they had too little time to pursue it. They had to pass, and that led to one of the biggest surprises of the night–the Patriots defense.

I’ve definitely warmed to Belichick in the past couple of seasons. Maybe something about coaching youth sports led me to a deeper understanding; however, I thought the dude was crazy for not hiring a defensive coordinator in 2010. Bottom line, the Patriots defense is pretty bad, but last night they showed up in full force. They stuffed the run early, and picked off the passes late.

In a word, they “exposed” Mark Sanchez for still being slightly under-ripe. When a similar “exposure” took place last season, Rex Ryan reinforced the necessity of being able to run the ball. I suppose we’ll see the same sense of focus from the Jets moving forward in response to this, New England’s declaration for the AFC East.

The mystique that the Jets carried through the past several weeks of winning game after game is clearly no more–perhaps it was more of a magic act than a mystique, based on winning several games that they just as easily could have lost vs. inferior opponents.

Considering the Patriots, it would make sense to refer to them as the best team in the AFC. While they’re certainly not the most talented, and the defense is incredibly suspect, they possess an offense that can put up points against anybody, and how flippin’ tough are they at home? The only two teams that I see potentially giving the Patriots fits in the AFC are the Steelers and… …the Chiefs. We fans of the NFC are going to find out how good the Bears are come Sunday when the Pats head to Chicago.

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