|Jets coach Rex Ryan said his team will face a big challenge in the Thanksgiving night matchup against the rival New England Patriots. (US Presswire)|
There will be no overlooking anything as the New York Jets prepare to face the Patriots on Thanksgiving night. On Tuesday, coach Rex Ryan pointed out that it's hard to find any weaknesses to take advantage of in a team that ranks at the top of the league in almost every category.
"[Patriots QB Tom Brady] doesn't get sacked, they don't turn the ball over, they lead the league in points [and they're] top five in rushing," he said. He left out that the Patriots are first in total offense (the Jets are 29th). One interesting reversal is that on defense, the Jets are 14th overall, while the Patriots are 28th.
Ryan said that Brady is almost a "machine" -- except that Brady is better than a machine because he also brings a fiery passion to his leadership, which sparks and inspires everyone around him. In their first meeting this year, in Week 7 at Gillette Stadium, the Jets took the Patriots to overtime, but ultimately, the Patriots took the win.
"When it mattered most, [Brady] delivered and they got the victory," Ryan said. "We know enough of Tom Brady to know that if he knows exactly what (formation) you are in, you are in trouble."
In fact, partly because of the short week of preparation leading up to the Thanksgiving game, Jets coaches actually started working on the Patriots game two weeks ago, during their bye week.
"There's not a whole lot of sleep for coaches, but your players have to get rested," Ryan said.
One thing that should help the Jets is that the Patriots will be without a key piece of their offense; TE Rob Gronkowski is out four to six weeks with a broken arm.
Meanwhile, the Jets are getting some of their key players healthy. RB Bilal Powell is back after missing two games with a shoulder injury, and RB Joe McKnight is back from a sprained ankle (missed one game, but was severely limited in two others). Their return will allow the Jets to spread their running game around so RB Shonn Greene doesn't have to carry the full load.
"We have three very capable backs," Ryan said. "And instead of throwing one guy in there all the time to take all the hits and all the protections [it can be split up]."
Ryan feels more prepared to face the Jets' current situation than he was in 2009, his first year as head coach, when the team was also 4-6.
"I made more (mistakes) when I was just coming into this thing in '09," Ryan said. "I've been around football all my life, but you've never been in this chair. Right now I'm more comfortable in this role."
He also pointed out the most fundamental issue and one that will show whether the Jets are up to the challenge of making a playoff run: "Good teams get better as the season goes on."
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