The Patriots' defense has allowed 33 passes of 20 yards or more through six games, worst in the NFL by seven attempts (Washington has allowed 26). New England has also allowed five passing plays of 40 yards or more, tied for second in the league with Cleveland, the Giants, Chargers and Bucs behind the Chiefs and Redskins, who have both allowed six.
The Pats are also 28th in the league with their 8.1 average yards per pass play, tied with the Titans in that regard. All told, they have allowed 288.8 yards per game to the pass, better only than the Titans, Redskins, Bucs, and Browns. If you're a Patriots opponent, why would you not be hucking the ball every opportunity you get?
That is, unless you're the Mark Sanchez-led Jets. And these are the Jets...
This week's picks
Globe staff: Four out of five pick the Patriots (New England by 10 ½).
John Boell, Newday: Patriots. "Rex Ryan's gift of gab comes from his father, Buddy, architect of one of the greatest defenses of all-time in Chicago, and later a head coach in Philadelphia. But Buddy's talking eventually grew old in Philly, where they never won a playoff game under him. Rex had the chance to quietly prepare for the Patriots this week, but he just couldn't resist: "I don't feel like tugging on Superman's cape today, but maybe tomorrow." Sure enough, less than 24 hours later Ryan said his Jets would "beat the Patriots." I don't think one game vs. a young Indy team equals a turnaround. This is the only game this week with a spread of more than a touchdown, and for good reason: The Pats have won 14 of the last 18 meetings overall, and Tom Brady is 16-5 in his career vs. the Jets. The Jets are 6-13-1 against the spread (ATS) in their last 20 meetings vs. the Pats."
Peter King, Sports Illustrated: Patriots 34, Jets 16. "Still shaking my head over the Patriots having three rookies out of four defensive backs on the field to defend Russell Wilson's game-winning touchdown bomb to Sidney Rice the other day. If I could trust the Jets to throw the ball, which I can't, this would be a ballgame. I can't figure out how the Jets will prevent Tom Brady from crushing them with that quick-twitch no-huddle offense that's run 89 and 85 plays the last two weeks."
ESPN.com staff: Patriots across the board.
Pete Prisco, CBS Sports.com: Patriots 37, Jets 17. "This is for the division lead. The Jets? Hard to believe, but they can put all their early season troubles aside with a victory here. It won't happen. The Patriots blew a game last week at Seattle, and they will take it out on the Jets. You can't beat Tom Brady without a pass rush and without Darrelle Revis. Brady lights them up."
CBS Sports.com staff: Five out of eight pick the Patriots (Patriots -10.5).
Mike Florio, ProFootballTalk.com: Patriots 30, Jets 23. "The Jets have their swagger back. But it's a week-to-week thing. And this week the swagger takes a break as the Pats once again work to put a game they should have won behind them."
Michael David Smith, ProFootballTalk.com: Patriots 34, Jets 10. "Rex Ryan wants the Patriots to know that he thinks the Jets will win, but I don't think too many people agree with Rex. The AFC East standings say the division is wide open, but the reality is that the Patriots are heavy favorites, and they'll take a big step toward proving that on Sunday."
Greg Cote, Miami Herald: Patriots 34, Jets 20. Rex Ryan this week: "'I want [the Patriots] to know, and I think they know, that I think we're going to beat them.' Ooooh! Rex, you so cocky! And then what happens is, Tom Brady throws for 317 yards and Mark Sanchez is still Mark Sanchez. Point spread feels fat, but odds of a rout are simply greater than odds of a close game, and none of Rex's cartoon bluster changes any of that"
USA Today staff: All Pats.
Yahoo! sports staff: Patriots across the board.
Peter Schrager, Foxsports.com: Patriots 30, Jets 13. "Rex Ryan's back! Instead of being the bizarre sheepish quiet-as-a-mouse wallflower character he's been all season, he broke out of his shell on Monday. A day after saying he wasn't ready to 'tug on Superman's cape' and talk smack about Tom Brady, Ryan came out and told reporters, 'I want them to know - and they know - that I think we're going to beat them.' The winner of this one will be 4-3 and atop the AFC East. Alas, the Jets' pass rush won't get to Brady like the Seattle and Arizona ones did. New England wins this one with relative ease. Superman does his thing."
It says here: Patriots 45, Jets 21. Isn't a disappointment if it isn't a blowout?