1) Tom Brady’s Performance in the 4th Quarter. Much had been made this week of Tom Brady’s dismal QBR rating in the fourth quarter since 2009, which puts him as the fifth worst quarterback in the league. A few unruly fans have called into the local talk shows declaring him DOA. While Brady seems to have lost a bit of his fourth quarter mojo, I don’t think you’ll see him sitting on the Patriot’s bench tossing footballs with his phone number on it up to Australian bikini models a la A-Rod any time soon.
2) Patriots Offense in the Red Zone. The Patriots have scored on only 55% of their red zone opportunities in 2012, putting them behind Ryan Tannehill and the Miami Dolphins. This stat is shocking considering the number of Patriots offensive weapons: Gronk, Hernandez, Welker, Ridley, Lloyd, Bolden, Edelman, Woodhead.
3) Jets QB Drama. The Yankees woes may have kept the Tebow vs. Sanchez off the back cover of the New York Post for a few days, but this game could be the turning point in the NY quarterback debate. Unfortunately, the Patriots secondary has made heroes out of mediocre quarterbacks (see also: Kevin Kolb, Russell Wilson), and could help boost Mark Sanchez’ season completion percentage over 50%.
4) Patriots Un-Safety. Ahead of only the Titans, Browns and Redskins in passing yards allowed, but the seventh best team against the rush, this week’s match-up against the 30th worst passing offense may actually make the Patriots’ defense look good. Then again, per point number three, the Patriots’ weak secondary may keep the Tebow advocates quiet for another week.
5) Skinny Rex Ryan. Rex may have lost a few pounds in the offseason but his mouth continues to open and close. Thus far the only “incendiary” comment he’s made has been that he thinks the Jets will beat the Patriots. We still have 48 more hours until game time, which means plenty of opportunity for a gem.
While this column is technically about the NFL, I’d like to take a moment to thank the New York Yankees for bringing some cheer to my otherwise dreary baseball season. I’d also like to nominate the Detroit Tigers for MVP of the 2012 Red Sox.