The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

No Hope in New York

Posted on | September 12, 2023 | Comments Off on No Hope in New York

Excuse me for returning so soon to the NFL theme, but what happened on Monday Night Football is dominating ESPN coverage, and also will have a direct impact on the fortunes of the New England Patriots.

The Aaron Rodgers Era in New York lasted exactly four plays, as he limped off the field after getting sacked with 11:40 left in the first quarter. Subsequently, it was reported that Rodgers — the 39-year-old former Green Bay Packer quarterback who had been embraced by long-suffering Jets fans as the messiah who would deliver them from years of irrelevance — had suffered a torn Achilles tendon, an injury that almost certainly ends his 2023 season. All the preseason talk about the Jets potentially becoming the best team in the AFC East ended in sad fashion, even though New York somehow managed to win the game in overtime when rookie Xavier Gipson, an undrafted free agent from Stephen F. Austin University, returned a punt 65 yards for a touchdown.

And as a New England Patriots fan, I can only say, “Perfect.”

First of all, the arrival of Rodgers in New York, by making the Jets competitive, threatened to make the Patriots the fourth-best team in the division, which in the pass three years has been dominated by Josh Allen and the Buffalo Bills, with Tua Tagovailoa and the Miami Dolphins a rising challenge. But with Rodgers now likely out for the season, the Jets will have Zach Wilson at quarterback — and he’s been a disaster ever since New York wasted their No. 2 draft pick on him in 2021.

Secondly, however, it’s a great boon for the Patriots that the Bills lost Monday’s game — a division loss, which could prove to be important in any tiebreaker scenario for a playoff spot — and the way Allen played certainly made Buffalo look vulnerable as defending AFC East champions. Allen threw three interceptions and also fumbled, completing 29 of 41 passes for 236 yards, with a rating of 62.7. Compare that to the numbers Mac Jones put up Sunday against the Eagles — completing 35 of 54 passes for 316 yards, with a rating of 89.2 — and you have to think there is at least hope that New England could return to their erstwhile status as the dominant team in the NFC East.

For now, the Jets sit atop the division standings, the division win over the Bills giving them the first tiebreaker against the Dolphins, with the Bills and Patriots, now both 0-1, bringing up the rear. That’s likely to change next week: Buffalo hosts the Las Vegas Raiders on Sunday — you’ve got to figure Allen and the Bills will play much better for the home crowd, going to 1-1 — while the Jets, now with the hapless Wilson as their starting QB, play at Dallas. Considering that the Cowboys opened their season by stomping the Giants 40-0, I’m going to bet the Jets will be 1-1 after their game Sunday. And in the prime time Sunday Night Football game, the Patriots will host the Dolphins, who beat the Chargers in a 36-34 shootout this past weekend. So either the Patriots win Sunday night, in which case every AFC East team is likely to have a 1-1 record, or Miami wins, in which case the Dolphins are likely to be alone atop the division at 2-0, while the Patriots sink into fourth place at 0-2.

Anyway, I just had to get this football stuff out of my system, and will shortly return to the (ultimately boring) topic of politics.



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