Tom Brady vs. Mark Sanchez: By the numbers
Tom Brady, the NFL's No. 1 QB, and the New England Patriots take on the NY Jets, the No. 1 defense, with quarterback Mark Sanchez. Each team is battling to be the best in the AFC East. Who has the edge?
Brady currently has the highest passing rating (105.8 ) in the NFL. He hasn't thrown an interception since October. Sanchez (81.9 passing rating) shows up somewhere around No. 20 in NFL. Brady exceeds Sanchez on almost every other measure.
But the passing rating is a fairly narrow window, and arguably isn't the best way to judge a quarterback's success in the NFL.
If you look at total passing yardage, Brady and Sanchez are not so far apart. Brady's at No. 12 among NFL field generals, and Sanchez at No. 18.
May be the Patriots do a better job of protecting their passer? Yes, but not by much. Sanchez has been sacked 19 times, and Brady 15 times.
There's no question that in professional football today, it's all about The Arm. But, in Monday night's game, is Brady likely to be the winning difference for the Pats or will other factors be more important? And if you believe that the Patriots can beat the Jets, are they good enough to win the Super Bowl?
Coldhardfootballfacts.com makes a compelling argument that the Patriots have a fatal flaw: pass defense.
Yes, at this point, they've got one of the best win-loss records in the NFL. But New England also has one of the worst pass defenses in the league, and in the team's history.
Out of 32 teams, the Patriots now rank 25th in the Defensive Passer Rating. They're last in the league in stopping pass completions.
In comparing this team with all other Patriots passing defenses, "only one team in a half century of football was worse than the current club: the 1972 Patriots. And they went 3-11," notes coldhardfootballfacts.com.
In other words, Bill Belichick, the coach who built his reputation on being a "defensive genius" is now winning games almost completely based on offense.
But if you're Mark Sanchez, you don't have to be Tom Brady to beat the Patriots. You just have to be good enough to pick apart the Pats' secondary.
Meanwhile, Tom Brady is looking at one of the best defensive secondaries in the NFL – with Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie anchoring the Jets' corners. The Jets are the best in the NFL when it comes to limiting the yardage of their opponents. The last time they met, in September, the Jets beat the Patriots 28-14.
Are the Jets still the better team? What do you think will be the winning difference?