Darelle Revis is out for the season and the New York Jests have an angry San Francisco team coming to town on Sunday: is this a recipe for disaster in the Big Apple?
This and other questions in this week's edition of Friday Football Questions for the NFL.
First, the Revis issue. Even with the all-world corner in place, New York was giving up an average of about 220 yards passing per game and that was including the opener against Buffalo where Ryan Fitzpatrick really struggled and game three against Miami which is, well, Miami. Sure, Revis has been a contributor in a number of ways, such as tackling (8 on the season), shutting down opposition receivers and creating turnovers (he's got an interception and a fumble recovery to his credit) but it's not like New York was dominating anybody's passing attack.
Third year pro Kyle Wilson from Boise State steps into the starting role and he'll be under the gun, facing any one of the four pretty good receivers the Niners can put out on the field: Michael Crabtree, Mario Manningham, Vernon Davis or Randy Moss. It seems to me to be a matter of pick your poison: Antonio Cromartie may be capable of shutting one of them down but will Wilson be able to provide anywhere close to the certainty Revis would provide on the other side of the field? I don't think so.
My second question to think about is related to the Bills. Are they for real?
They've won two in a row and now get the vulernable Patriots at home. You'll remember that Buffalo got its season off to a great start last year by upsetting New England in game one and it's possible to argue that the Bills are even better this year. The Bills' apparent strengths seem to play well against New England's weaknesses: a balanced offense featuring Ryan Fitzpatrick's quick release passing and the hard running of third string back Tashard Choice taking on a New England defense that is young but quick; and a suspect Patriot offensive line facing what should be one of the top D-lines in the league.
Kyle Williams leads that line with three sacks on the season but I wouldn't be surprised to see Mario Williams (1.5 sacks so far), Marcell Dareus (1.5) and Mark Anderson (1.0) have a big game if Tom Brady abandons the run early and tries to get the ball downfield.
I'm also interested to see how Seattle and Green Bay react to the debacle last Monday night. Will the Seahawks have a let down after their big, last-second, much-criticised win or will they take that criticism as fuel to fire them in their game against St. Louis?
Green Bay, meanwhile, has to feel like they're better than their 1-2 record shows and must be heading into their game against New Orleans in a feisty mood. Will they channel their frustration into positive play on the field or will they simply act out their anger in unproductive ways against a New Orleans club that is, if anything, even more desperate and frustrated than the Pack?
Speaking of which, how far away from Lambeau Field do you think NFL officials will stay this week, with both the Bounty-Gate, coachless Saints and the Replacement-Ref-Ripped-Off Packers (and their fans) in the same stadium? You gotta figure the ref for that game is going to get a warm, warm welcome.