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Take Solace, Jets: The Patriots Aren't Having Much Fun Either

The Jets' top competition falls on hard times

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    There have been better months for the Jets than the August that just wrapped up. From the Darrelle Revis holdout to Calvin Pace's injury to Mark Sanchez's flailing, there were plenty of things to make you think that the bold predictions of division titles and beyond were destined to wind up in the rubbish next to your "Blair Thomas is my Co-Pilot" t-shirt.

    Sports Illustrated still thinks they've got the horses for the courses -- in the AFC East, at least, as the Steelers are their conference choice -- and they still think Sanchez is worth a spot on the cover, even with his dreamy good looks obscured by a helmet. Too bullish? Time will tell, obviously, but it's not like there's been much to like about their top competition for the divisional crown.

    The Patriots placed cornerback Leigh Bodden on injured reserve Tuesday, a move that no one saw coming but that everyone who plays, coaches or roots for the Jets should greet with a grin. Bodden is a very good corner, not on the Revis level but perhaps more important to the Patriots because the team was terrible in pass coverage even when he was in the lineup. Now they're left with rookie Devin McCourty and second-year man Darius Butler at corner unless they go dumpster diving after other teams pare down their rosters.

    Bodden isn't the only missing man. Starting defensive end Ty Warren will also miss the entire season, a major blow to the Patriots pass rush. The combined effect of a diminished rush and weak coverage could be disastrous for a Patriots defense that has little to none of the identity forged by their repeated visits to the Super Bowl. On offense, the team is missing two offensive linemen. Right tackle Nick Kaczur is injured and could miss the season while left guard Logan Mankins is holding out and likely smiling about the havoc he's wreaking on such a crucial unit.

    And then there's Brandon Spikes. The rookie linebacker has been outed as the starring player in an explicit sex tape that hit the internet earlier this week. The NFL is investigating, although we can't imagine this will have any impact on the Pats unless the lady who shares the screen with Spikes is involved with one of his teammates. In this summer of "Hard Knocks," it's just nice to see another team stumble its way into on-screen notoriety. Given his prudish take on language, we can't wait to hear what Tony Dungy to weigh in on this behavior.

    None of this means all that much if the Jets can't put things together on their own end once the season gets underway, but it is a nice reminder that they aren't the only team with a Charlie Brownish cloud raining on their heads.

    Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City and is a contributor to FanHouse.com and ProFootballTalk.com in addition to his duties for NBCNewYork.com. You can follow him on Twitter.

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