EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Almost across the board, the Patriots have the talent edge over the Jets. The one area where the 3-7 hosts of Sunday's matchup at MetLife are particularly imposing, though? Their defensive line.
"This front four is as good as we're gonna see all year," Bill Belichick told host Scott Zolak on Patriots All-Access this week.
In his second season, Belichick has already placed Jets earth-mover Leonard Williams in the same category as some of the best defensive linemen in the league. That the Patriots coach considers Williams the best on a team that includes Muhammad Wilkerson and Sheldon Richardson speaks volumes.
During one clip that Patriots All-Access showed exhibiting Williams' dominance up front, Belichick noted, "Kind of going back to the old Buddy Ryan philosophy of putting your best player, Williams, isolated on the center and giving him a little bit of a two-way go here. Just hard to block. A lot of negative plays."
Earlier this week, Belichick compared Williams' length and versatility along the line of scrimmage to former Patriots stud Richard Seymour. That's pretty high praise considering Seymour should be fitted for a red Patriots Hall of Fame jacket in the near future and could potentially find himself adding a gold one to his collection down the line.
The Jets caught some criticism two years ago when selecting Williams with the fifth overall pick because they already had two Pro Bowl caliber players up front in Wilkerson and Richardson, but Belichick credited his rival front office with their strategy back then because, in his mind, it's panned out.
"They had great defensive linemen," Belichick said, "[and] felt like he was the best player on the board two years ago when they drafted."
And now Belichick's forced to deal with a three-headed monster in the trenches that may be better than any other they see this season.