@ -- Sunday, Oct. 9th, 4:15 p.m. EST
Location: Gillette Stadium Foxborough, MA.
Coverage: CBS. Direct TV 714. Sirius XM 93.
Who is favored? Patriots by 8 points.
Record: This will be the 104th meeting between the two franchises. Jets lead the all time series by one game, 52-51-1.
What happened last time? I'm sure you remember, but Gang Green knocked the Pats out of the playoffs, 28-21.
Bill Belichick has a career record of 16-10 against the Jets.
Wes Welker is the current leading receiver in the entire NFL.
Jets Out: Garrett McIntyre (LB) Concussion. Questionable: (C) Ankle.(WR) Wrist,
Patriots Doubtful: Julian Edelman (WR) Ankle, Jerod Mayo (LB) Knee, Sebastian Vollmer (T) Back, Danny Woodhead (RB) Ankle. Questionable: Josh Barrett (S) Thumb, Leigh Bodden (CB) Groin, Ras-I Dowling (CB) Hip, Albert Haynseworth (DT) Back, Aaron Hernandez (TE) Knee, Kyle Love (DT) Ankle, Mike Wright (DE) Concussion.
Offense: The Jets sit at 16th in passing and 26th in rushing, which is an improvement over the last few weeks. Patriots are 1st in passing and 8th in rushing.
Defense: The Jets are 2nd in pass defense and 26th in rushing defense. The Patriots are 29th against the pass and 18th against the rush.
There is never a need for an underlying storyline or some sort of motivation in this rivalry. Every year at least twice a season the Jets and Patriots fans are reminded just how much they hate each others teams. The Jets lead in the all time series is paper thin. The top passing offense in the league will clash with one of the top ranked secondaries, and a Jets offense struggling to find its identity will face one of the worst defenses in the NFL. Rex Ryan says Bill Belichick may be the best coach in the history of the game, but he's going to "take a swipe at him".
I'll do a full breakdown after the jump.
Injury woes make for a more favorable matchup.
We've all been anxiously following the status of Nick Mangold, as well as trying to figure how to fill the void left by Bryan Thomas. This may distract us from the players that we won't have to face on Sunday.
Jerod Mayo is far and away the most significant loss for the Patriots. Mayo's absence will hurt a defense that has been struggling straight along even with him. Woodhead and Edelman are hardly important to the Patriots offense, but the less weapons for Brady the better. 6 of the Patriots defensive players have been limited in practice this week and are questionable, 3 on the line and 3 in the secondary. I imagine all of them will play, being how big this game is. Still, it's hard to ignore that the already porous Patriots defense will be banged up for our game.
Nick Mangold will play.
And not a moment too soon. Word is that the Pats will target our offensive line and attempt to disrupt the backfield and bring Sanchez down. There is still the major issue of Wayne Hunter and what to do at that position, but things will be far more cohesive on the line with Mangold back at Center.
Last week our passer barely had a full second to react on many downs. This has been a problem all season. If the offensive line cannot protect Sanchez for 2-3 seconds on some downs in order for him to scan the field and get rid of the ball, then he really does not have much of a chance at success. The return of Mangold should help us to determine whether or not we can pass against a typically very accomodating Pats defense.
Chung does SO much in terms of cleanup duty and tackling for his team both in the secondary and closer to the line of scrimmage that it really makes the rest of the defense surrounding him look incompetent. To be fair, a lot of the defense surrounding Chung IS incompetent. A lot of Jets fans, and even some Pats fans don't think very much of his ability, but Chung largely has been the identity of a secondary that has been far less than 100% lately.
If protection can be maintained up front, there should be no lack of inferior corners to exploit mismatches off of. It would be advisable to throw away from Chung. While Patrick may not really be a ball hawk, larger gains will be made by rushers and receivers when he is on the other side of the field.
Jets X-Factor: Mark Sanchez
It's not so much that the Jets won't be in a position to rush this week as the fact that the Patriots are a very favorable matchup for any quarterback, let alone one with Mark's weapons. The rushing game isn't doomed and it would be wise to keep the Pats honest with some runs, but largely speaking this is a team that you beat through the air. I realize what a tall order that sounds like, but Tom Brady hasn't been mistake-free this year, and he would have a hard time keeping pace against the 2nd ranked pass defense if Sanchez exploits the Pats bottom-5 defense.
If the Patriots elect to test the Jets offensive line, there should be wide open options to Santonio Holmes on quick slants and Dustin Keller when coverage on receivers is tight. Check downs and passes to receivers from the backfield could be very effective against a team that struggles to contain offensive opponents.
I hate to say it again, but this game will fall on the shoulders of Mark Sanchez. There have been total team wide meltdowns both against the Pats and other teams in recent years, but I think the Jets defense will gave Mark ample oppotunities to test his mettle. If protection can hold up, and that's a mighty big if, Sanchez could have a huge game.
I truly believe Mark is capable of winning this game for us, but he will only do so if he does not hold on to the ball so long, and he exploits mismatches in the secondary and delivers the ball (accurately) to Santonio Holmes on critical downs.
Matchup to watch this week: Darrelle Revis (and whoever else) v.s. Wes Welker
Revis has consistently neutralized every receiver he has faced so far this year. News that Revis will be covering NE standout Welker has been well received by some and not so much by other Jets fans. Some feel it is a poor match. My personal feeling is that Revis' talent is to take a teams best receiver out of a game, and Welker is the Patriots best receiver, so this move makes sense. It's not like Revis will be stuck on Welker, so we can make adjustments if need be.
Revis typically works on the outside and covers the slot only occasionally, and the best cornerback is facing who is so far the best receiver this year, so it would be rather negligent of me not to call this the matchup of the week. Jets are 2nd in passing defense and Patriots are 1st in passing offense. I'd say there is no greater matchup in all of week 5 action.
Potential Jets MVP: Plaxico Burress.
Burress has 6 touchdowns in 4 games against the Patriots. Santonio Holmes and Dustin Keller are handfuls and are sure to receive extra attention from a Pats passing defense that is already overwhelmed by most of the teams they face. Plaxico is in ideal position for a breakout game.
Burress' most famous action not including a gunshot wound came against the Patriots in the super bowl. Precedent is hardly reason to expect future results, but I think Plaxico is ripe for a good game and his motivation will be high. If he can get separation, it's unlikely that this defense can stop him from scoring at will.
Prediction: Jets 35 Patriots 28
I've had a way of embarassing myself recently, why stop now? This is the last time I will probably be such a homer this season, but I really feel that the Jets have a favorable matchup here provided that the secondary holds up and Sanchez can thread the needle against a bad defense. I expect a high scoring game either way. Feel free to post your own predictions below.