The Pats give up 110 yards per game on the ground, which is in the middle of the pack. Two excellent run defenders on the line, Jarvis Green and Ty Warren are nursing injuries and are not certain to play. Don't be fooled, though. This is going to be a tough matchup. The Jets have to figure out how to handle Vince Wilfork. Wilfork has been almost impossible to block this year. Almost every week in this space, you see me talk about how important it will be for Nick Mangold to handle the other team's nose tackle. This week it's more pronounced than usual. Wilfork isn't a great pass rusher, but he can blow up opposing run games.
The Jets also need to focus their blocking schemes on Jerrod Mayo, the second year linebacker with 39 tackles in 6 games. He missed the first contest. New England has other quality run defenders at the linebacker position. Pierre Woods, a rotational player who had a big game in last year's visit to Foxborough, is one of them. So is Adalius Thomas. Woods could see a lot of time depending on Tully Banta-Cain's injury status. Inside linebackers Gary Guyton and Eric Alexander are both nursing injuries that could hamper their effectiveness and leave a lot on veteran Junior Seau. This might be something the Jets can exploit if Mangold can hold Wilfork in check.
New England's secondary is very good in run support. Shawn Springs' coverage skills are in decline, but he's been effective against the run. So has Leigh Bodden, New England's other corner and safeties Brandon Merriweather and Brandon McGowan. This is a game where Leon Washington's ability to make people miss may be missed.
We'll see eight men in the box a lot with the rookie quarterback as we do every week. If that doesn't work, we may see nine to try and force Mark Sanchez to win the game like we did in Week 2. The offensive line has a tough task winning these matchups.