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New York Jets Must Survive Initial Surge Against New England Patriots

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Going on the road in a big game is a difficult task. The home crowd comes up fired up from the start and inspires the home team to come out with a ton of intensity. It doesn't really stop until the visiting team does something to break the momentum. One could argue it never ended when the Jets went up to Foxborough Week 13.

The game was really lost in the first quarter. The Pats put together a decent drive to start the game and ended up with a field goal. It wasn't a great start for the Jets, but it wasn't a catastrophe either. Then Gang Green started shooting itself in the foot. On New York's first offensive series, a drive stalled in New England's territory. Instead of kicking and pinning the Pats deep, Rex Ryan made the inexplicable decision to send Nick Folk, at that point really struggling, out to try a 53 yard field goal on a bitterly cold New England night. Folk predictably missed badly, setting up the Pats with a short field. Momentum was really starting to build. The Pats marched down the field in under 3:00 for a touchdown. The next series was a three and out. Steve Weatherford shanked a 12 yard punt, giving the Pats the ball at New York's 32. Four plays later New England scored a touchdown. It was 17-0. The game was over.

The Jets do not need to come out and take an immediate 14-0 lead. They must, however, put together some decent drives to get the crowd to settle down and prevent the Pats from striking quickly. They also cannot commit unforced errors like they did in that game. They need to calm things down. This is as much to temper the momentum for New England as it is to give them confidence in themselves. After what happened in the last trip to Foxborough, a bad start might give the team a feeling of, "Here we go again," and make people start pressing and making mistakes by trying to do too much. The game cannot be won in the first quarter, but if can be lost.