The New York Jets go into tonight's game as double digit underdogs. They are reeling with 5 straight losses and the Pats appear to be on a roll. Nobody seems to give the Jets much of a chance in this one. But the recent history between these two teams suggests otherwise.
Let's take a look at just the 2012 and 2013 seasons. Why those seasons? Because those Jets teams had subpar talent roughly on a par with the underwhelming 2014 team.
People remember the 2012 season for the Buttfumble game, and rightly so. It was highly memorable, something you never thought you'd see in a football game. What is forgotten, however, is that with a team that would finish 6-10 and with one of the least talented rosters in the NFL the Jets took the New England Patriots into overtime in the other 2012 game before losing 29-26. On that mid October night almost exactly two years ago, already missing both Revis and Holmes, with Mark Sanchez throwing to the likes of Shonn Greene and Stephen Hill as his 3rd and 4th targets, the Jets took the Patriots to overtime. Lost in history is the fact that Sanchez actually threw for more yards than Brady that night, and the Jets outgained the Patriots on offense. It was a tight, hard fought loss despite the huge talent disparity between the teams.
In 2013 in Week 2, on a sloppy field like the one the Jets will face tonight, the Jets lost a 13-10 squeaker. Again, despite throwing to the likes of a crippled Holmes, an awful Stephen Hill and a legendary Clyde Gates, Geno Smith actually threw for more yards than Tom Brady, and the Jets offense outgained the Patriots offense by more than 100 yards. Another tight loss, but the Jets dominated that game and lost it on turnovers.
In Week 7 of the 2013 season, almost exactly one year ago, the Jets bested the Patriots in overtime 30-27. For the third time in four games the Jets QB passed for more yards than Tom Brady, this time with the star targets being Jeff Cumberland, David Nelson and Jeremy Kerley. The Jets outgained the Patriots by more than 90 yards in this game and again were the dominant team.
So there you have it. Four games, three decided by exactly three points, two decided in overtime. Shockingly the Jets outpassed and outgained the Patriots offense in three of the four games, despite throwing to a worse collection of receivers than the team fields now. Geno Smith has never been outpassed by Tom Brady head to head in his short career.
Two seasons, two Jets teams with poor talent similar to this year's team, four games, three in which the Jets outgained the Patriots, two in which the Jets dominated the Patriots (except in the final score), two overtime games, three games decided by three points each. And one Buttfumble fiasco. That's what these two teams, with talent disparities similar to this year, have done in recent history. So you can just take that double digit point spread and toss it out the window, because recent history says this game is a lot more likely to come down to the last possession than be a Patriots blowout. This may be the 1-5 Jets laughingstock vs. the 4-2 Patriots legend, but the 1-5 team stands a decent chance of waking up Friday morning with two wins under its belt.