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Jets vs. Patriots: Middle Pressure Is Key

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Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Any studio analyst well-versed in cliches will tell you that a team needs its best players to step up in big games. In Sunday's game, there will be a lot on the Jets' stars, namely Sheldon Richardson, Muhammad Wilkerson, and Leonard Williams. Their ability to collapse the pocket around Tom Brady will play a big role in whether Brady can get comfortable.

One of the things Brady is great at doing is stepping up in the pocket. Can edge pressure make an impact? Sure, but Brady is adept at stepping up when the interior linemen are not collapsing the pocket.

This particular play went for 24 yards. You can see how Brady has stepped up and is over one yard further down the field when he makes his throw because of the space in the pocket. This is where interior linemen come into play. It is one of the biggest strengths of the Jets team.

Generating pressure up the middle drives Brady's linemen into his face and decrease his ability to see the field. He is also less effective when middle pressure forces him to move laterally.

The Patriots provide problems for the Jets, but this is one matchup that might favor New York on paper. The interior line of New England is unproven. A big game would be a great way for Sheldon Richardson to get himself back into the good graces of this fanbase.