The New York Jets try to take over first place in the AFC East and even the season series with the New England Patriots when they go on the road to Foxborough, Massachusetts to face the Patriots this week. Previewing this matchup, Taylor Kyles of Pats Pulpit was kind enough to answer a few questions regarding the 2022 Patriots.
Check out the Q&A below, and be sure to check out DraftKings Sportsbook for all your betting needs this season.
1. One of the reasons the Patriots were so dominant during their dynasty years was they were at or near the top of the league in turnover differential year after year. This year the Patriots are once again near the top of the league in defensive turnovers with 17, but they are near the bottom of the league in offensive turnovers, also with 17, for a zero turnover differential. The Patriots have had at least one offensive turnover in every game this season. Why do you think the Patriots have deteriorated so much in offensive turnovers, and should we expect that to change the rest of this season?
For most of the season, Mac Jones was the main reason for the Patriots’ turnover issue. He’d thrown an interception in every game heading into Week 9 and typically had at least one other turnover-worthy play that didn’t show up in the stat sheet. The Patriots’ most recent game against the Colts was Jones’ first without a turnover, but wide receivers Jakobi Meyers and Kendrick Bourne both fumbled the football. I’m sure correcting this issue was a major area of emphasis during the bye week, but we’ll see if that translates to the field.
2. The Patriots have really struggled on offense recently. They haven’t gained 300 yards on offense since week 6 of this season. Why do you think the Patriots have struggled so much offensively, and should we expect that to change soon?
Unfortunately, there’s a lot to unpack concerning the Patriots’ offensive issues.
New England wants to be a team that can run on anyone, but David Andrews missing two games has significantly impacted their effectiveness on the ground. Their production in the run game has largely come from Rhamondre Stevenson making defenders miss at or behind the line of scrimmage, which is obviously not a recipe for success.
The passing game has been plagued by multiple factors. The offensive line has dealt with instability due to Andrews’ absence, poor execution from rookie Cole Strange (specifically due to his habit of shooting both hands when punching), and three different players manning the right tackle spot in recent weeks. There have also been schematic issues stemming from a lack of synchronicity between drops and routes, as well as poor spacing between receivers leading to impossible throwing windows.
The Patriots seem to be aware of these issues and addressed them during the bye week, but we’ll see if these issues are actually resolved.
3. The Patriots have had Zach Wilson’s number so far in Wilson’s young career. Though Wilson has had his struggles in general, he has been at his absolute worst against the Patriots. We know the Patriots have a great defense, but Wilson has faced other great defenses without struggling to such an extent. What specifically are the Patriots doing that gives Wilson so much trouble?
Frankly, it’s hard to pin down considering most of Wilson’s turnovers against New England have been a result of flat-out poor decision-making. That said, the Patriots’ heavy use of man coverage has given Wilson a lot of issues. Jets receivers haven’t been able to create consistent separation, which has exacerbated Wilson’s inconsistent accuracy and subpar anticipation.
New England also doesn’t seem to fear Wilson outside of the pocket, as their game plans have focused largely on disrupting the pocket without a huge emphasis on keeping him hemmed in.
4. What worked against the Jets last game and what didn’t work for the Patriots? What worked for the Jets against the Patriots last game and what didn’t work, and what do you expect to go differently in the rematch?
The Jets had a great plan last time around that I don’t expect to change much. New York’s defense was nearly flawless, while better execution and fewer turnovers from Zach Wilson should keep the game competitive.
The Patriots had almost no success going downfield against the Jets in Week 8, which they tried doing too often in my opinion. They were only able to move the ball on quick, short throws against the Jets’ zone coverages. I’d expect more of an emphasis on these types of passes in Round 2.
Defensively, the Patriots’ pass rush plan of making Wilson uncomfortable in the pocket was an effective one I anticipate we’ll see again.
5. If you were a betting man, which team would you pick to win this game?
Hard to pick against the Patriots considering their home-field advantage and recent history against the Jets. That said, the Jets are a talented team that won’t make it easy for New England. If Zach Wilson plays clean football and New York’s defense can shut down the Patriots’ run game, I could see a potential upset happening in Foxborough.