As the 2017-18 NFL regular season rolls towards being more than a third finished, very few people would have thought the Patriots and Jets would have the same record. The Patriots have surprised fans by not performing as well as envisioned, and the Jets have had an adverse effect. Coming into the season, a few expressed unwarranted confidence that the Patriots would finish the regular season undefeated. The Jets, on the other hand, were prophesied to finish with three wins if lucky. Yet here we are in a season that has already exceeded fans’ expectations in upsets.
The Patriots’ losses have come from the red-hot Chiefs and the Panthers, who rarely show up on the schedule. These losses have proved to be a learning experience for the team and the coaching staff. The Jets began their season with two consecutive losses to the stingy defense of the Bills and the Raiders. Since then, the Jets have picked up three wins against the Dolphins, Jaguars, and Browns. Though the Jets have defied their odds so far, the Patriots have had little struggle against them in recent years. Tom Brady has only dropped seven games out of thirty against the Jets since 2001.
Stopping the Jets on Defense
New York offensively bullies their way down the field through the run game. Bilal Powell either runs the offense, or sits quietly in any given week. He is questionable for Sunday, but if he does play, expect the Jets to primarily run the ball. Josh McCown has done a considerable job incorporating the pass into the Jets’ offense. Jermaine Kearse, picked up by the Jets early in the season, and who almost broke the hearts of every Patriots fan in Super Bowl 49, has shown to be McCown’s favorite receiver. The Jets do not have many offensive weapons, but they have gotten by with Robby Anderson, Austin Seferian-Jenkins, and Kearse.
The Patriots could possibly bring pressure to Josh McCown up the middle from Alan Branch and Trey Flowers. McCown tends to throw down the middle with medium passes– Dont’a Hightower and Devin McCourty will be important.
Rolling on Offense
With Mo Wilkerson also questionable this week, the Patriots offensive line can take a breather in the event of his absence. The o-line has let up too many hits on Tom Brady, to the point where last week he injured his non-throwing shoulder. Though Brady will start this week, it is imperative that the offensive line protects him well to avoid injury to that throwing shoulder. The Patriots can open up the run game this week with Mike Gillislee and Dion Lewis to add options. Expect Danny Amendola to be a viable option this week for Brady at medium range. Rob Gronkowskl returns from injury this week as well– a big addition for the offense.