Since 2001, the New England Patriots are 60-10 against the rest of the league in Foxboro. They are 6-4 against the Jets. Last year, we saw the Patriots annihilate the Jets 45-3 on a Monday night in December, only to turn around and watch the Jets confuse Brady in the playoffs enough to reverse the result, 28-21.
The Patriots are coming in with the best offense in the NFL, a challenge that Rex Ryan takes personally. The defense, on the other hand, is giving up yards in bunches, but is getting quality cover corner play from Vince Wilfork. The Jets are a week removed from an absolute offensive disaster at Baltimore, and now the Jets’ receivers are questioning Brian Schottenheimer’s scheme. The offensive line without Mangold couldn’t block anything, though the Patriots do not have the pass rushing threats from the outside of Baltimore, and Mangold is expected to start–a positive with Wilfork on the other side.
The Jets have struggled running the ball, and have gotten inconsistent production out of the passing game. The defense played really well against Baltimore, though it was overshadowed by the play on the other side, and dominated Jacksonville. The run defense had one really bad game (Raiders) and otherwise has been pretty good. The pass defense is 7th in net yards per attempt allowed, and is the best defense this Patriots offense has played so far.
Literally nothing would surprise me here. The Jets play well in Foxboro (with last December being a very notable exception) and it probably depends on whether the Jets survive any early onslaught from the Patriots. Stay close, frustrate Brady, and keep the offense diverse and unpredictable, and out of obvious situations with Sanchez, and the Jets have a chance. Fall behind in early drives and go three and out, and it could get out of control again.
[photo via Getty]