It’s that time again. The Jets head up to Foxboro to take on the New England Patriots tomorrow afternoon, with first place in the AFC East on the line. The Jets come in with a great deal of confidence, coming off of the total thrashing of the Colts last week, 35-9, at Met Life Stadium. The Patriots will not be in a good mood on Sunday, coming off of their last minute defeat at the hands of the Seattle Seahawks. Let’s take a look at the history between these two teams.
The series is dead even, at 51-51-1. The Patriots have won 14 of the last 18, including a sweep of the season series in 2011. The Jets last victory against the Patriots was a memorable one, the divisional playoffs in 2010, which we relived earlier this week.
Here are some keys for the Jets to have a shot:
STOP THE RUN
This is a different Patriots team than we have faced in the past. They are averaging 445 yards per game, an NFL best, which is nothing new. What is new, however, is that the Patriots are 4th in the league in RUSHING! Rushing! It’s not enough that they have the great Tom Brady, now they have a rushing attack too? It almost seems not fair, but that is what the Jets are up against.
Stevan Ridley is leading the team with 524 yards rushing, averaging 4.4 yards per carry. If Brandon Bolden is healthy enough to go on Sunday, he makes a great one-two punch for the Patriots, averaging 5.4 yards per carry. The Jets have “moved up” to 28th in the league in defense against the run. It’s been a new Jets defense, 28th in the league against the rush, 6th against the pass. It will be a new gameplan for New England this week, expect a heavy dose of the run, and the Jets will have to stop it.
CONTROL THE CLOCK
No team, except maybe the Saints, is going to win a shootout against the New England Patriots. They have just too many weapons, and will eventually wear their opponents down and win the ball game by the end. The Jets are going to have to keep this game under 24 points, and that means control the clock.
It’s an interesting situation, because controlling the clock involves running the football, but the Patriots are terrible against the pass. They are ranked 28th in pass defense, which shows how vulnerable they are. Mark Sanchez has played well against New England, with 5 TDs and 0 INTs, a 116.5 rating, in the last two matchups. Shonn Greene had a career day last week, with 161 yards and 3 TDs. The running game is going well, and will be essential on Sunday. The offense will have to be on point on both sides of the football, and win the time of possession battle.