It’s a big one, and we are finally almost there. Round 2, Jets vs. Patriots. The Patriots lead the division with a 7-3 record, coming off of last week’s handling of the Colts, 59-24. The game did have it’s casualty, as the Patriots lost Rob Gronkowski on the last extra point of the game. The Jets come into the game 4-6, holding on to slim playoff hopes after beating the Rams 27-13. Let’s check the record between these two teams overall:
In fact, one month ago, the Patriots took a one game lead in the series, with a record of 52-51-1. We know the result of the last game, so, last time these two teams played at MetLife, the Patriots beat the Jets 37-16, on the back of three Tom Brady TD passes, two of them to Rob Gronkowski. “The Gronk” will not be available tonight which is huge, but all signs are pointing towards a return for Aaron Hernandez, so the Jets are far from out of the woods. Here are some keys to victory.
MISTAKE FREE ON OFFENSE
As coach Ryan said earlier in the week, the Patriots are great at getting after the football. For all of the weaknesses on defense that the Patriots do have, especially through the air, they are excellent at causing turnovers. You never want to turn the football over at all, but if there was ever a guy you want to turn it over to even less, it’s Tom Brady. The Jets will not be able to keep up with New England if they turn the football over.
What does that mean, most importantly? We need a mistake free game out of Mr. Mark Sanchez. We have seen him play some of his best football against the New England Patriots. We have also seen him make grave mistakes, like on the final play of the OT in the previous meeting, for example. We all know about his bad decision making at times. The Patriots will not let him get away with any mistakes. The Jets have no shot tonight if Mark is not on point.
STICK WITH THE GROUND GAME, ATTACK THROUGH THE AIR
Here is a guy that had a bounce in his step last week. Powell looked as fresh and sharp as ever in putting up his two touchdowns against the Rams. Shonn Greene still led the way with 18 carries, and even Joe McKnight got into the fray. As we have said before, the Jets don’t have a guy that can go for 25-30 carries per game and be effective. Joe McKnight is too small, Bilal Powell hasn’t shown us enough yet, and Shonn Greene has, just enough to show us he can’t handle a full game. But, this group is a case of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts. They have to use these three guys, and stick with it. Even if the Jets fall down by 7-10, they cannot abandon the running game. If the Jets get in a shootout with the Patriots, we all know how that will turn out.
That being said, the Patriots defense is vulnerable against the pass. This is the 30th ranked defense against the pass. This secondary is weak, as a group. Now, am I saying that Mark Sanchez should be looking at 35-45 pass attempts tonight? I hope not. I don’t think we have much chance of winning if we do. However, what I AM saying is that the Jets must attack this secondary. They are bad on the back end, the Jets cannot “dink and dunk” them.