Jets TakeOff! Week 12 Preview: New York Jets vs. New England Patriots


Oct 21, 2012; Foxboro, Massachusetts, USA; New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez (6) congratulates New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) after being defeated 29-26 in the first overtime quarter at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-US PRESSWIRE

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.


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.

November 18, 2012; St. Louis, MO, USA; New York Jets running back Bilal Powell (29) scores on an 11 yard touchdown run against the St. Louis Rams during the second half at the Edward Jones Dome. The Jets defeated the Rams 27-13. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-US PRESSWIRE


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.

November 18, 2012; St. Louis, MO, USA; New York Jets defensive back Ellis Lankster (26) defends against St. Louis Rams quarterback Sam Bradford (8) during the second half at the Edward Jones Dome. The Jets defeated the Rams 27-13. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-US PRESSWIRE


As mentioned earlier, Rob Gronkowski is out for tonight’s game, a huge break for the New York Jets. He has scored 4 touchdowns in the last two games against the Jets. Aaron Hernandez likely will play, but even if he does, he is likely to not be at 100%. The outside wide receivers aren’t the scariest in the league, so that leaves one major weapon, Wes Welker.

Reports have indicated that Ellis Lankster has drawn the assignment of covering Wes Welker. They are the same height, 5’9″. Welker makes his living by finding open spots down the seam and over the middle and breaking off yards after the catch. Lankster is going to have to be physical, knock Wes off his route, and limit his damage on the evening. Combine that with the linebackers and safeties getting physical with the tight ends, and the Jets have a chance by making Brady work to the outsid of the hashmarks.

November 18, 2012; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Rams quarterback Sam Bradford (8) has the ball striped as he throws by New York Jets defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson (96) during the first half at the Edward Jones Dome. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-US PRESSWIRE


Mo Wilkerson needs another huge game tonight. He has finally started to show his potential, forcing a fumble in each of the last two games. He looked like a force to be reckoned with when executing the strip sack on Sam Bradford last week. Wilkerson need to get in Brady’s face early and often. Tom, like any other quarterback, is at his least effective when pressure is in his face. We have seen the Jets win with pressure on the quarterback. Do it, and the Jets will have a real shot tonight


We have seen, all too often lately, what poor special teams play can do. Last time these two teams met, the momentum of the entire football game changed when the Jets allowed Devin McCourty to run back a 104 yard kickoff return for a TD. We have seen blocked field goals, blocked punts, and dropped punts. The Jets special teams unit has been pathetic of late, making some wonder if Mike Westhoff should retire now. Not entertaining THAT discussion, the Jets need to get back to making special teams an advantage of theirs. It could be a single return that can make the difference between a win or a loss.

Here are your keys to the game. Enjoy your families, and enjoy the game tonight.