Jets vs Patriots: Questions with the enemy
For the upcoming Jets vs Patriots game, we here at The Jet Press were able to get an exclusive Q&A with Connor Fulton of Musket Fire about this huge Week 7 showdown.
I was able to sit down with my good friend Connor Fulton and really pick his brain about the upcoming Jets vs Patriots game this weekend. You can also read my Q&A with him over at their awesome site. Enjoy!
LTJ: What do you realistically expect Tom Brady to do against one of the top defenses of the NFL in the Jets?
CF: It all depends on how well the Patriots can run the ball early in the game. Establishing the ground game will keep that ferocious Gang Green pass rush at bay enough for Tom Brady to get his bearings under him and hit his primary targets. One perk of being 38 years old is you’ve pretty much seen anything and everything; while the Jets certainly have a top-three defense, Brady should have success hitting Julian Edelman on quick routes and Dion Lewis on swings out of the backfield. However, one downside about being 38 is the toll a game like this, against an elite front seven, could have on his body.
LTJ: Will this game come down to the wire or do you predict a blowout by the Patriots?
CF: Definitely not a blowout, I’ll start with that. The Jets have all the tools in their belt to make this a very close affair. I predict a back-and-forth first half characterized by more Ryan Allen punts than usual as a result of the Jets’ defense stuffing the Pats’ run game and forcing Brady to hit the second, third, or even fourth man in his progressions. That being said, I see this game as a real test of the Patriots’ ability to deal with adversity, and that’s when their winning caliber will endure. Expect the Jets to give the Patriots fits in the first half, possibly even carrying a lead into the third quarter. From there, LeGarrette Blount will finally get going and the Pats will prevail by no more than one score.
LTJ: Will the Patriots’ defense have any answers for running back Chris Ivory who is playing with so much purpose and aggression this season?
CF: Look, Ivory is going to rush for over 100 yards, no question. Running the ball is the focal point of the Jets’ offensive attack, and defending the run isn’t something this Patriots’ defense is amazingly good at by any means (they are tied for the third-worst in the league with 4.9 yards allowed per carry. Much of this question will be answered by the status of Dont’a HIghtower’s rib injury. If he is back in the lineup, Ivory will have a harder time carving-up the Pats’ defense, but if Hightower misses a second straight, game the Pats could be in for a long afternoon. For the Jets to win, however, Ryan Fitzpatrick will have to leverage the advantage provided by Ivory’s success on the ground.
Oct 18, 2015; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets running back Chris Ivory (33) carries the ball against the Washington Redskins during the third quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
LTJ: What does Patriots Nation think about new head coach Todd Bowles compared to ex-head coach Rex Ryan? Do you guys also notice a major change in philosophy?
CF: I can’t speak for everyone, but I’m impressed by Bowles retaining the defensive prowess from the Ryan regime while at the same time instilling his own points of emphasis. Any time a coach of a new team starts the season 4-1 is noteworthy, and Bowles deserves credit. He also earned points by dealing with the Geno Smith jaw situation swiftly and effectively. When the news of that debacle first broke, I for one thought the Jets of 2015 weren’t going to be much of a threat, but I’ve been proven wrong. To answer the second part of the question, I haven’t noticed a humongous chance in philosophy, as this team is more or less designed like the Ryan squads of recent years. The difference is Bowles’ team is much better at execution and follow-through.
LTJ: What kind of game plan do you see the Patriots launching against the Jets? Will they try to beat them through the air, on the ground or do a balanced attack?
CF: LeGarrette Blount has been steadily improving with each game this season, so I expect the Pats to trying getting him involved early. An effective Blount would force the Jets to re-work their own defensive schemes, putting them on their heels a bit. If Brady can use the play-action, the Patriots will be in a great position to cruise to victory. But seeing as how Blount will probably struggle to have much success against arguably the best run defending unit in the league, I see the Pats using Dion Lewis on swing passes, Julian Edelman on quick “now” routes and Danny Amendola in the screen game. In other words, those three guys will pick up the slack left by an ineffective rushing attack.
LTJ: Final score and MVP?
CF: Patriots 33, Jets 26. MVP will be Malcolm Butler, who will have the best game of his life thus far by shutting down Brandon Marshall. I’m looking for Butler to pick off multiple errant Ryan Fitzpatrick throws, and take one back for a touchdown. Butler’s play, and that pick-six in particular, will be the difference in this very competitive and heated AFC East battle. Thanks for having me on the site, Luis!
Next: NY Jets: Offense is starting to soar