Jets vs Patriots: Top 3 keys to victory for New York
Dec 21, 2014; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) throws a pass against the New York Jets during the game at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports
The Jets vs Patriots game today promises to be a showdown between two of the top teams in the AFC East. These are the top 3 keys Gang Green needs to follow if they plan to leave this Week 7 game victorious.
Who would’ve thought that the NY Jets would be sitting at 4-1 through the first six weeks? After a dismal 2014 campaign, Gang Green has made huge strides to begin the new year and seems to have finally pulled themselves out of rebuilding mode. The defense is looking as great as it has since 2010 and the offense has been a pleasant surprise too. This week, they’ll take on the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium for the division lead, yes, the division lead.
Coming into this game, the Jets are looking like one of the better teams in the AFC. Last week, New York put the hammer down on the Washington Redskins in a game where the score doesn’t tell the full story. Ryan Fitzpatrick and the offense dropped 34 points while the defense remained stifling as well. If it weren’t for fumbles and a special teams lapse at the end of the game, the Jets could’ve pitched a shutout. A performance like that will certainly give a team the confidence they need heading into the toughest matchup of the season.
The Patriots on the other hand are firing on all cylinders. Comparisons are already being made between this year’s team and the 2007 team that almost went undefeated, so expectations are high in Foxboro. Last Sunday night, they continued their dominance over the Indianapolis Colts sending themselves to 5-0. Right now, seems as if the Patriots have a huge chip on their shoulder after the DeflateGate scandal and they’re ready to make another Super Bowl run.
The defending champions are the best team in the league at the moment, but New York’s defense can keep them in almost any contest. A total of 15 takeaways thus far is very impressive compared to last year’s 13, although that number may not change against a quarterback like Tom Brady. Every time the Jets travel to Foxboro, they fall just short, so head coach Todd Bowles will look to start a winning tradition this season.
Here are top 3 keys Gang Green must to do to pull off the upset.
Next: 3. Run the football
Oct 18, 2015; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets running back Chris Ivory (33) carries the ball against the Washington Redskins during the first quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
3. Run the football
The main reason why New York needs to run the football is because it’s working very well. Running back Chris Ivory has averaged 115 rushing yards per game which is a league-high. Carrying the ball at 5.5 yards per clip, Ivory has given the Jets a presence in the backfield that hasn’t been there since the Thomas Jones days. With Bilal Powell’s ankle injury keeping him sidelined, Zac Stacy will see an increased role in the offense. Ivory will get the bulk of the touches, but Stacy can do a lot of damage as well.
In the preseason, many expected Stacy to play a decent role in offensive coordinator Chan Gailey’s system. He didn’t run the ball well, carrying the ball 44 times for 154 yards, but he was a factor in the passing game catching seven passes for 79 yards and 2 touchdowns. Fortunately, the Patriots struggle against backs like Stacy. They were gashed in the season-opener vs. the Pittsburgh Steelers by DeAngelo Williams and LeSean McCoy of the Buffalo Bills the following week. Although, the Jets’ ability to control the clock can become a deciding factor in this matchup.
Controlling the clock and running the football work hand in hand. It’s impossible to win the time of possession battle if you can’t establish a ground game from the start. The teams that beat the Patriots keep Brady off the field. As good as the Jets’ defense has been, Brady is still the best quarterback to ever play the game. New England will find ways to move the ball downfield, so Gang Green will have to do the same but chew at the clock in the process. That can be done if the offense can effectively run the ball.
Next: 2. Pressure Tom Brady
Dec 21, 2014; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) is sacked by New York Jets linebacker Quinton Coples (98) during the first quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
2. Pressure Tom Brady
Pressuring Brady is the biggest key in the Jets getting a win because when he’s pressured, he becomes a completely different quarterback. According to Pro Football Focus, Brady only has a throw accuracy rating of 68.3% when under pressure. That ranks him 11th in the league in that department. On top of that, he’s also sacked 22.8% of the time he’s pressured, according to PFF. Stats like those don’t make your offensive line look good either, so New York has the crack at a field day in terms of rushing the quarterback.
The Patriots’ offensive line is by no means a strength of their team. Center David Andrews (-3.3), guards Shaquille Mason (-6.0) and Tre’ Jackson (-0.6) as well as tackles Marcus Cannon (-3.8) and Nate Solder (-2.4) all have negative overall grades on PFF. Cannon and Jackson may not be starters, however they both have logged over 150 snaps thus far therefore they play quite a bit. On the other hand, penalties on the offensive line have surprisingly not been a concern for New England, but the Jets’ defensive front can certainly draw a few calls this week.
This Jets’ defensive front is without a doubt the unit that can completely rip apart the Patriots’ offensive line. Sheldon Richardson had a great season debut last Sunday, Muhammad Wilkerson has been killing it, and PFF is already labeling Leonard Williams’ start as one of the greatest by a rookie ever. If Quinton Coples can get involved and Buster Skrine can continue to be effective as a pass rusher, then applying pressure on Brady will not be difficult at all. Coach Bowles just needs to stick with what’s been working these past few weeks.
Next: 1. Contain Rob Gronkowski
Sep 10, 2015; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski (87) high fives the end zone militia following a win over the Pittsburgh Steelers at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports
1. Contain Rob Gronkowski
There are many different things the Jets can do to try to contain Gronkowski. They could put Darrelle Revis on him, Marcus Gilchrist, Antonio Cromartie or they can use a combination of two and double team him. Regardless, you aren’t going to stop him, you can only hope to contain him. Gronkowski has simply been an animal whenever he is healthy. Ever since he joined the league in 2010, he was a top five tight end (overall grade wise) on PFF. In three out of the six years, he was ranked the best tight end in the league.
To begin 2015, he’s already putting up stunning numbers. So far, he has 198 YAC and he leads all tight ends with 425 yards. According to PFF, he’s actually the best run blocker in the league as well with a +5.8 grade. The closest tight end near that number is Tyler Eifert of the Cincinnati Bengals with a +3.4. His grade as a pass catcher is no different. He has a +9.6 and the guy right behind him is fittingly Eifert with a +8.2. It’s honestly pretty incredible how Gronkowski has consistently dominated the NFL at this rate the past six years.
The best option for the Jets would be to have either Demario Davis or David Harris cover him man-to-man with Gilchrist close by with over the top help. Covering him with a linebacker on his shorter routes can save a lot of first downs and prevent broken tackles that normally result in big plays for him. Although, in the redzone, things may be different. Expect Revis to cover Gronkowski any time New England gets inside the 10-yard line to take the deadly fade route out of the equation. Nonetheless, this is the matchup that everyone has been waiting for and wondering what coach Bowles will do to stop Gronk.
Next: Jets vs Patriots: Injury status report