For the Week 12 Patriots vs Jets matchup, here are the top three keys to victory for Gang Green to leave this game with some kind of pride.
Dec 27, 2015; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets wide receiver Quincy Enunwa (81) runs the ball during overtime against New England Patriots cornerback Leonard Johnson (34) at MetLife Stadium. New York Jets defeat the New England Patriots 26-20 in OT. Mandatory Credit: Jim O’Connor-USA TODAY Sports
The New York Jets will host the New England Patriots in a heated Week 12 divisional matchup. Gang Green is coming off their bye week at 3-7 while Bill Belichick and company sit at 8-2. This one has a chance to get ugly quickly given the disparity between the two teams. It was a no-brainer to flex this game off national television.
Todd Bowles and company have themselves a tall task. With question marks at quarterback, cornerback and on the offensive line, they’re at a huge disadvantage vs. one of the best teams in the NFL. The Ryan Clady and Marcus Williams injuries truly dug the Jets in a much deeper hole. Both were essentially carrying the torch at their respective positions and now production is limited throughout the roster. The train has fallen off the tracks for New York.
New England, on the other hand, is still frustrated after their home loss to Seattle, so they’re taking it out on the weaker opponents. In Week 11, they hammered the 49ers in Santa Clara by a score of 30-17. Tom Brady erupted for four touchdowns and LeGarrette Blount continued his dominance rushing for 124 yards on 19 carries. If their offense keeps dropping these numbers, the Jets are doomed.
Looking at this contest on paper, the Patriots should have no problem getting to 9-2 if they execute. New York would need a perfect performance and perhaps an ounce of luck. These are two franchises heading in opposite directions, but miracles in the Meadowlands have happened before. Here are three keys to a Jets victory.
Next: 3. Blitz Tom Brady
Nov 13, 2016; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) reacts during the fourth quarter against the Seattle Seahawks at Gillette Stadium. The Seattle Seahawks won 31-24. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports
3. Blitz Tom Brady
For Gang Green to have any shot, they have to get after Brady early and often. We all know the Patriots’ offensive line has been suspect for several years. Injuries galore and the Logan Mankins trade dismantled a unit that was once one of the league’s best. ‘Tom Terrific’ can’t put up video-game stats if he’s under pressure constantly. The Jets don’t have a lot of things, although they do have pieces who can apply that pressure.
Brady has never been mobile or a guy that enjoys taking hits. Against a front like New York’s, one of those two traits come in handy. Muhammad Wilkerson, Leonard Williams, Sheldon Richardson and Steve McLendon round out a group that can make a quarterback’s day miserable. You can make the case and say they haven’t gotten after the passer often, but it’s the outside linebackers who need to step up.
Lorenzo Mauldin, Jordan Jenkins, and Julian Stanford have been non-factors in the edge rushing department. The Jets can get them going by sending a variety of blitzes. Bowles has to let Calvin Pryor, Marcus Gilchrist, and the corners wreak havoc. If they can disrupt the offensive line, it can give the outside linebackers a chance to tally a sack or two. Look for the coaching staff to make this happen because you can’t beat New England in any other way. All day for Brady is a bad day for New York.
Next: 2. Contain Martellus Bennett
2. Contain Martellus Bennett
Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels loves to use the tight end. Whether it’s Rob Gronkowski or Martellus Bennett, they make their mark game in and game out. When things are really clicking for the offense, both of them put on a clinic. It’ll be a bit different for New England with Gronkowski out for a second straight week, however, Bennett can harm defenses in a similar way.
In just 10 games as the No. 2 tight end, he has 518 yards and four touchdowns on 39 catches. The Jets haven’t faced a tight end as physical as Bennett since the beginning of the season, so it’ll be a challenge for Bowles and his staff. Travis Kelce, Jimmy Graham, and Jesse James all did damage to Gang Green’s secondary. Cincinnati’s C.J. Uzomah and Miami’s Dominique Jones had their best outings vs. New York as well.
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For the Jets to get the job done on Bennett, Pryor and Darron Lee need to snap out of the coverage slump they’re in. They continue to get beat on third down and even Case Keenum kept his offense on the field against them in Week 10. If HE can move the chains vs. the Jets defense, just imagine what Brady can do. Covering the tight end has been an Achilles heel for New York and it can become a huge reason behind yet another loss if it continues.
Next: 1. Be aggressive on offense
Nov 6, 2016; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; New York Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (14) attempts a pass against the Miami Dolphins during the second half at Hard Rock Stadium. The Miami Dolphins defeat the New York Jets 27-23. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
1. Be aggressive on offense
Being aggressive is what the Jets need to focus most on. Not just this week, but from here on out. When you’re 3-7, you have almost no shot at the postseason and there’s absolutely nothing to lose. Deep balls, trickery and going for it on fourth down are common themes for teams with nothing to play for other than pride. New York falls into that category this Sunday given the crowded AFC and disarray of the team.
For some strange reason, Bowles made the choice to turn back to Ryan Fitzpatrick after starting Bryce Petty against the Rams. ‘Fitz’ supposedly wasn’t healthy enough to get the nod, although he dressed and stood on the sideline as the backup. Now he’s 100 percent and gearing up for a chance to get the Jets back in the win column. If Gang Green loses, it could honestly be his last game as a starter in the NFL. He’s had a number of opportunities, none of which have panned out.
With that being said, Chan Gailey needs to put all his chips on the table. Open the playbook, empty the tank and use as many weapons as possible. Robby Anderson, Jalin Marshall, and Charone Peake all deserve targets while Matt Forte and Bilal Powell split carries. Bowles additionally has to leave the offense on the field on fourth and short. No defense can shut down Brady, so an upset win rides on the other side of the ball. You have to be bold in contests like these.