NY Jets: Top 3 players to watch in Week 9 against the New England Patriots

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NY Jets /
NY Jets
NY Jets /

NY Jets Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

NY Jets fans should keep an eye on these three players in Week 9 against the Patriots.

The NY Jets return home this week to take on the New England Patriots in their seemingly annual Monday Night Football showdown. Except these aren’t the Patriots of old.

New England enters this game as losers of their last four games including a loss to the lowly Denver Broncos. The Patriots haven’t thrown a touchdown pass in three games and have genuinely looked like one of the worst teams in football over the last few weeks.

But if there ever was a game to turn their fortunes around, this is it.

The Jets, at 0-8, have virtually nothing to play for at this point. The season is lost and most are already looking ahead to the offseason where the real work begins.

And because the team has nothing to play for, the fans have few reasons to watch.

Sam Darnold and Quinnen Williams, perhaps two of the only reasons to tune in each week, are both out with injuries in this game. And the usual spark of the Jets/Patriots rivalry is all but lost with both teams struggling at the moment.

So why should Jets fans watch this week? Which players should fans keep an eye on if they do decide to tune in?

Next: 3. Ashtyn Davis

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NY Jets /

NY Jets Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

3. Ashtyn Davis, S, NY Jets

The Jets don’t have many players on the roster who could feature in their future plans. But safety rookie Ashtyn Davis is one of them.

Davis received the first start of his career in Week 8 as he played 100 percent of defensive snaps in place of the injured Bradley McDougald. McDougald has struggled mightily this year, but Davis didn’t fare much better.

The rookie was picked apart by Kansas City’s defense and his inexperience showed with his tackle attempts. Too often Davis was caught flat-footed or taking the wrong angle leading to big plays for the offense.

The Cal product is one of the most athletic players on the roster, but he will need to harness that athleticism if he’s going to develop into a starting-caliber player. Because right now, his athleticism is probably best-suited on special teams.

But with McDougald sidelined, for the time being, he’ll be given another opportunity in Week 9 against the Patriots. New England’s passing game has been lackluster as of late which should give Davis a better opportunity at success than he had against the Chiefs.

Monday night will be another big test for the young rookie. We’ll see if he fares better this time around.

Next: 2. La'Mical Perine

NY Jets
NY Jets /

NY Jets Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

2. La’Mical Perine, RB, NY Jets

Another player who will be using the remainder of the season to audition for a future role is rookie running back La’Mical Perine.

Perine has been stuck behind the likes of Le’Veon Bell and Frank Gore for the majority of the season, but it seems as though he’s finally starting to see an uptick in playing time.

The Florida product received 59 and 70 percent of snaps in Weeks 6 and 7 respectively and saw 49 percent last week. He’s still splitting touches with Gore, but he’s at least receiving more playing time than he did earlier in the year.

And Week 9 presents an excellent opportunity for Perine to have his first true breakout performance.

The Patriots enter the game with the fifth-worth run defense in the NFL and they’ll be without two of their better run defenders in Lawrence Guy and Ja’Whaun Bentley.

If the Jets give Perine the opportunity to make an impact, this is the week he could solidify himself as someone who should feature into the backfield plans in 2021 and beyond.

The Jets need to figure out what they have in Perine. And a game against one of the worst defenses in the NFL figures to be as good of an occasion as there is.

Next: 1. Denzel Mims

NY Jets (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
NY Jets (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images) /

1. Denzel Mims, WR, NY Jets

Aside from first-round pick Mekhi Becton, perhaps no player has the potential to have as bright of a future with the team as Denzel Mims.

Mims has had a slow start to his NFL career to this point having missed all of training camp and the first six weeks of the season with a hamstring injury. But now that he’s back, he’s slowly made his presence felt.

The former Baylor star hauled in four catches for 42 yards in Week 7 and followed that up with two catches for 42 yards in Week 8 including a leaping 27-yard grab in the first half.

The Jets will have their starting trio of wide receivers healthy for the first time in Week 9 with both Jamison Crowder and Breshad Perriman set to return. Despite that, it would be in the Jets’ best interest to involve Mims in the gameplan more going forward.

Mims has yet to catch a pass in the second half of either game he’s played in and that’s something that has to change from here on out. Perhaps a matchup against a Patriots secondary that will be without Stephon Gilmore could help.

New England’s secondary is one of the best in the NFL, but the absence of Gilmore could provide a golden opportunity for Mims to make a significant impact.

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The Jets need to do their part in getting hin targets. And if the targets come, expect Mims to do his part as well.