Coming off their bye week, the NY Jets will be traveling to Foxborough to take on the New England Patriots this Sunday. The last time these two teams played, the Jets lost 22-17.
This was a game that Zach Wilson would like to forget. Although Wilson finished with a career-high 355 passing yards and two touchdowns, three interceptions likely cost the Jets the win.
The Jets hope to end the 13-game-long drought of losing to the Patriots. This Sunday marks a very winnable game for the Jets, and these are the three keys to a Jets victory over New England.
3. Zach Wilson must play competent football
This is much easier said than done for Zach Wilson. Wilson has not been having the easiest go of things in his second season, however, we have seen improvements.
So far this season, Wilson has a completion percentage of 57.5%, 1,202 yards, four touchdowns, and five interceptions. This lands him a QB rating of 75.5 which is still an improvement from last year.
Last week, Wilson put together an impressive outing against the Buffalo Bills. Although he didn't throw for an astronomical number of yards, Wilson managed to pick up 154 yards and one touchdown. He completed 18 out of his 25 pass attempts and played clean, mistake-free football.
The bigger picture here is how much more comfortable he looked with the ball. He didn't throw any interceptions and did better at not forcing the ball into tight spots.
Against one of the league's top defenses, Wilson managed to play one of his best games with the Jets. However, this week will not fair much easier as the Patriots' defense is one of the best in the league as well.
For the Jets to win this game, Wilson has to remain hot and try his best to not make many mistakes.
2. The NY Jets must continue to find their running game
Since the Breece Hall injury, the Jets' running back group has been struggling to pick up where he left off. The first game without Hall came in Week 8 against the Patriots.
The Jets' running game was non-existent, to say the least. Even with the addition of James Robinson, the Jets failed to get anything going against the Patriots defense.
Michael Carter led the scoresheet in rushing yards, tallying a whopping 26 rushing yards. This came off of seven carries, averaging about 3.6 yards per carry. Robinson carried the ball five times this game, and picked up a grand total of 17 yards, averaging 3.4 yards per carry.
However, Week 9 against the Bills told a much different story. Carter ran for 76 yards on 12 carries picking up a touchdown in the process. Robinson also had a big day as well, rushing for 48 yards on 13 carries.
It was great to see the Jets getting back to their running game, even with the new RB1 out for the season. This week, the Jets have to run the ball efficiently against the Patriots if they hope to come away with the win.
1. The NY Jets must shut down Rhamondre Stevenson
It's easy to say that the whole Jets defense has to perform well. Sauce Gardner and D.J. Reed will need to continue to play well and shut down Mac Jones through the air.
However, the Patriots' biggest threat against the Jets doesn't come through the air. Instead, it's on the ground with running back Rhamondre Stevenson.
The last time these two teams faced off, Stevenson had a field day against the Jets. Stevenson ran for 71 yards on 16 carries and the Jets didn't have much of an answer for him.
With Sheldon Rankins out, this won't be an easy task, but the Jets' interior defensive linemen will have to get the job done and stop Stevenson. This starts with Quinnen Williams.
The main focus of the Jets' defense should be simple — make Mac Jones beat you. If the Jets are successful in stopping the run, Jones will need to move his offensive attack through the air with Gardner and Reed waiting to make big plays.
If these three keys can be obtained, the Jets could walk away with their first victory over the Patriots in 13 games.