Who would have though the New York Jets and the New England Patriots would be battling it out for First Place of the division in Week 6?
While crazier things have happened, the Jets, who have been nothing short of overlooked since the off season, now have a shot at winning their fourth straight game and taking control of the AFC East this week against New England.
The reigning champs are no easy task for Gang Green however. They’ve had the Jets number over the past few years, winning 5 of the last 6 matchups against New York.
So do the devoid Jets stand any chance against their powerhouse divisional foes?
Well on paper, they sure do.
I’ve still been doing some research to find out if the Patriots defense actually exists. Bill Belichick’s secondary has allowed the most yards per game to opposing offenses (averaging 447.2) and the second most points per game (28.4) through the first 5 weeks of the season (via NFL.com)
"We know what it’s like to play the Jets in NY & we’ll have to be at our best."
— New England Patriots (@Patriots) October 11, 2017
Now while the Jets offense isn’t a high-powered and dominant collective, they will definitely have an opportunity to relinquish some force upon their worst enemy this weekend.
Josh McCown will need to get the offensive ball rolling quickly out of the gates if the Jets hope to take an edge, unlike how they did last week against the Cleveland Browns. This means the passing attack will need to be fluid early on, especially with Matt Forte and Bilal Powell likely being out for the contest. Rookie Elijah McGuire should see a heavy workload, but the Jets cannot afford to lose another running back by relying on him only.
The same quickness will apply to Gang Green’s defense, which was just as slow last week against Cleveland.
— Connor Hughes (@Connor_J_Hughes) October 8, 2017
Luckily for both the front seven and the secondary, they will be facing a banged up Tom Brady, who is reportedly suffering from an AC joint sprain in his left shoulder.
This will be an interesting factor as to how the Patriots look to expose a Jets defense that has been stout against the pass so far this season. Brady may not be cut out for his usual 40 or so pass attempts.
That means New England may rely on their running game more than usual, something the Jets have been shaky at limiting other offenses at all year.
But even in that sense, the Jets should be able to handle a mediocre Patriots running attack. New England currently sits in the middle of the pack with only 495 total rushing yards on the season, just a little shy of 100 yards per game.
With all of that being said, the Jets have also maintained a hot streak amidst the negativity surrounding the franchise. The Patriots have done just the opposite by collapsing under pressure not only from the media but from opposing teams, many of which are similar to the Jets in regards to youth.
Both organizations have also had their fair share of close games this season, and outcomes have differentiated. The Jets, who always seem to find themselves in tight situations towards the end of games, have been solid at closing games out this season (ex: JAX, CLE).
New England has been a roller coaster in that aspect as they’ve allowed their last three games to be decided within the final moments.
This is something the Jets should take into careful consideration. Out of the last 10 times these teams have met, eight games were decided by seven points or less (via The Football Database). Simply, these rivalry between these teams remains tight.
The Jets will enter Sunday with a chip on their shoulder, having proven that the “Tank” is no longer in their plans. The Patriots will be looking to return to normalcy as they plan to regain their rightful spot as kings of the AFC East.
While many may already be chalking this game up as a loss for Gang Green, they should be keen about what this team has proven so far this season, and what New England hasn’t.
Cowboys lose a heartbreaker to the Packers