The Patriots and Jets face off this week in a unique matchup of division rivals. Both teams will view this game as a must-win, but also as a get-right game. The Pats are 0-2 after facing two of the powerhouse teams in the league. The Jets are 1-1 after stealing an emotional victory against the Bills after losing Aaron Rodgers, but got exposed last week against the Cowboys.
The Patriots have won 14 (!!!) in a row in this series and hope that trend continues, while the Jets want to get that monkey off their back.
Patriots 73, Jets 54, 1 tie
Patriots Offense vs. Jets Defense
Last year, the Pats and Jets treated America to a 10-3 game that was won on a Marcus Jones last-second punt return touchdown. This year may feature similar frustrations for both offenses. The Patriots are still looking to play a clean game of football on the offensive side; they have turned the ball over with generosity in the first quarter. The Jets’ defense is a sturdy group that will look to get constant pressure on Mac Jones and force him into mistakes.
The Patriots haven’t been able to get their run game going in the first two weeks. It’ll be tough sledding against a talented front seven for the New York Jets again this week. The return of Trent Brown and a healthy Mike Onwenu will give the Patriots their first look at their complete starting offensive line. The Patriots need to get some movement from the big guys up front to help open things up for the entire offense.
The Patriots need the running game to be established so they build the play-action game off of it. They don’t have many big-play threats, so the chunk plays will need to be manufactured by good play design and play calling.
Mac can have similar success as the first couple of weeks, but needs to avoid the turnovers. The Pats are close to the top in the league for drives that cross into opponents’ territory, but are middle of the pack in scoring. Finishing drives, even if with field goals, will go a long way this week in what should be a low-scoring game. If anything, protecting the ball is the most important key to victory this week.
Patriots Defense vs. Jets Offense
The Patriots defense has played outstanding football against two top offenses thus far this year. Against the Jets on Sunday, they may be able to completely flex their collective talent. The Jets posed a severe threat at the beginning of the year when Aaron Rodgers was slotted to start this game. However, good friend Zach Wilson will get the start.
Wilson started his career against the Patriots with a four-interception performance, and has not shown much growth in solving Belichick since. Wilson has followed in Sam Darnold’s footsteps of being absolutely befuddled by the complex schemes of the Patriots. That should continue on Sunday, as Wilson likely throws a handful of picks to the Pats.
The Patriots did not face Breece Hall last year. He has an opportunity to make big plays out of nothing, but it would help if New York gave him the ball more than four times a game. The Patriots showed a disappointing effort in the run defense on Sunday night. While they invited the Dolphins to run, the Pats defended them poorly.
Belichick and the Patriots will be looking for a statement game here, and not having to worry about an explosive passing attack will allow them to play downhill with aggression in the run game.
New England showed they can still be light years ahead of everyone else in the third phase of the game. The Pats should have an edge here and be able to expose it for a couple of big plays. Return man Marcus Jones just went on injured reserve due to a labrum injury, so the return game may not be as explosive. The duo of rookie specialists has been solid thus far, and that should continue on Sunday.
The Patriots are looking for their first victory of the year. While they may not be desperate quite yet, they will be playing extremely hungry. This is a game that will be close early as both defenses shine and force a bit of a punting battle. The tide will start to turn as Wilson turns the ball over, allowing short fields for the Patriots offense.
This game should start to be a blowout by the late third quarter and the Pats won’t let it get close in garbage time. Patriots win 38-6.