Who: New York Jets @ New England Patriots
When: 8:25 p.m. EDT
Where: Gillette Stadium, Foxboro, MA
Media: TV – NFL Network/CBS, DirecTV – N/A, Radio – ESPN N.Y. 98.7 FM, Sirius – 92, Sirius XM – XM 225, Internet Audio – Audio Pass.
Their Previous Meeting: The last time these two teams met, it was a complete and utter s*itshow that signaled the beginning of the end of the sad story of the 2012 New York Jets. In typical Sparanoian fashion, the Jets’ offense was shutout of the first quarter however, the Jets’ defense managed to delay the inevitable with a shutout of their own. The opening of the second quarter was a bad omen as Tom Brady hit Wes Welker for a three yard touchdown with only six minutes off the clock. A short while later, Shane Vereen took a Brady pass 83 yards to the house after a blown coverage assignment by Bart Scott. 43 seconds later, Sanchez infamously fumbled the ball after running into the backside of Brandon Moore and that was returned for a touchdown by Steve Gregory followed by a Julian Edelman fumble return after Joe McKnight muffed the kickoff. If that weren’t enough, Brady found Edelman on a 56 yard pass to put the Patriots ahead 35-0. As the half mercifully came to a close, the Jets put their first points on the board with a 19 yard boot by Nick Folk. As one can imagine, the onus was on the Jets’ offense to score–let’s just say the Big Book of Curse Words was exhausted by the time the clock hit 0:00. The Jets were able to get some points after Stevan Ridley was penalized in the end zone resulting in two points for New York. Two minutes later, Bilal Powell dove four yards for a score. There would be no Thursday Night Miracle for the Jets as Brady and Ridley added two rushing touchdowns in the fourth. Sanchez found Dustin Keller on a one yard toss however, with 2:21 remaining in the game, the Big Slinky was mostly empty and no one really gave a damn as the Jets lost 19-49.
Jets: LB Nick Bellore (Oblique–Probable), G Willie Colon (Knee–Probable), DE Quinton Coples (Ankle–Out), CB Antonio Cromartie (Hip–Probable), TE Jeff Cumberland (Chin–Probable), NT Kenrick Ellis (Back–Probable), WR Clyde Gates (Knee–Probable), NT Damon Harrison (Knee–Probable), WR Stephen Hill (Knee–Probable), WR Santonio Holmes (Foot–Probable), T Ben Ijalana (Knee–Probable), RB Chris Ivory (Thumb–Probable), WR Jeremy Kerley (Concussion–Out), C Nick Mangold (Elbow–Probable), LB Garrett McIntyre (Ribs–Probable), CB Dee Milliner (Hip–Probable), RB Bilal Powell (Shoulder–Probable), DT Sheldon Richardson (Shoulder–Probable), QB Mark Sanchez (Right shoulder–Out), QB Geno Smith (Ankle–Probable), and TE Kellen Winslow II (Knee–Probable).
Patriots: S Duron Harmon / Hamstring / Questionable — RB Stevan Ridley / Shoulder / Probable — TE Rob Gronkowski / Back / Doubtful — S Nate Ebner / Ankle / Questionable — T Will Svitek / Knee / Questionable — WR Matt Slater / Knee / Questionable — CB Marquice Cole / Hamstring / Probable — WR Danny Amendola / Groin / Doubtful — RB Brandon Bolden / Knee / Questionable — WR Aaron Dobson / Hamstring / Questionable — RB Shane Vereen / Wrist / Out — TE Zach Sudfeld / Hamstring / Questionable — CB Alfonzo Dennard / Ankle / Probable — RB Leon Washington / Thigh / Questionable
Jets: QB Mark Sanchez, QB Brady Quinn, WR Jeremy Kerley, G Will Campbell, T Ben Ijalana, T Oday Aboushi, LB Quinton Coples
Patriots: RB Brandon Bolden, WR Danny Amendola, OL Will Svitek, LB Steve Beauharnais, TE Rob Gronkowski, TE Zach Sudfeld and DL Chris Jones.
Jets Game Captains: T.B.A.
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It wasn’t the prettiest of wins but the Jets will gladly take it. For a team who’s defense was alleged to have fallen off the map sans Darrelle Revis in combination with a dysfunctional offense, the Jets on the whole did a much better job than predicted by most media outlets. From an outsider’s perspective, it was refreshing to see many of those publications eat crow, if only for a few days, no matter how hard they tried to spin the Jets’ win.
But in this league, you need a short term memory and it’s a greater point of emphasis this week with the quick turnaround as the Jets head to Foxboro to take on their divisional foe. Throughout the week, those who were on the 2012 team have said in no uncertain terms that they had moved on from last year’s debacle on that fateful November night.
The Patriots have had a rash of players appear on the injury report since Sunday including Shane Vereen who was placed on IR with a designation to return later in the season. Despite this, the Patriots still have one of their most lethal weapons in Tom Brady. Even with the injuries and struggles by untested receivers or fumbling running backs, the Patriots will continue to be a threat so long as Brady is under center.
It will be the task of the Jets’ defensive line to supply the pressure to get to Brady and it starts with Sheldon Richardson and Muhammad Wilkerson both of whom stood out against Tampa Bay. Inevitably, there will be coverage breakdowns and missed assignments but if the Jets can apply pressure on Brady it could be very reminiscent of the Jets’ 2010 playoff victory.
While Geno Smith was by no means perfect, he seemed comfortable and in control even when the Jets’ offense struggled to cash in on their opportunities. This Patriots defense has some good pieces in Vince Wilfork and Dont’a Hightower with a suspect secondary which may work to Geno’s advantage. The offensive line had their share of struggles, particularly Vlad Ducasse, but perhaps most of the kinks can be worked out to allow Geno enough time to survey his options.
More importantly, the Jets need to reignite their running game. While Geno’s mobility is a plus, the Jets need more from Powell than just 29 yards on 12 carries. Granted, the Buccaneers run defense is much more stout than that of the Patriots which may help significantly this week. They also need to get more out of Chris Ivory. Again, this may be attributed to the Bucs defense but the Jets would be well-served if they could sustain a 1-2 punch on the ground throughout the night.
I’m not sure there is one outlet that is predicting a Jets victory tonight but New York does have the opportunity to seize it if can limit their mistakes and put pressure on Brady. New England is by no means invincible as they showed Sunday afternoon. Is this necessarily a must-win game? No but, it would be a vindication of sorts for a variety of reasons and give a lot of their critics something to stew over.