Who: New York Jets vs. New England Patriots
When: 8:20 p.m. EST
Where: MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ
Media: TV – NBC, DirecTV – N/A, Radio – ESPN 98.7 FM, Sirius – 93, Sirius XM – XM 226, Internet Audio – Audio Pass.
Their Previous Meeting: The last time these two teams met, it was an offensive battle to the end as both defenses struggled to neutralize their opponent. The Jets were plagued by a couple of self-inflicted miscues which headlined Devin McCourty running back 104 yards on a kickoff return and Sanchez kicking a fumbled snap into the back of the end zone for a safety. Despite all of this, the Jets’ offense was able to keep pace with the Patriots and recapture the lead with a 1:37 remaining in regulation. However, leave it to Tom Brady with the game on the line and, more often than not, he’ll burn you. Brady did just that orchestrating a drive that resulted in Stephen Gostkowski drilling a 47 yard field goal to tie the game as the clock expired. The Patriots received the ball to begin overtime and drove down the field however, the Jets’ defense, in one of their rare moments of the night, clamped down and forced the Patriots to kick a field goal, affording them the opportunity to possess the ball. Their drive started off well enough as they managed to get to their own 40 yard line before Rob Ninkovich and Jermaine Cunningham made mince meat of their blockers and hit Sanchez, high and low respectively, for a sack and forced fumble which Ninkovich recovered to secure New England’s victory.
Jets: CB Aaron Berry (Quadriceps–Questionable), TE Jeff Cumberland (Wrist–Probable), DE Mike DeVito (Finger–Probable), NT Kenrick Ellis (Knee–Questionable), WR Clyde Gates (Shoulder–Probable), WR Stephen Hill (Ankle–Probable), WR Jeremy Kerley (Heel/Hamstring–Questionable), S LaRon Landry (Heel–Probable), C Nick Mangold (Thumb–Probable), RB/KR Joe McKnight (Ankle–Questionable), G Brandon Moore (Hip–Probable), LB Calvin Pace (Shoulder–Probable), NT Sione Po’uha (Low Back–Questionable), RB Bilal Powell (Shoulder–Probable), QB Mark Sanchez (Low Back–Probable), LB Bart Scott (Toe–Questionable), G Matt Slauson (Knee–Probable), and QB Tim Tebow (Ribs–Questionable).
Patriots: DL Ron Brace (Elbow–Questionable), S Patrick Chung (Shoulder/Hamstring–Questionable), OL Dan Connolly (Back–Questionable), WR Julian Edelman (Hand–Probable), S Steve Gregory (Hip–Questionable), TE Rob Gronkowski (Forearm/Hip–Out), TE Aaron Hernandez (Ankle–Questionable), LB Dont’a Hightower (Hamstring–Questionable), DE Chandler Jones (Ankle–Out), WR Brandon Lloyd (Knee–Questionable), DL Kyle Love (Knee–Probable), G Logan Mankins (Ankle/Calf–Out), LB Jerod Mayo (Elbow–Probable), OL Nick McDonald (Shoulder–Questionable), DE Trevor Scott (Hamstring–Questionable), LB Brandon Spikes (Knee–Questionable), T Sebastian Vollmer (Back/Knee–Questionable), WR Wes Welker (Ankle–Questionable), and LB Tracy White (Foot–Questionable).
Jets: QB Greg McElroy, RB Kahlil Bell, TE Hayden Smith, OL Caleb Schlauderaff, OL Hayworth Hicks, NT Damon Harrison, and CB Aaron Berry.
Patriots: TE Rob Gronkowski, OL Logan Mankins, OL Sebastian Vollmer, OL Markus Zusevics, OL Jake Bequette, DE Chandler Jones, and CB Marquice Cole.
Game Captains: WR Stephen Hill, TE Dustin Keller, DE Quinton Coples, LB Calvin Pace, and CB Kyle Wilson.
Post Scriptum: The password to the chatroom is case-sensitive and must be entered as shown: turkeybowl
Winning cures all. At least that was the feeling following the Jets’ feel good win over the hapless St. Louis Rams and former in-house pariah Brian Schottenheimer. While it was nice to quell the cloud of panic that has muscled its way into the Jets’ season more than once, it was a short turnaround as the Jets moved on to tonight’s foe: New England. To their credit, the Patriots had a very convincing win over the Indianapolis Colts as Tom Brady picked apart the Colts’ porous defense with ease and of course it helped to have two interceptions returned for touchdowns. However, I suspect tonight will be different for a variety of reasons. First of all, the Jets are not the Colts. Granted, the Jets have had their share of struggles especially on defense but, if they can replicate their performance from their first encounter with Brady, the errant kickoff return and breakdowns within the 2 minute mark notwithstanding, the Jets have a very real chance of pulling off an upset. Although Cromartie was beat for a touchdown on Sunday, he continues to prove week in and week out to be a very reliable presence in a Revis-less backfield. The Jets are at somewhat of a disadvantage after losing Isaiah Trufant to injury for the rest of the year as he was quite successful in shutting down the shifty Wes Welker in their first meeting however, it will be up to the next guy to take the reins and hopefully keep Welker on a short leash. The defense caught a bit of a break with Gronkowski out however, Aaron Hernandez is expected to return which means the Jets will need to keep spies on him throughout the game as Brady could look to get that connection kick-started early. With Sione Po’uha and Kenrick Ellis still hurting from their respective injuries, it may be difficult to command double teams and allow Coples and Wilkerson to create havoc however, if the Jets plan to win they absolutely must find ways for Wilkerson to get to Brady because he has proven once he gets to the quarterback, Wilkshake has the ability to make anything happen. The onus will also be on the linebackers to keep the Patriots’ running game in check as they have multiple backs that have the ability to burn teams in a hurry, a fitting compliment for Brady.
Offensively, the Jets struggled early against the Rams but once Sanchez connected with Joe McKnight a few times for some considerable gains, the light seemed to go off and the Jets were never really in danger of losing from thereon. The Patriots gained some additional manpower in their secondary in the form of Aqib Talib however, he has not changed the fact that their defense is vulnerable, especially with Chandler Jones out with an ankle injury, and Sanchez was able to exploit them quite a bit in their first meeting, safety and fumble aside. The key will be to get Kerley and Schilens involved early and often and even Clyde Gates who has come on in recent weeks as a target Sanchez has grown comfortable with. Stephen Hill will continue to get looks, despite his struggles. Why? The man can create separation and will keep the Patriots’ defense honest (and even more so if he can catch a damn pass). The Jets may also look to involve the rookie Jordan White whom they called up from the practice squad just yesterday and showed flashes earlier in the year. If Sanchez can make the throws that need to be made, that will open it up for Sparano to use the running game. Rex has said that the ideal solution is to use Greene, Powell and McKnight as a trio and I tend to agree because as we saw against the Rams it worked pretty well and McKnight has proven to be the most explosive of the bunch and could help provide a few sparks throughout the game. Finally, as much as some may not like it, you have to limit Tebow’s snaps. As it is, he’s already listed as questionable with a rib injury and I would think you’d want to protect your personal punt protector, spread option commander and back-up quarterback as much as possible–future investment and all you know. Tebow only saw three snaps against the Rams and, not to start a conspiracy theory but, the offense did seem to operate much more effectively and I think we can safely say it’s about time to put the fake punt away for a bit after the Rams blew it up completely. Although, this is the Patriots we’re talking about so it would not surprise me if the Jets pulled a few never before seen tricks on national TV–lets just hope if they do, they work. The Jets face another difficult task in their quest to not completely roll over and die this season but depending on which Jets team shows up, it could either be a long day or an enjoyable post-Thanksgiving dinner dessert.