It’s a match up we’ve seen plenty of times before under circumstances that feel oddly familiar. The Jets are busy bottom-feeding and the Patriots are surging. And yet through it all, you can’t help but feel the Jets have some semblance of a chance tonight. Look, there’s no question as to who has the more talented team and it’s not close. Not even Rex Ryan-Mark Sanchez-Mrs. Ryan close. That said, the two annual match ups against the Patriots have kind of become the Jets’ version of the Super Bowl. I’d go as far as to say that tonight’s game is more competitive than the real Super Bowl that unfolded last February.
Where the Jets are better:
Seemingly nowhere, but I do think the Jets’ front seven will provide a tough task to the Patriots band-aid ground game. Shane Vereen has been a receiver before a runner for most of his career and in James White and Brandon Bolden, there’s not much proven talent in the Patriots backfield. The best chance the Jets have in this game is to completely stifle the New England Running game and force Brady to throw the ball 40 times. That may sound like madness given the sad state of the New York Secondary, but if Rex Ryan does one thing well it’s brining creative blitzes to force quarterbacks, even those of Tom Brady’s caliber into making bad decisions. Brady’s line has been suspect this year and while Tom has been terrific, if not prolific from the pocket throughout his career, he’s truly abysmal when trying to make plays on the move.
Where the Patriots are better:
The offense, the defense and almost everything in between. Seriously, New England shouldn’t have too much trouble putting the Jets away. The Pats need only target the corners and safeties who are either inexperienced, starting in place of injured players, or just plain bad, and watch the points accumulate. Gronkowski has been joined by Tim Wright as effective threats down the middle of the field and Julian Edelman appears to have a compliment in Brandon LaFell. If Brady’s line can give him any time, this game’s a laugher. That said, if the ground game can’t get anything going as previously mentioned, things could get a little sticky in facing a talented New York pass rush. Perhaps the surest way to attack this Jets defense is to go at them with no-huddle in hopes to tire out the big defensive linemen who are the primary source of pressure in the Jets aggressive defense. Keeping them winded on the field on long drives will negate their ability to generate consistent heat and thus expose the Jets secondary.
Defensively the Pats are down a big piece in Jerod Mayo, and the Jets will try to exploit the middle of the field with runs up the middle to Chris Ivory and even a few throws down the seam to second-round pick, tight end Jace Amaro. Amaro caught ten passes last week for 68 yards and a score after previously being disappointing. Look for the Patriots to eliminate him as a security blanket and erase Eric Decker with Darrelle Revis. So long as the Pats limit the Jets rushing attack, Geno will be left to try and win the game with his arm. Yeah good luck with that.
Prediction: Patriots 27 Jets 17
Tim Mullhaupt (@TimakaHines) is the editor of The Buckets Blog.