The New York Jets welcome the New England Patriots to MetLife Stadium this weekend for what is being billed as a heavyweight clash, with the AFC East title potentially hanging in the balance. The Jets are starting to hit their stride as a team, while the Patriots have stumbled recently. What changes, and what stays the same? More importantly, who wins? Jets 101 has you covered.
Do you think the Jets will use the same defensive strategy they did in the first meeting and challenge the Patriots to run on them?
Peter Schifani: With Sione Pouha playing his best game to date last week against Buffalo, and the hopeful return of a healthy Mike DeVito the Jets should be able to better execute there run stopping strategy against the Patriots and BenJarvus Green-Ellis. The pressure will then be on Darrelle Revis, Antonio Cromartie and Kyle Wilson to defend the short to medium routes for Wes Welker and company because New England has no deep threat.
Chris Tripodi: With the recent successes of the Steelers and Giants using pressure to disrupt Tom Brady's rhythm, the Jets defensive strategy should focus more on pressuring Brady, particularly up the middle. Their run defense has been steadily improving since the first matchup between the teams and BenJarvus Green-Ellis seems unlikely to repeat his Week 6 performance.
Don Lappe: I think the Jets will dare the Patriots to run again. Despite what Green-Ellis did in the first matchup, they would much rather see him get 20 carries than see Tom Brady drop back 35-40 times. Expect a lot of blitzes in passing situations, but also some change-ups similar to pace dropping back into a zone last week against the Bills.
The resurgence of the running game has really sparked the offensive turnaround. The Patriots defense is awful in pass coverage. What approach does the offense take this week?
Peter Schifani: They still need to use the ground and pound to set up the play action passing that was very effective against the Bills last week. Sanchez was 11 for 12 in completions when using play-action.
Chris Tripodi: You have to stick with what works for your team and for the Jets, that's running the football. New England is only a top-10 run defense because everybody picks on their secondary instead; they allow 4.3 yards per carry on the ground. The Jets should be able to use the run to open up the play-action passing game and play to the strengths of Mark Sanchez.
Don Lappe: The Jets still need to establish the run. It's not about what the Patriots do or don't go well, it's about playing to your strengths. Still, they do need to challenge the New England secondary more aggressively when they do throw.
Peter Schifani: If the Jets execute well on defense, have no costly turnovers on offense and can continue moving the ball well as they did the last two games then they have a good chance of winning again Sunday night.
Jets 24, Patriots 20.
Chris Tripodi: It's hard to believe New England could lose three games in a row but they did just have a very long regular-season home winning streak snapped, so anything is possible. The Patriots have serious issues, even on offense, and I believe more in defense as the seasons wears along and the weather gets colder. All of the momentum the Jets have been building would seem to culminate in a big win to take over first place in the division.
Jets 24, Patriots 20.
Don Lappe: I seem to be in the minority, but I don't think this game comes down to the end as we usually expect it to between these teams. The Jets were awful on offense and had a bad game defensively and were right in the game until late last time. They've gotten better as the Patriots have gotten worse. I haven't been impressed by the Patriots this season since the season opener against the Miami Dolphins. No 70-yard completion to Wes Welker, a better performance stopping the run and a competent offensive performance for the green and white. They get a comfortable win.
Jets 30, Patriots 17.
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