The New York Jets are entering the biggest game of their season Thursday night against the New England Patriots. At MetLife Stadium, on Thanksgiving, with all of America watching, the Jets will try to knock off the AFC East-leading Patriots and string together consecutive wins for the first time all season. Believe it or not, a win would give the Jets a great chance at getting back in the Wild Card race in the AFC. What matchups should we be watching tomorrow night?
While you never root for injuries, they have created some favorable matchups for the New York Jets heading into tomorrow's tilt with the New England Patriots. Rob Gronkowski will not play, while Chandler Jones and Logan Mankins are also likely to sit out. If the Jets are going to get back in the playoff race they need to exploit the matchups those injuries have opened up.
Jets Safeties vs. Aaron Hernandez: The Jets catch a break this week with Rob Gronkowski out after suffering a broken forearm on Sunday. Aaron Hernandez is recovering from an injury of his own, but is expected to play tomorrow. LaRon Landry and Yeremiah Bell will be tasked with keeping him in check. The Patriots love using their tight ends, and the loss of Gronkowski will hurt them. If the Jets can shut down Aaron Hernandez, a big part of what the Patriots do offensively will be nullified.
Jets Defensive Tackles vs. Patriots Center and Guards: The Patriots took a hit after last season when Brian Waters retired, and now they will probably have to face the Jets tomorrow without Logan Mankins. That means that Donald Thomas, Nick McDonald or Mitch Petrus will likely be forced into duty, creating some issues for the Patriots inside when trying to matchup with the likes of Sione Pouha, Mike DeVito and Kenrick Ellis (if healthy). The Jets need to exploit this mismatch and stuff the run, plus some inside pressure against Tom Brady would be a nice boost.
D'Brickashaw Ferguson and Austin Howard vs. Patriots Defensive Ends: With Chandler Jones likely out, the Jets need to give Mark Sanchez some time to take shots downfield this week. Mark Sanchez threw for 328 yards the first time the Jets played New England this season. The offense looked better against the St, Louis Rams on Sunday. Solid pass protection will be expected with the top Patriots pass rusher out, and that should mean big yards through the air.
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