Ever since Rex Ryan became the head coach of the New York Jets and vowed he wouldn’t kiss Bill Belichick’s rings, the bitter Jets – Patriots rivalry has stolen the spotlight, evolving into one of the top rivalries in the NFL.
Don’t believe me? Just google Jets-Patriots memes.
As if the fact it is Patriots week wasn’t enough to hype up Sunday’s game, the Jets now find themselves tied with the Patriots atop the AFC East at 3-3. To be fair, two divisional wins would technically put them in first, but let’s go with a tie for the narrative, okay? Then again, you could also say they’re tied for last…whatever makes you sleep at night.
The tie – and the Patriots worst record through six games since 2005 – presents the Jets with the opportunity to overtake the Patriots and rise to the top of the division, and you can bet Rex Ryan plans to pull out all the stops in order to walk away with the win.
The Patriots opened as 10.5 favorites over the Jets. Here are a few key points to consider as we look ahead to Sunday’s game:
*The Patriots can be beat deep: Opposing teams have attempted 36 passes of 21 yards or more downfield, allowing 44.4% completion percentage on those attempts (and tallied 4 interceptions, tied for most in the league). Coincidentally, Mark Sanchez has a passer rating around 100+ on throws greater than 25 yards.
Opposing quarterbacks have also thrown 15 touchdowns for a 100.9 passer rating against the Pats defense.
*Mark Sanchez remains the 2nd most pressured QB in the AFC behind Philip Rivers and the Jets’ offensive line could be in for a rough day against the Patriots first-round pick Chandler Jones, who currently leads NFL rookies with five sacks after getting two against Seattle last week.
*Unleash Tebow time? (*Skip Bayless voice*). Relax, I don’t mean he should be the starting quarterback, but I think the Jets have to let Tebow take a deep shot downfield in this game. I know we are hearing he could “possibly”play running back, but I’ll believe it when I see it. I’ll take the under on 10 snaps for the backup quarterback in this game, but they’d be wise to let him throw the ball at least once.
*For all the talk about Ground and Pound, the Patriots have actually had more success running the ball than the Jets. New England has gained more rushing 1st downs (37) in two wins over the Bills and the Broncos than Jets have all season (33).
*The Jets revamped the safety position this off-season to account for the play on the Patriots tight ends, Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez, but despite the makeover, the Jets are still ranked 26th vs. the tight end, according to Football Outsiders. Landry and Bell are going to have to earn their money tomorrow if the Jets are to have a chance.
The same goes for cornerback Kyle Wilson, who is expected to match-up against Wes Welker. I’ll refrain from expressing my opinion on this; I wouldn’t want to ruin your day.
*The Jets have allowed opponents to convert 18-of-41 (42%) on 3rd-and-6 or more this season, the worst percentage in the league.
*The Patriots rarely lose back-to-back games, especially at home, and they have also won their last nine games at home against division opponents. However, the Patriots have their worst record after six games since they were also 3-3 in 2005. (In a strange coincidence, the Patriots three losses have all come against opponents with birds as mascots — the Ravens, Cardinals and Seahawks. Perhaps they will have similar luck against a team that “flies?”).
*Rule 5, Section 2, Article 10. What the heck is that? Well, according to the rulebook, ““if a substitution is made by the offense, the offense shall not be permitted to snap the ball until the defense has been permitted to respond with its substitutions. . . . The offense is prohibited from rushing quickly to the line of scrimmage and snapping the ball in an obvious attempt to cause a defensive foul (i.e. — too many men on the field). . . . The umpire will stand over the ball until the Referee deems that the defense has had a reasonable time to complete its substitutions.”
The Jets will want to ensure they are given the appropriate time to make defensive subsitutions in this game, as it will allow them to adjust to the Patriots no-huddle offense. Keep a close on this throughout the game — I have a feeling it will be a discussion point on Monday.
Update: According to Conor Orr of The Star-Ledger, Sione Po’uha, Eric Smith, Bilal Powell and Kenrick Ellis did not traveling with the team to New England. Joe McKnight did make the trip, and will be a game time decision. McKnight told the media earlier in the week he WANTS to play.
**Joe and I talked recapped Sunday’s win over the Colts and previewed Jets-Patriots on this week’s episode of “The Blue and Green Review.”