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Its Jets week, the time on the schedule each season where the legions of Patriots fans and wad of Jets fans heat up the Boston/New York rivalry for the week. The rivalry for the cities goes back centuries and is about more than just sports, as you can see in this summed up history, lets just say the Erie Canal pissed off the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
The two cities sports history has been one for the ages, from Babe Ruth to the Butt Fumble there have been plenty of topics to discuss for both cities. When it comes to football, the Patriots and Jets rivalry dates back to the old AFL days. They will play for the 113th time (including playoffs) Sunday at Gillette stadium, with the Patriots holding the overall record of 58-53-1. New England has had the upper hand as of late, but the Jets are ready to play under new head coach Todd Bowels.
The Patriots and Jets are about to embark on the toughest test for either team in the early stages of the season. For the Patriots, they have had the fortune of playing teams that have had issues with opposing players not being on the field, look no further than the firepower missing from the Steelers and Cowboys, For the Jets, they haven’t played a team with a winning record to date. It’s a battle for first place in the AFC East, between two team that don’t like each other.
What to expect out of the Patriots
The Patriots will attack this Jets team, much the same way they attacked the Buffalo Bills earlier this season. The Jets have a front as athletic and tough to run against as the Bills. In the Bills game the Patriots chose to spread the ball out and attack the Bills horizontally with the short pass game, negating Buffalo’s aggressive front. Tom Brady dropped back and threw the ball 59 times compared to 15 rushing attempts. The plan worked against the Bills, however a unwillingness to run the ball almost came back to haunt the Patriots, as a sack and two fourth down failed conversions allowed the Bills to get back into the game. The Jets present a different challenge should Josh McDaniels decide to come up with the same plan. The challenge is Revis Island, who is still one of the best corners in the game. Revis will most likely be lined up against Julian Edleman. Revis is adept at covering the out route and the crossing route and his closing speed is amazing. If Edleman is to have an impact in this game it will be on screens and rub routes. If Julian can get into space against Revis he could do some damage.
Rob Gronkowski was shut out in the first half against the Colts. He still manage three catches for 50 yards and a touchdown in the second half. Against the Jets, Gronk is going up against a defense that has allowed a total of 10 receptions by tight ends this season. That stat is pretty impressive, however the Jets have no faced a tight end with the skills of Rob Gronkowski. Gronk is at his best when he get a step on the linebacker and rumbles up the middle of the field. The Patriots will try and move Gronk around to create mismatches. Gronkowski will get his catches, most likely catch a touchdown but again he will do his most damage opening up the middle of the field. The player to benifit the most will be Danny Amendola. Fresh off a seven reception 107 yard performance versus the Colts, Amendola is playing well. If Amendola is line up against Antonio Cromartie it’s a win for DA all day long. Brandon LaFell who was activated from the PUP list on Saturday adds another weapon for the Patriots. Expect him to be eased back in on offense. There have been reports that Dion Lewis will be out Sunday with an abdominal injury, if that is the case it will thrust second year player James White into the passing back roll.
We have all heard it a million times, the Patriots will take away what you do best, for the Jets that is running the ball. Chris Ivory leads the league in yards per game at 115. The Patriots need to stop the run and Make Ryan Fitzpatrick beat them. Donta Hightower will be a game time decision. If he is in the lineup stopping the run becomes a little easier.The key for the Patriots will be to shut down Ivory, and get a lead. The Patriots can not afford to keep the Jets hanging around, allowing them to rush and pass at will.
Brandon Marshall will be a tough test for the Patriots secondary. Malcolm Butler has shown signs that he can lock horns with the best. Butler is not a finished product yet, but he is good enough to win his share of match ups. The Patriots will most likely play a two deep safety defense. Allowing both the Patriots safeties to cover half of the field. If the Patriots have to bring an eighth man down in the box to stop the run,it will open up the deep play action pass to Marshall or Eric Decker. In the end the Patriots are still the better team. That is why I am picking New England to defend home field and win this game 24-21.
If you would like to listen to my audio coverage of this game. You can listen by clicking this link. Patriots Beat Podcast