NY Jets vs. NE Patriots: Reasons This Is a Do-or-Die Game for Gang Green
The New York Jets have struggled through six games of the 2012-2013 NFL season. Inconsistency on offense has led to fans and members of the media calling for Mark Sanchez to be replaced by Tim Tebow. At times, holes in the defense have also allowed opposing teams to be able to score at will when playing the Jets.
Despite their mighty struggles so far this season, the Jets find themselves tied for the division lead with a record of 3-3. If the Jets want to turn the season around and make a run for the playoffs and an NFL championship, now is the time.
The Jets cannot wait to make a statement to the NFL that they are a contender and not a pretender. If the Jets want to have a chance at making this season as a successful one, they must defeat the New England Patriots on Sunday.
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After defeating the struggling Indianapolis Colts 35-9 last weekend, the Jets come into their matchup with the Patriots flying high. Their 35-point outburst, lead by Shonn Greene (161 yards, 3 TD), was the Jets' highest point total since Week 1 of the season.
The Jets were able to get their stagnant rushing game going against the Colts for nearly the first time all season. The emergence of Shonn Greene against the Colts also led to something else the Jets have not seen all year—a confident Mark Sanchez.
Sanchez, who has looked out of sorts at times this season, started to look confident in the pocket once again.
Greene's emergence took pressure off of Sanchez and the Jets depleted receiving corps, allowing them to gain confidence and fall into a rhythm. The confidence they gained during the game against the Colts will be a big factor in whether or not the Jets are able to succeed moving forward.
The Jets need to be able to keep that swagger and confidence throughout the Patriots game and past it. If they lose it they might not find it again this season.
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In recent history, the Jets-Patriots rivalry has decided the winner of the AFC East, and this season appears to be no different. However, with all four teams in the division sitting at 3-3, anything could happen in this division.
Every game is crucial, especially when in a tight division race early in the season. If the Jets want to stay atop the division, they need to defeat the Patriots. The Jets cannot afford to spot a team like the Patriots, off year or not, a game lead in the division.
In the end, every game becomes crucial and a spot in the playoffs could come down to one early season game between two rivals.
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It is time to cover the elephant sitting in the corner—Tim Tebow.
Despite repeatedly standing by Sanchez as the Jets starting quarterback, the fact that Tebow is waiting in the wings for his opportunity puts additional pressure on the Jets and coach Rex Ryan. Tebow-mania is starting to take full flight in New York. Do not expect it to end anytime soon.
That is, do not expect it to end unless Sanchez is able to string together several wins, including a crucial one over the Patriots. Sanchez partially silenced the critics by leading the Jets to victory last week and completing 11-of-18 passes. If he struggles on Sunday, those critics will not be silenced for long.
Those critics can affect a locker room as well as a players' mentality. If a rift is created in the locker room between guys who support different players to start at QB, then the season will go downhill very fast.
A controversy within the media, as well as reporters and fans calling for a young quarterback to be replaced, can weigh heavily on a player and impact his play. If the Jets want to keep their young starter confident and their team unified under the reign of Sanchez, a win is a must this weekend.
Old Fashioned Rivalry: Keep the Fans in the Season
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Jets fans haven't had much to brag about so far this season. A win over the Patriots would not only give them that, but it would also give the fans and the team faith once again. After being highly touted as a team to beat in the offseason, injuries and all-around struggles have plagued the Jets so far this year.
Nothing truly re-energizes a fanbase like defeating an old rival. If the Jets want to find the energy that was in the stadium during the preseason and in Week 1, they need a win.
While it may not seem like a crucial factor, players love to play in stadiums that are rocking. The players feed off the energy of the crowd. It motivates them and makes them want to play harder. If the players truly hate coming home to play games on Sundays then they will pack it in, hoping for a better next year.
If the Jets want to turn this season around they have to get the fans back into the game, and nothing would do that like a win in New England.