New England Patriots: Keys to Patriots Victory vs. Jets in Week 7
The Patriots host a familiar divisional foe this week. Despite key injuries to shut-down corner Darrelle Revis and standout receiver Santonio Holmes, the Jets are tough competition. Rex Ryan always brings his A-game against the rival Patriots, and this week should be no different.
New York has scratched and clawed their way to a (3-3) record, good enough for a four-way tie atop the AFC East. The Jets once again have a tough defence, their front seven is stout, and Antonio Cromartie leads an aggressive secondary. The Jets pummelled the Andrew Luck led Colts, and hung in tough against the first-place Texans. Expect the Patriots and their No. 1 ranked offence to have their work cut out for them against a feisty New York squad.
Stop the Run
The Colts made Shonn Greene look like Earl Campbell last week. He rumbled and tumbled through their defence like it was no one's business. The Patriots have been good at stopping the run; they rank sixth allowing a measly 82.7 yards a game.
Vince Wilfork and company need to spend their afternoon in the Jets' backfield. With Mark Sanchez being forced to throw the ball downfield, the Jets don't stand much of a chance against Tom Brady in a shootout.
Get the Tight Ends Involved Often and Early
Plain and simple: Gronkowski and Hernandez are the backbone of the Patriot's offence. They represent mismatches all over the field. Both are too fast for linebackers and too strong for safeties.
Truth is, Gronkowski isn't the same player without Hernandez on the field, and the results have shown this season. Despite reports of a "limited" snap count in Week 6, Hernandez came to play, he was targeted all over the field and finished with six catches and a score.
The Jets spent their summer looking at tape and brought in safeties LaRon Landry and Yeremiah Bell to help defend the Pats' two-headed monster. Despite these additions, look for Brady to key in on his tight ends, especially in the red-zone. Don't be surprised to see Daniel Fells join in on the party with a key catch or two.
Pass Rush, Pass Rush, Pass Rush.
Mark Sanchez is a below-average quarterback. Quite frankly, Rex Ryan is the only person on this planet who thinks otherwise. The Patriots need to force Mark Sanchez into poor decisions. Pressuring the quarterback is the best way to do so. With a limited receiving core, a 70.3 QB Rating and a laughable 49 percent completion percentage, Sanchez and the Jets simply do not present a threat through the air.
With time, however, Sanchez can make the plays necessary to move the chains and put points on the board. Stephen Hill is a freakish athlete and if put in a position to make plays he can make the Patriots pay. The Patriots secondary only ranks 28th allowing 288 yards through the air.
The best secondary is often a good pass rush. Look for Chandler Jones, an early DROY candidate, to get a few licks in on Mark Sanchez .
Special Teams Battle
The Jets' special teams coach Mike Westhoff is one of the best in the business. Running back Joe McKnight is also no slouch in the return game. Patriots special team ace Matt Slater will need to continue to play at a pro bowl level and limit the Jets' field position. The longer Zoltan Mesko stays on the sidelines, the more points the Patriots will put on the scoreboard.
Don't be surprised to see the Jets attempt some trickery similar to how they involved Tim Tebow against the Colts last week.
Despite his limitations as a passer Tim Tebow is an effective football player. End of discussion. The guy simply wins football games. Last year when the Broncos faced the Pats in Week 15, Tim Tebow ran wild for 93 yards and two scores.
Whether on special teams, lining up as a running back or playing the wild cat, Tebow needs to be accounted for. Rex Ryan likes to bring different looks when he faces the Patriots so don't be surprised to see Tebow in an expanded role.