Jets vs. Patriots: 5 Keys for New York to Upset New England
New England has won three of the last four games against the New York Jets. The last time they lost to the Jets was in the 2011 divisional playoff round, 28-21.
Both teams are currently 3-3 and in a four-way tie in the AFC East. A win this week would be key in the divisional and playoff races.
New York has been struggling this year, losing star players Santonio Holmes and Darrelle Revis. If the Jets want to upset the Patriots this week, there are several keys they need to focus on.
5. Tom Brady Needs to Feel the Pressure
The Jets pass rush has not been good up to this point.
New York currently only has nine sacks on the season, which is 27th in the league. If the Jets want to make Tom Brady struggle, the pass rush needs to be there.
Seattle showed that the Super Bowl winning quarterback is not immortal, and enough pressure will cause him to make some bad throws. Brady was sacked twice last week and also threw two interceptions.
Quinton Coples will be key for the Jets to get pressure on Brady. Coples finally had his breakout game last week, sacking Andrew Luck twice in the blowout against Indianapolis.
If Coples and company can put this kind of pressure on Brady, good things will happen.
4. Special Teams Needs to Execute
This is not saying that the Jets need to fake every punt they can.
Coach Mike Westhoff is considered one of the best special teams coaches in the NFL. Westhoff has utilized Tim Tebow very effectively so far this season, having him run and pass on fake punts. His versatility helps the punt team even when he doesn't have the ball.
The threat of Tebow makes the opposing team much more conservative, especially in terms of blocking punts.
Special teams can make or break a game. The Jets need to focus on not messing up by fumbling returns and not covering the opposing team's returners. If the Jets can stick to their fundamentals, they can avoid a gut shot on special teams.
3. Establish a Running Game
Mark Sanchez plays best when the play action is working. In order for the play action to be effective, the running game needs to be working.
The Jets were able to develop a strong running game last week against the Colts. Shonn Greene had a great day, running for 161 yards and three touchdowns.
New England has the league's fifth-best rush defense in terms of yards allowed per game at 82.7. The Jets need to develop the running game early and often, by giving Greene carries.
The Jets might also consider utilizing Tebow in the running game to keep the defense thinking. If either one of them can break a big run, Sanchez could find himself with a more open field.
2. Stephen Hill Must Get the Ball
The Jets do not have many options at this point at wide receiver.
Santonio Holmes was placed on IR with a Lisfranc injury, and without him, this group of receivers feels very empty.
Stephen Hill, the rookie out of Georgia Tech, will need to make an impact on offense if they want to move the ball against the Patriots' defense.
New England has been known the past few years for having a poor pass defense. Currently, opposing quarterbacks have a QB rating of 100.9, one of the worst in the league.
Hill has missed some time due to a hamstring injury, but he seemed to be fine last week against Indianapolis. Expect Sanchez to look for Hill a lot in this game.
1. Sanchez Needs to Look Deep
The deep ball will be the most important thing for New York to capitalize on this week.
In just six weeks, the New England Patriots have given up 33 passes for 20 yards or more. That's more than six big passing plays a game.
Russell Wilson was able to beat the Patriots deep on several plays last week, including the game-winning touchdown to Sidney Rice.
The Patriots secondary struggles on deep throws, and the Jets need to find a way to hit their receivers down the field.
If the run game is working for New York this week, expect to see Sanchez throwing deep on a lot of play-action fakes. If Sanchez can make these big throws, expect a win for New York.