Mark Sanchez needs to duplicate his performance in Week 7 for the Jets to have a chance.
The Jets (4-6) enter Week 12 with dismal playoff chances in the balance.
They’re staring down a virtual must-win scenario against the Patriots (7-3) at MetLife Stadium on Thanksgiving night.
The Jets need to win at least five of their final six contests in the regular season to sneak into the postseason.
It's a prototypical opportunity for Brady and Co. to assert continued dominance against their archrival.
The Patriots have beaten the Jets three consecutive times dating back to two seasons ago when the Jets upended the Patriots in the divisional playoffs.
That was a serious statement game for the Jets, who have a chance to get revenge against the Patriots after a bitter defeat in October.
The Week 7 matchup that pitted the Jets in New England marked the turning point for both teams this season.
The Jets stormed back from a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter to take a three-point lead with under one minute left in regulation, but they would eventually fold.
New York let a legitimate opportunity to take control of the AFC East slip out of their hands when wide receiver Stephen Hill dropped a potential game-winning touchdown pass in regulation.
Instead, the Jets would crumble in overtime before then losing their next two games by a combined total of 42 points. The Patriots haven't lost since.
Thanksgiving night presents the Jets with a tremendous opportunity to beat the Patriots and peel off unyielding scrutiny—at least for now.
Are the Jets good enough to beat the Patriots?
Superstar tight end Rob Gronkowski is out for four to six weeks, crippling a Patriots offense that is extremely reliant on its brute tight ends.
Still, don’t expect Hernandez to be stretching the field in his first game back after being inactive for the majority of the past two months.
Instead, running back Stevan Ridley and slot receiver Wes Welker should prove to be the focus of the Patriots’ offensive game plan.
Ridley ran for just 65 yards on 17 carries in Week 7, but he's averaging 4.6 yards per carry on the season and is about to face a defense that yields 141.9 rushing yards per game.
Welker had six catches for 66 yards against the Jets in their first matchup and has caught at least six passes in eight consecutive games, although he’s currently listed as questionable for Thursday’s game, according to the Boston Globe.
Who will win this Week 12 matchup?
It would be surprising if Welker doesn’t have an impact on Thanksgiving, though.
Mark Sanchez delivered a solid performance against the Patriots five weeks ago, throwing for 328 yards and a touchdown while rallying his offense to nearly complete a gritty comeback.
Sanchez needs to duplicate that performance if the Jets are going to win on Thanksgiving.
The Jets’ defense has a chance to slow down an offense that averages 35.8 points per game, but they won’t be able to do so if they can’t put pressure on Brady.
The Jets have recorded just 17 sacks all season and will need to tally a few more than they average to split the season series with New England.
The Patriots are being forced to re-adjust on offense during a short week as they head into the Meadowlands to face a desperate football team.
The Jets are desperate to prove doubters wrong.
Rex Ryan is desperate to stave off the hot seat. Mark Sanchez is desperate to keep Tebow on the bench and out of his huddle, and Jets fans are desperate for something to feel good about.
The Jets are a team on the brink, but that doesn't mean they can't win on Thanksgiving night.