In 2012, the Jets lost their first game against the Patriots 29-26 in overtime. However, the Thanksgiving night rematch was not close. Instead, it produced embarrassing moments like Mark Sanchez's "Butt Fumble" and the fans' halftime "salute." Linebacker Bart Scott completed the public relations nightmare with his "dodgeball" comment.
By the way, the Jets lost that game, 49-19.
The teams' Foxborough matchup was eerily similar to 2012, at least in the Patriots' margin of victory. This year, however, the Jets didn't lose a lead. Instead, they lost a 13-10 battle in which Geno Smith threw three fourth-quarter interceptions.
However, that game gave Jets fans hope that the team could compete with playoff-level opponents.
A repeat of 2012's "Thanksgiving night massacre" would not sustain that hope. That wouldn't be a good way for the Jets to begin the most difficult part of their schedule. After the Patriots, the Jets face the Cincinnati Bengals and New Orleans Saints.
However, it's best to focus on one game at a time. Here's a quick comparison of the Jets and Patriots:
- They have 3-0 records against common opponents Atlanta, Buffalo and Tampa Bay. The Jets' combined margin of victory is 10 points, 75-65. The Patriots' combined victory margin is 29 points, 76-47. That includes a 23-3 victory over Tampa Bay, whom the Jets beat 18-17.
- The Patriots have a 1-1 record against Cincinnati and New Orleans, teams with a combined 9-3 record, whom the Jets have yet to face. The Jets are 0-2 against teams with a combined 4-7 record, the Pittsburgh Steelers and Tennessee Titans.
- Within the AFC East, the Patriots are 2-0, the Jets are 1-1. In conference play, the Patriots are 2-1 to the Jets' 1-3.
- The Patriots turnover ratio is plus-five while the Jets' turnover ratio is minus-11.
Believe it or not, the Patriots are only four-point favorites. That might be because of the game's MetLife Stadium location, the defensive nature of the last game, and the possible absence of Patriots' cornerback Aqib Talib, defensive tackle Tommy Kelly, tight end Rob Gronkowski and wide receiver Danny Amendola. Linebacker Jerod Mayo is the latest Patriot to succumb to season-ending injury, joining defensive tackle Vince Wilfork.
However, after their Week 6 comeback win against New Orleans, the Patriots' offense may finally be hitting its stride. That, despite injuries to key defensive personnel, could make this game a long afternoon for the Jets, especially if the Jets beat themselves with turnovers.
I hope I'm wrong, but I think the Patriots will prevail. Brady will take a page from Matt Ryan's book and nibble his way down the field, wearing down the Jets defense and killing clock. That will minimize the chances Geno Smith has against the Patriots' undermanned defense.
It won't be as bad as last Thanksgiving, but it will be decisive. Patriots 31, Jets 17.
But if some of the following predictions go the Jets' way, the score could be much closer.