The New York Jets (3-3) have lost five consecutive games against the New England Patriots (6-1), dating back to the 2010 AFC divisional playoffs when Gang Green stunned its archrival in hostile territory.
Sunday's matchup at New Meadowlands Stadium features a distinct contrast of depth between rosters. The Patriots defense is banged up, but the Jets offense is void of playmakers.
No. 1 wide receiver Santonio Holmes will miss his third consecutive game for the Jets. Tight end Kellen Winslow continues to serve a suspension. In addition, speedy tailback Mike Goodson is done for the season after suffering an ACL and MCL tear in the team's Week 6 loss against the Steelers.
The Patriots will be without stud linebacker Jarod Mayo, who will be replaced by Dont'a Hightower in the base package. Hightower will serve as the Patriots signal-caller on defense in the wake of Mayo's injury.
Hightower has played in 69.2 percent of the Patriots' defensive snaps, according to Mike Reiss of ESPNBoston.com, but doesn't typically play in nickel and dime situations.
The Patriots like to use sub packages, lining up in the 4-2-5 or 3-3-5 on 69 percent of their defensive snaps this season, according to ESPNBoston.com. These are the types of defenses that have the tendency to confuse rookie quarterback Geno Smith.
The Steelers (1-4) blitzed five or more pass-rushers on just 10 plays against the Jets, but did enough to make him feel uncomfortable in the pocket. Steelers defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau's game plan signified confidence that Smith would inevitably commit costly mistakes on his own, which he did.
The Jets have ran 46 and 58 offensive snaps respectively in their past two contests. They manage to put up 30 points on the Falcons (1-4), despite the offense being on the sideline for a majority of the game.
This is why the Jets need to run the football more often in Week 7. The Patriots rank 24th in rush defense, giving up 118.8 yards per game and are also banged up on the defensive line.
It'll be important for New York to win the time of possession battle in order to take some pressure off the team's defense and also slow down the Patriots' uptempo offensive attack.
However, that's a rare occurrence for the Jets, who have mostly struggled to generate offense in 2013. New York doesn't feature the firepower on offense necessary to compete register a big number on the scoreboard on a consistent basis, which increases the amount of pressure put forth on the defense.
The Jets are also the most penalized team in the NFL, recording a whopping total of 55 flags in six games. This is characteristic of a losing football team. On the flip side, the Patriots have been the fifth-fewest penalized team this season (26).
The most astounding statistic the Jets boast on defense is the total number of sacks and tackles for the loss they've accumulated in six games. They rank No. 1 in the NFL, recording a combined total of 46 in that category, according to ESPNNewYork.com.
If the Jets are going to beat the Patriots on Sunday, they need to play clean football and pressure future Hall of Fame quarterback Tom Brady into succumbing to pressure in the backfield.
However, the Jets also need to win the turnover battle. New York has mounted a pathetic total of three takeaways in six games, a number than Smith has more than quadrupled on his own.
Who will win this Week 7 matchup?
The Jets are 0-7 against the Patriots during the Rex Ryan era when losing the turnover battle, a defining characteristic of a team that could be on the brink of another epic tailspin if it fails to win in Week 7.
New York has lost by at least 21 points in each of their previous three games against the Patriots when playing for the second time of the season, signifying a monstrous coaching advantage in favor of the Patriots.
Brady threw for just 185 yards on 19 completions in the Patriots' Week 2 win over the Jets, but did not turn the ball over. Look for Brady to excel in a short passing attack against the Jets, who constantly rush the quarterback.
In the Jets' past two games, they've allowed quarterbacks Matt Ryan and Ben Roethlisberger to complete 74.7 percent of their pass attempts, often leaving the middle of the field wide open due to a blitz-happy defensive game plan.
To compare, Tony Gonzalez caught 10 balls for 97 yards against the Jets in Week 5. He was often double-covered, but drew several penalty flags as a direct result of the Jets' aggressive coverage plan.
The Patriots ultimately have a distinct advantage over the Jets, in spite of several key injuries on defense. The most notable defensive player for the Patriots in this matchup will be defensive lineman Rob Ninkovich, who has a history of wreaking havoc on the Jets.
New York's offense is also mediocre at best, a derivative of Smith's constant tendency to turn over the football.