New York's three-game winning streak began following these two teams' last battle. The Patriots won that one pretty handily, 30-21, using a punishing running game, an incredible third-down defense and a highly efficient Tom Brady (72.7 completion percentage).
Coming into this game, however, the tables have turned.
It is now the Jets who boast a strong running game. It is now the Jets who are being discussed as the best in the AFC East following their undressing of the upstart Buffalo Bills last Sunday.
With back-to-back losses against the Pittsburgh Steelers and New York Giants, the Patriots season is on the verge of collapse. There is nothing the Jets would like more than to be the straw that broke the camel's back for the 2011 Patriots. They did it last year in the divisional round of the playoffs, and they want to do it again here.
In order to win this game the Jets will need to be nearly flawless, and they will need these five struggling players to step their games up.