Jets vs. Patriots: 5 Key Players to a Gang Green Victory

Louis Musto@LouisMustoContributor IIINovember 12, 2011

Jets vs. Patriots: 5 Key Players to a Gang Green Victory

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    For the New York Jets and New England Patriots, the biggest game of their season is here—and it’s not going to be an easy one. In every matchup between these teams, there are always very pivotal moments in the game that decide who walks out of the stadium as the victor.

    Many times it is a key player making the perfect play at the perfect time, ripping the game from their opponent’s hands in an instance.

    Against a team like the Patriots, the Jets will need their secondary to continue to be its very best while the pass rush forces Tom Brady into dangerous throws that could prove to be those game-changing instances.

    This Patriots team is not going to go without a fight—the Jets will need key players to step up to capture the big win at home. Here’s a look at those key players.

Sione Pouha

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    If the Jets wish to beat the Patriots, they cannot afford to allow BenJarvus Green-Ellis to rush for 136 yards and two scores on them like they did in Week 5.

    For that to happen, they will need their nose tackle, Sione Pouha to lead the charge against the Patriots and their strong running game.

    Gang Green did a great job of containing one of the league’s best rushers in Fred Jackson to minimal impact in their Week 9 victory over the Buffalo Bills. They will need to tighten up and do much of the same against Green-Ellis in order to walk away unscathed.

    That success against the run starts in the middle with Sione Pouha.

Shonn Greene

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    The Jets don’t need Shonn Greene to be spectacular, they just need him to be productive. So far this season, he’s been inconsistent.

    His best performance this season may have come this past week against the Bills. Had it not been for a 42-yard run that was called back for holding, Greene would have attained his second straight 100-yard game of the season.  

    Greene can get back on track with a big day against the Patriots, but their run defense is one of the better units in the NFL and likely won’t allow that to happen.

    The Jets just need him to run well enough to control the game clock and keep the ball out of Tom Brady’s hands.

Jim Leonhard

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    Safety Jim Leonhard got beat badly on a few plays the last time these two teams met, specifically in zone coverage on Wes Welker.

    The Jets cannot afford blown coverage deep down the field, especially against the NFL’s top receiver right now.

    Welker finished the Jets off in Week 5 with a big day. He had five receptions for 124 yards of Tom Brady’s 321 passing yards, though it's worth noting that all of those numbers did not come while covered by the Jets safety.

    Leonhard will need to stay disciplined in the zone and avoid any blown coverage—otherwise his failures could be a big success through the air for Tom Brady and company.

Calvin Pace

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    The New York Giants proved that if you can get to Tom Brady, you can beat him. The Jets, who are 2-0 against the Patriots at home, have proven that in the past as well.

    That’s why the Jets will need their sack leader, linebacker Calvin Pace, to do all he can to make sure that Tom Brady is throwing off his back foot all afternoon. In the Week 5 meeting between these two teams, Pace went sackless, but the Jets did record four sacks on Brady.

    That pressure enabled the Jets to keep close. In their Week 10 rematch, the Jets need more. Look for Pace to lead the rush on a struggling Patriots offensive line.

Mark Sanchez

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    Mark Sanchez's play has not been great this season, but he has played well enough to guide the Jets to a 5-3 record. The young quarterback from USC is still developing. He's shown progress from week-to-week, and the Jets will need some more of that progress to show in this huge game with the Patriots.

    The Jets need Sanchez to be more accurate than he has been all year—he has completed just 57.5 percent of his passes this season. In the Jets and Patriots’ last meeting, Sanchez played well, completing 16-of-26 passes for 166 yards and two touchdowns.

    Unfortunately, that was not good enough for a victory, but his ability to avoid costly mistakes is something the Jets will need from Sanchez once again.

    With the Pats pass defense being the worst in the NFL, Sanchez should be able to have a great day and lead the Jets to victory.