Heading into the Meadowlands coming off two straight losses, with a plethora of injuries to key players such as Brandon Spikes, Patrick Chung and rookie standout Nate Solder, the Patriots will need to play their best ball if they want to beat the red hot New York Jets. Here is a look at a few keys to Sunday's AFC east showdown.
Establish Running Game
The Jets rank 21st in the league in rushing defense, allowing an average of 123 yards per game. The Pats should infuse a heavy dose of both BenJarvis Green-Ellis (4.2 yards per carry) and Stevan Ridley (6.1 yards per carry), and establish a running game early. A formidable running attack should open up the pass game a bit and also allow the Pats to dictate the pace of the game.
Build On Last Week's Defensive Performance
Excluding the Giants' last offensive drive last week in which they marched down the field in the final minutes and delivered the game-winning TD strike, the Patriots actually played solid defense, allowing only 250 yards throw the air.
The Patriots will be without Brandon Spikes and possibly Patrick Chung on Sunday, so this team will need to dig down deep to perform at a high level on defense.
Tom Brady Needs to Be, Well...Tom Brady
Brady has struggled early in games as of late, and if there is any team that matches up great with the Patriots offense, it's the Jets defense. This will be a great challenge for the struggling Patriots offense.
Someone Aside from Welker and Gronk Needs to Step Up
I almost included Hernandez in this title, but truthfully he hasn't looked 100 percent since his injury a few weeks back. If Hernandez can play at 100 percent, the Jets defense might be in for a long day.
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