The 9-2 New England Patriots will host the 9-2 New York Jets on Monday Night Football. Both teams share the best overall record in the AFC. Dubbed “The marquee game of the year” by Jets coach Rex Ryan, this game will surely not disappoint. The winner will most likely win the AFC East and the loser will most likely have to play on the road, as the wildcard team, to open the playoffs.
The Jets are coming off a Thanksgiving game against the Bengals where they were actually able to win it in regulation without some sort of miracle. The Patriots are also coming off a Thanksgiving win where they woke up in the second half and trounced the Lions.
On paper, the Jets win this game based on statistics. However, the game is still played on the field and you can never count out the Patriots when Tom Brady is at the helm. Coming into this week, Brady has 23 TD’s to 4 Int’s and has the offense rolling by distributing the ball to the open receiver and relying on the short passing game to move the chains.
Patriots versus the Jets is always a huge game regardless of overall records and here are a few
keys to the game:
Patriots Tight Ends Vs. Jets Secondary
The loss of safety Jim Leonhard was a crushing blow to the New York Jets. Leonhard’s worth cannot be measured. He has excelled in this defense for years with the Ravens and now the Jets. The 2-headed TE monster of Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez will give the Jets fits all day long. The size of Gronkowski and the speed of Hernandez will be used to the Patriots advantage as they look to exploit the expected matchup problems. In the previous meeting, Hernandez went for 101 yards receiving on 6 receptions.
Jets Running Game Vs Patriots Defense
The Jets will control the game if they can control the line of scrimmage. Keeping the Patriots offense off the field will benefit the Jets tremendously. The Patriots will need to prove they can stop the run since they have been unable to stop the pass all season. The Jets are 2nd in the NFL averaging 148 yards rushing per game. The Patriot’s defense ranks 16th (110 yards) in the NFL in rushing yards allowed.
Mark Sanchez Vs Tom Brady.
Sanchez clearly won the matchup earlier in the season moving the ball at will against a battered Patriots defense. The 2 Int’s Brady threw marked the first time Brady has thrown more than 1 Int in a game against the Jets. A lot has changed since the last meeting. Brady has rekindled his inner dink and dunk style of passing attack and the rushing attack of BJGE and Danny Woodhead has emerged onto the scene taking some pressure off of Brady. Mark Sanchez started the season without throwing an Int in the first 5 games and now has thrown 8 in the last 6. Sanchez will need to limit mistakes and take advantage of the opportunities given to him in order to lead his team to victory. While the Patriot’s defense may be 31st overall in passing, they have been known to make a big play at an opportune time.
Stephen Neal has been placed on IR ending his season.
Myron Pryor (back), Jonathan Wilhite (hip), and Mike Wright (concussion) are listed as Questionable.
Tom Brady (foot/shoulder) is listed as Probable.
Jim Leonhard broke his leg in practice this week and has been placed on IR.
Dwight Lowery (concussion) and Damien Woody (knee) are listed as Questionable.
Stats that may or may not shock you:
The Jets and Patriots have played 103 times. New York leads the series with a 51-50-1 record.
The Patriots have won 9 or more games 14 out of the 17 seasons the Kraft’s have owned the team.
Rob Gronkowski already owns the Patriot record for TD receptions by a rookie TE with 6. The previous high was 4 held by Russ Francis and Don Hasselbeck.
The Jets’ offense averages more yards (361.6) per game than the Patriots (349.2)
The Patriots and Jets have only played 6 times on MNF with New York leading with a 4-2 record.
Since 2001, the Patriots led the NFL with a 56-14 record in games played on or after Thanksgiving.
Tom Brady has thrown for over 300 yards only once (11-22-09) against the Jets.
The Patriots lead the NFL with 30.4 points scored per game.
The Jets are 4th in the NFL with 17 points allowed per game.
Tom Brady has tied a franchise record with 6 straight games without an interception.
The Jets defense is 3rd in the NFL giving up only 296.9 total yards per game.