The New England Patriots and New York Jets are looking to gain the upper-hand in a four-way tie in the AFC East, making the rivalry between these two teams as heated as ever. Kick-off time for today’s game is set at 4:25 p.m. ET in front of nearly 70,000 fans at Gillette Stadium. It’s going to be a great game to watch between these two 3-3 teams, and I bet all of you guys are looking forward to it at least as much as I am.
You can tune in to WBZ-TV Channel 4 in Boston or watch the game on CBS with Jim Nantz and Phil Simms calling the game. You can also listen in to the game on 98.5 FM The Sports Hub, and Dial Global Sports will be broadcasting the game via radio to a national audience. Former Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mark Malone and Kevin Kugler will call it. As usual, Sports USA will also be broadcasting the game. Ross Tucker, one of my personal favorites, and Bob Fitzgerald will be calling that one.
The Patriots will be without Brandon Bolden, Steve Gregory, and Tracy White in this game. In response to White’s injury, the Pats signed Jeff Tarpinian off the practice squad and made room for him by releasing backup center and former Boston College standout Matt Tennant.
Patriots Pass Offense vs. Jets Pass Defense
Antonio Cromartie has really picked up the slack in the absence of the best corner in the league, and he has done an excellent job in his own right. We’ll be seeing him matched up against Brandon Lloyd for much of the game, and Lloyd is one of those extremely gifted receivers who can make terrific catches downfield to help make up for stifling coverage. I don’t expect Lloyd to have too much of a say in this game, other than directing Cromartie away from the other receivers and opening things up for the tight ends and Wes Welker.
Speaking of Wes, he can tie Jerry Rice for the most games with at least ten catches in a career. Currently, the Patriots slot receiver extraordinaire has 16 of such games, which is tied with former Pats nemesis Marvin Harrison for second on the all-time list. I really like Welker’s chances at achieving that goal in this game, because the players he will be matched up against are not nearly as good as the safeties and nickel corner (Marcus Trufant) that Welker was being covered by in Seattle.
Aaron Hernandez showed that he is healthy and ready to go after catching a touchdown pass last week, and he should also have a big game against the Jets safeties. LaRon Landry usually plays closer to the line of scrimmage, and there is a reason why plenty of teams were lukewarm regarding the prospects of veteran strong safety Yeremiah Bell. He can effectively play the run, brings a good locker room presence, and he can blitz. But, as with most blitzing safeties, he can’t cover. And that’s something both Hernandez and Rob Gronkowksi can take full advantage of. Although, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Gronk stay in and block quite a bit given that Rex Ryan will likely be bringing the heat with his safeties.
The Jets pass rush lacks much of a punch outside of creative defensive back blitzes and a rookie defensive end out of UNC. This player is Quinton Coples, and he is clearly the most explosive defensive lineman on the Jets and their best pass rushing presence. The Jets were “supposed” to take Chandler Jones in the first-round but passed him up for Coples. Needless to say, I’m happy with how things ended up for the Pats, but Coples is a talented pass rusher in his own right. The Jets have finally given him the snaps, and he has produced. However, I like our offensive line a lot more than the Jets pass rushers, and the Pats have plenty of blocking ability at the tight end position as well.
Continue reading to check out the full breakdown of the game and the final prediction.
You can follow Joe Soriano on Twitter @SorianoJoe.