The New England Patriots face off against the New York Jets in a meaningful division game for the first time in many years. After years of the boasting and braggadocio of Rex Ryan in New York, the Patriots face a disciplined, under-control and winning Jets team on Sunday afternoon.
Head coach Todd Bowles–who the Miami Dolphins had in house as an interim coach and instead passed on him for Joe Philbin before the 2012 season–has turned around the Jets on and off the field. This is a team which has been loaded with individual talent but who took on the persona of their head coach and played sloppy, undisciplined and inconsistent football.
Tom Brady last faced a Todd Bowles defense on Christmas Eve in 2011 while Bowles was interim head coach of the Miami Dolphins after the collapse of the Tony Sparano era in Miami. The Dolphins jumped out to a 17-0 halftime lead in that game before the Patriots stormed back with 27 unanswered points in a 27-24 win.
Bowles has had the Jets playing to their potential on both sides of the football as they have defeated the Browns, dominated the Colts, beat-up the Dolphins and crushed the Redskins with just a loss to the Eagles in week three marring their season. This is a big game for New England in the division as the Jets are playing a last place schedule and have only the Patriots and Cowboys (in week 15) as the only remaining 2014 playoff teams on their schedule.
Both teams are keeping the pregame boasting to a minimum which is a welcome change with the Jets coming to town after the ridiculous hype engendered by the Eric Mangini and Rex Ryan coached teams of the past decade. Since both teams are focusing on the game on the field, let’s do the same and investigate both teams and what to watch for on Sunday and the game score prediction at the end of the analysis: