Three key matchups for the Patriots as they take on the Jets
By Fran Brown
The Patriots travel to Metlife Stadium this week to take on the surging New York Jets as they look to forget a rough loss to the Chicago Bears on Monday night. The Jets have won four in a row to take a 5-2 record into this matchup but will be without three key players. Rookie running back Breece Hall tore his ACL and starting guard Alijah Vera-Tucker tore his triceps in last week’s victory in Denver while leading receiver Corey Davis was ruled out today with a knee injury. The Jets have taken advantage of injury problems with other teams during their four-game winning streak but now will have to deal with the injuries themselves.
The Patriots, meanwhile, are dealing with injury problems of their own. In today’s injury report, it was declared that defensive lineman Christian Barmore would miss his second straight game with a knee injury while center David Andrews would miss the game after suffering a concussion during Monday’s loss. It’s the loss of Andrews that leads us to the first key matchup of the game.
Key matchups for the Patriots in week eight
James Ferentz/Cole Strange/Mike Onwenu vs. Quinnen Williams
This would’ve been a tough matchup for the Patriots interior offensive line even if Andrews was healthy. In his fourth season, Williams is on pace to have the best year of his career as he’s already racked up five sacks, four tackles for loss and 13 quarterback hits. He’s come a long way since his post-draft interview.
On the Patriots side, Ferentz will fill in for Andrews and should see a lot of different looks from the Jets front. While Ferentz has only played 16 snaps all season, this will be his seventh start as a Patriot over the past four seasons. Williams will also be a big test for rookie Cole Strange, who is coming off of his worst game of the year and Mike Onwenu as they were consistently beaten at the line of scrimmage on Monday. They’ll have to be able to communicate and contain Williams to give Mac Jones a clean pocket.