Once the Patriots' 2023 schedule was revealed earlier this year, it was evident they would have a difficult road through the first month of the season.
They were set to start the year against the defending NFC Champions, followed by back-to-back games against divisional opponents, two of the most critical games. They end the month traveling to Dallas to face the Cowboys, a team that is talented all around and determined more than ever to win a championship.
Unfortunately, as we know, the first two weeks were very winnable game but ended in heartbreaking losses. Now they head to New York to face the Jets in a must-win situation, and other than having the luxury of not lining up across an Aaron Rodgers-led offense, they have another significant advantage heading into this game: their 14-game winning streak spanning over the last seven seasons.
It may not mean much to some because a winning streak doesn't guarantee anything come Sunday. However, the ease the Patriots have had against their divisional foe when Zach Wilson runs the offense brings a lot more optimism heading into this game compared to what would have been the opposite feeling had the three-time league MVP not gotten injured.
In four games against the Patriots in his career, Wilson has recorded 54/106 receptions for 693 yards, two touchdowns, and seven interceptions. The dominant defense that Bill Belichick meticulously put together feasts on the young quarterback, and they seem likely to do it again in week three.
Mac Jones has, of course, had the complete opposite career against the Jets through four games: 93/128 receptions for 933 yards, three touchdowns, and one interception. It may not be the flashiest stat line, but it's been enough for the Patriots to be 4-0 over the last two years.
Looking further back than recent history, even Cam Newton had no problem against the Jets in his one season with New England in 2020. It was a much different team, with Sam Darnold under center and Adam Gase on the sideline.
But the Patriots kept their streak going with two wins against New York that year, with Newton recording 48/65 receptions for 516 yards and three touchdowns. On top of that, he added 21 carries for 95 yards and two touchdowns, plus one reception for 19 yards and a touchdown.
Could Newton have been any more dominant against the Jets that year?
Fast forward to this weekend's matchup, both teams are in the same mindset, as they are eager for the first win of the season.
The Jets are in an interesting situation, especially knowing they are 0-14 against the Patriots since their second matchup of the 2015 season. Additionally, they are now forced to back Wilson as their quarterback, who, just one year ago, they didn't hide their disdain for as they marched around in pro-Mike White t-shirts after Wilson was benched.
They've attempted to smooth things with him this season, as Robert Saleh and several players have publicly supported the quarterback as the guy for the season. But is it enough to make a difference?
On the other hand, the Patriots were within one score of winning their first two games. Their self-inflicted wounds guaranteed their losses, and they intend not to allow that to happen at MetLife Stadium on Sunday.
Hopefully, with so much on the line for themselves and the season, they can rally together and get the job done, making it 15 straight wins against the AFC East rival. The message in the locker room is clear, and we'll need to see it translate on the field as soon as this game before most people can agree that the Patriots are a good team.
And who doesn't want to see New England continue the tradition of embarrassing the Jets and get closer to setting an all-time NFL record for the longest win streak against one team?