Met Life Stadium: East Rutherford, New Jersey
New England Patriots (5-1) at New York Jets (3-3)
It’s a division rivalry that started in 1960 and the Patriots lead 53-52-1. Rex Ryan is 3-7 against the Patriots as a head coach. Ryan’s best game against the Patriots was a playoff game in New England that the Jets won. However, the Jets have lost the last 5 games against them as the Patriots have demonstrated their dominance.
Jets players out for this game are WR Santonio Holmes (hamstring) and WR Greg Salas (knee).
Patriots players out for this game are WR Danny Amendola (concussion, groin), DT Tommy Kelly (knee), RB Leon Washington (ankle) and doubtful Aqib Talib (hip).
Jets Lineup Changes:
The Jets signed Josh Cribbs WR/KR to replace the loss of WR/KR Clydes Gates.
CB Kyle Wilson suffered a concussion in the Steelers game and has been cleared to play.
Rookie CB Dee Milliner (hamstring) is also playing this week.
A Sea Of Green Towels
The Jets, who just lost to the Steelers, seemed to be copying their towel idea starting on Sunday. The idea is to create a sea of green towels. The towels will be handing out as fans come into the stadium. They will say on them “Jet Up, Green Out”. The team expects the towels to inspire and energize the players to get the victory.
Wayne Cherbet will be the Patriots game Honorary Captain. Long time fan favorite Cherbet and superb wide receiver for the Jets in the 90’s. He will be going out onto the field for the coin toss.
Jets Offense vs Patriots Defense
Geno Smith comes into this game off a poor performance from last week. He still has to learn to reduce turnovers. This will be Smith’s second game against the Patriots. Although the young quarterback has increased his production since the first game against New England, he will be facing a revamped Patriots defense due to injuries.
The Patriots got reduced in talent because of injuries and this should benefit the Jets. CB Aqib Talib, NT Vince Wilfork, and LB Jerod Mayo, three of their best players, are missing. Talib intercepted Smith twice in the first game. He is ruled doubtful for Sunday.
Smith has to play a clean game and control the clock to get a win. The idea is to keep Patriots QB Tom Brady on the bench. Smith has to engineer drives that will keep the chains moving (first downs), and control the time of possession in the game.
Jets offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg has to establish a ground game to take advantage of the void in the run defense.
The Patriots NT Vince Wilfork and LB Jerod Mayo were the two players who defended the run best for them. DT Tommy Kelly is also out for the game. They will have to go with no name rookies, undrafted Joe Vellano and Chris Jones, a free agent player.
The Jets offensive line will control the trenches and give big gaps for the running backs to plow through. Jets RB Bilal Powell has proved capable of being a 3-down back and can be efficient. RB Chris Ivory wants a chance to prove, as he was worth trading for. He adds an advantage to the run against a soft defense between the tackles. This will be productive and valuable in an effort to control the clock and keep Tom Brady off the field.
After the running attack is working, this will force the Patriots to focus on defending the ground game. The best action to stopping the run is to bring a safety up to help. This will help play action to work and give Smith a chance at deep passes.
The Jets newest tight end is former Patriots Zach Sudfeld, who was in a few plays last week. The Jets need a second tight end with Kellen Winslow out. This is a chance for Sudfield to show his worth against the team who cut him. TE Jeff Cumberland will be a big part of the Jets game plan with his recent success. Sudfield holds the unknown factor and could move up depth chart with run blocking and his size of 6 foot, 7 inches in the red zone.
Can newly signed WR Josh Cribbs be an Impact? Cribbs is a great kick and punt returner. He will be an upgrade on special teams over Clyde Gates and can give Jeremy Kerley a blow on punt returns. The biggest question is his health and how much can he give to the wide receiver position?
The Jets injuries have pointed to wide receiver and the team needs help there. This could be a huge upgrade if Cribbs can be solid wide receiver. He also is great wild cat quarterback and the Jets are one of the few teams that still use the wild cat.
According to Jets beat writer of Newsday Kimberley A. Martin Cribbs said, “I’ve been training hard, me and a friend of mine,” he said. “I’d run down like I was the kickoff cover guy, and he’d do the same against me, lots of one-on- one. I’d use a high school field that they play soccer on, and actually got put off the field. They said, ‘You can’t play on it, y’all messing up my field.’ I was trying to get work in, and they didn’t know who I was.” Cribbs then moved to another field.
Jeremy Kerley and Stephan Hill are the Jets two main targets of Geno Smith. TE Jeff Cumberland is up-and-coming and made some big plays the past two weeks.
Kerley is becoming the unofficial No.1 wide receiver, as all he does is make first downs. He knows how get open and get precious yards after a catch.
Hill is the Jets deep ball receiver, as he catches big passes and stretches the field. The knock on Hill in his rookie season was dropped passes. However, he has held on to the ball this season and is slowly becoming a weapon.
Patriots Offense vs Jets Defense
Patriots QB Tom Brady is simply amazing, winning with no talent. In my opinion, Brady is one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. So much is made of Broncos Peyton Manning success this season. Manning has talent and numbers that are expected of a great quarterback. Brady lost both his top rated tight end and his No. 1 target wide receiver. He has the Patriots at 5-1 and winning with less talent. That’s more impressive and valuable to me.
Brady’s top target this season is a possession receiver, Jullian Edelman. The Patriots offensive production has dropped from last year due to the changes. They were ranked No. 4 last year and now rank No. 20, just to give you an idea. When defending Edelman, you have to press him at the line of scrimmage and knock him off his route.
The Patriots other passing weapons are project players. WR Kenbrell Thompkins and WR Aaron Dobson both had their share of drops. Somehow Brady has been able to teach them and they’ve also had successful games.
The Patriots are getting a big upgrade this week with TE Rob Gronkowski being cleared by doctors on Friday. This is a major weapon for Brady in the red zone as Gronkowski has to be Brady’s favorite target with the departure of Wes Welker.
The Patriots running game is handled by Stevan Ridley and LeGarrette Blount. The running attack is ranked No. 11 in the NFL, rushing for 120 yards per game. Ridley is also used in the passing game.
The Jets front seven is getting better ever game. A young unit who has not reached its peak yet, they are ranked No. 4 against the run in the NFL, allowing just 75 yards per game. Expect them to shut the Patriots running game down.
All eyes will be on the Jets secondary and Brady passing against them. The Jets secondary has suffered injuries, as CB Antonio Cromartie has been playing hurt with a bad hip. Cromartie playing injured is not the same shut down cornerback and he’s getting burnt on the line of scrimmage. He’s having trouble with quick moves from wide receivers.
The Jets are getting good work from CB Darrin Walls. It looks like CB rookie Dee Milliner is getting the start this week. He is coming off an injury and has been a disappointment so far. Walls will still play in the nickel or at cornerback at times. This unit needs to improve and help each other out to be successful.
The Jets are getting killed against big tight ends. The past two weeks, 14 catches for 191 yards and two touchdowns have been put up against the secondary unit. The Jets safety Jaiquawn Jarrett will have a big test against Gonkowski.
The best way to stop the Patriots passing game is at the head of it. The pass rush needs to push Brady out of the pocket. This is where the trenches can win the game.
Don’t give Brady a chance to view the field.
Brady doesn’t like defenders by his knees and legs. He’s fearful of his knee since he had restructured surgery on it. They need to push the Patriots offense linemen back and disrupt Brady’s space.
Jets 23, Patriots 17