The New York Jets go on the road this Sunday to take on the first place New England Patriots (4:15 EST). The Jets are losers of five of their last six games, while the Patriots are coming off of a controversial loss to the Indianapolis Colts. Normally I would break down the match-ups, offense vs. defense, to find the keys to the game for the New York Jets. But this week it is not about the numbers or the statistics for Gang Green, it is about their state of mind.
The New York Jets started out the season 3-0, including a win over New England, and many started to believe that Gang Green was on the verge of something special. The Jets were on top of the world and started to become media darlings with their bravado, arrogance and newsworthy quotes. The loyal fans of Gang Green started talking playoffs, and the Meadowlands was a festive place for a Jets home game. Eight weeks later the Jets are a team in a free fall that has lost both their swagger and identity. The confident and brash attitude has been replaced by despair and uncertainty. The arrogant nature of the head coach has been brought to tears as he struggles to find ways to piece his team’s psyche back together.
To make matters worse for Gang Green they now have to face a very motivated and talented Patriots team that has revenge on their mind. In the week 2 beating of the Patriots Gang Green acted like they won the Super Bowl, with all types of celebrations on the field as well as defining comments. “The new sheriffs in town” were for real and were going stake claim to the AFC East title. The Jets kept talking and the Patriots kept listening. Little did the Jets know that their week 2 victory over the Patriots would be the last time the team would collectively play at a very high level.
So here the Jets are in week 11 facing a New England team, that is not only in first place in the AFC East, but is more than ready to give Gang Green a huge serving of humble pie. The Patriots are going to look to dominate the Jets, embarrass the Jets and make Gang Green once again feel like a second-class citizen in its own division.
So for me the key to the game is not the Jets #1 ranked running game or their 3rd ranked overall defense. The key to this game is in the hearts and minds of the Gang Green players and coaches. How is Gang Green going to react in a very hostile environment? How are the Jets going to perform with the cards stacked against them? Will the Jets play with some pride and passion or will they come out timid and defeated? Will the Jets be able to survive the first punch in the mouth or will their knees instantly buckle? The answers to these questions will lead you to the results of the game.
Prediction: 35-13 Patriots For the remainder of my week 11 predictions click here.