After a dramatic 18-17 week one win over Tampa Bay, your New York Jets already have a third of their wins for the season, according to Sports Illustrated! Week two brings a slightly different challenge, as the Jets will travel to Foxboro to take on the evil empire, which had a little more trouble than most thought they would against a young Buffalo squad. Rex and company have gotten their licks in versus the Patriots, but now find themselves losers of the last four. Let’s take a look at how this one breaks down:
New England’s Offense
A ton has been made about the Patriots offense. Gone are Aaron Hernandez, Rob Gronkowski (injury), Wes Welker, Brandon Lloyd, and Danny Woodhead. In now is a cast of young, inexperienced receivers and tight ends and it showed in week one, as quarterback Tom Brady had a very uncharacteristic 55.8 completion percentage.
To make matters worse, more targets will be out with injuries Thursday. Danny Amendola, Aaron Dobson, Zach Sudfeld, and Shane Vereen are all expected to miss the game.
Steven Ridley, who was benched after a few fumbles early in the game, is dangerous with the ball in space and a dual threat out of the backfield. David Harris did a good job shadowing Doug Martin week one and I’d expect him to take on a similar role with Ridley. Expect Antonio Cromartie to shadow rookie Kenbrell Thompkins as he looks for a bounce back game. The Jets will mix and match with the Patriots best skill position player in this game, Julian Edelman. Isiah Trufant and Dee Milliner will both get their chances.
One thing to remember is it’s not always about shutting down players with New England but the style of play. The Patriots ran a week one high of 89 plays against Buffalo. They want to play fast.
New England’s Defense
The Pats quietly have one of the more solid defensive units in the league. They did a good job limiting C.J. Spiller to only 41 yards rushing and only gave up two touchdowns as the Bills defense scored 7 of their 21 points off a fumble recovery for a touchdown. The unit is versatile with a good defensive line, headlined by big defensive tackle Vince Wilfork and defensive end Rob Ninkovich, who Geno Smith called one of the smartest players he’s ever seen.
In the secondary, Aqib Talib is no Darrelle Revis, but himself and Alonzo Dennard form one of the better 1-2 corner combinations in the league. Former Jet Marquice Cole does a nice job as a nickel corner as well.
How To Win
New York couldn’t have gotten New England at a better time. The Patriots are very thin on the offensive side of the football and the Jets should have enough talent to handle what is there. With that being said, there still needs to be a number of things the offense does better. Someone needs to step up for Jeremy Kerley, who will be out with a concussion. Some stupid Buccaneers penalties kept Jets scoring drives alive. You cannot rely on penalties to move the football for you. The offensive line, specifically Vlad Ducasse, Nick Mangold, and Willie Colon, need to be bullies and open up lanes for Bilal Powell and Chris Ivory. Much like any game, you have to limit the turnovers and win the field position battle. Tampa Bay could pretty much only score when getting a short field to work with. The defensive line will have to play well also. Everyone knows you can rattle Tom Brady by throwing him to the ground early and often.
The Jets are confident. You can just tell. Like Rex has said, many people have written this teams story already, except for them. Let’s see if the Jets can steal their second win of the year.