This one should be ugly folks. Getting ready to square off against the 2-0 New England Patriots, the winless Jets will once again be without quarterback Sam Darnold, linebacker CJ Mosely and defensive lineman Quinnen Williams. That trio will be joined on the sidelines by starting outside linebacker Jordan Jenkins as Luke Falk makes his NFL debut. It’s a recipe for disaster. Where re some of the key matchups?
DC Gregg Williams vs QB Tom Brady:
Brady has orchestrated a pair of wins that has seen the Patriots outscore their first two opponents by a whopping total of 76-3. Granted, that took place against a minor league Miami Dolphins team and a Steelers team without their starting quarterback, but that’s the situation the Jets will be in today. Williams was able to keep Baker Mayfield guessing last week, but that’s nothing compared to what Williams will face in Brady.
DL Henry Anderson vs OG Shaq Mason:
Anderson gives the Jets their best chance at consistent pressure on Tom Brady but given the veteran quarterback’s penchant for getting the ball out with lightning quickness if the secondary isn’t able to hold up. If the DB’s can play as well as they did last week versus the Browns, Anderson may have a shot to get to Brady. If not, his presence will be nullified.
ILB’s Blake Cashman and Neville Hewitt vs RB’s James White and Rex Burkhead:
It’s no big secret that Tom Brady keeps most of his passes within a few yards of the line of scrimmage and Burkhead and White make that possible. The two have combined for 15 receptions out of the backfield in the season’s first two games and will likely be heavily featured again. Cashman stood out in his first pro start last week and Hewitt has filled in nicely since Avery Williamson was placed on IR. Both will have their hands full today.
CB Brian Poole vs WR Julian Edelman:
Poole was nicked up in practice the other day but hasn’t been ruled out. Edelman spends as much time on the boundary as he does in the slot, but inside is where he’s a menace for opposing defenses. Look for Pool to draw Edelman on the inside with the possibility of getting some help from Jamal Adams.
RB Le’Veon Bell vs LB Dont’a Hightower:
If the Jets O-line doesn’t get their act together, this matchup will actually be meaningless as Bell will be getting wrapped up well before he hits the second level. If the Jets interior can hold up just a bit and give Bell a chance to make a play, Hightower is going to be the most likely obstacle he’ll face to breaking a big run.
RB Le’Veon Bell vs LB Ja’Whan Bentley:
One player listed twice? You betcha. If Adam Gase continues his ultra conservative ways, look for plenty of swings and screens to Bell. Bentley has been an excellent coverage ‘backer for the Patriots and may draw this assignment regularly.
WR Robby Anderson vs Jason McCourty and Stephon Gilmore:
If at any point in the game Adam Gase decides to dial up a few plays that go outside of fifteen yards, Robby Anderson should be the target as he gives the Jets their best opportunity for a big play. It won’t come easy though as McCourty and Gilmore make up a formidable duo.
As far as predictions go, we’re going to be kind and call it 35-13 Patriots, while well aware of the fact that it could be a whole lot worse than that.