The New York Jets return home after falling to Dallas last week. Waiting for them will be Bill Belichick and the rival New England Patriots.
The Patriots come into this game winning the last 14 meetings between the two. The stats are ugly, but let's get them out there now and be done with it. Zach Wilson is 0-4 against New England with two touchdowns and seven picks. This would also make Mac Jones 4-0 against New York making the Jets the only team in the NFL he has a winning record against.
It feels odd to say, but this is absolutely a must-win for Gang Green. The Patriots this year aren’t nearly as good as New York (then again, they weren’t last year either). The real question is which New York Jets will we see; the same old Jets from years past, or a team that is pissed off about last week and is coming to make up for this week.
Key Matchup: Jets Offense vs. Patriots Defense
The Jets' offense has not been something to write home about in the first two games. They currently sit at 29th in the league in yards per game. What does not come as a surprise is New York’s offense is ranked 27th in points per game. Bill Belichick is known to take a team's best offensive weapon away. Zach Wilson, unlike last week, will need to find someone other than Garrett Wilson to throw the ball to.
On the other side of the ball, the Patriots' defense ranks 14th in overall defense allowing around 320 yards per game. While that’s nothing to write home about, the key for the Jets will be getting will be getting their running backs the ball. New England has allowed 242 yards on the ground through 2 weeks which should have both Dalvin Cook and Breece Hall chomping at the bit to get the ball.
Key Player: Zach Wilson
Shocking right? This is a big week for Zach Wilson in multiple ways. One would argue that it will be his biggest game as a Jet. There has been clamoring on the radio all week for fans to get behind him and cheer him on Sunday. Do I agree fans should rally behind him like Phillies fans did for Trea Turner? Sure. I also feel that if he does not show up for this game, then it is time to at the very least bring in someone to push him.
The key for Zach to have success is going to be his pocket awareness. Spending the offseason and training camp with Aaron Rodgers should have helped being that Rodgers (especially in his younger years) is one of the best at this—the ability to see the whole pocket without actually seeing the whole pocket. If Belichick takes away Garrett Wilson, the key will be Zach staying calm in the pocket, escaping, and making throws on the run.
The forecast for Sunday in East Rutherford is going to be filled with rain. This game was already looking to be a defensive battle and the rain will only help that. That will not matter to these Jets and the fans that fill Metlife, rain, snow, nothing will stop the energy on Sunday. Aaron Rodgers is gone for the year, who is going to step up? Who is going to lead the team?
Joe Benigno of WFAN said last Sunday about the Jets facing the Patriots “Forget slaying the dragon, it's time to be the dragon.” If not now, when?
Sources for stats:
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