New York Jets (1-5) @ New England Patriots (4-2) – Week 7 – Thursday, October 16 – 8:25 PM Kickoff – CBS/NFL Network (TV) – 98.5 The Sports Hub (Radio)
The Patriots host the Jets Thursday night in the 111th regular-season meeting of the two teams. New England holds a slim edge in the all-time series, 56-53-1 (2-1 in the playoffs), but the Pats have enjoyed a 20-9 advantage since Bill Belichick resigned (video link) as “HC of the NYJ” and assumed the top post in Foxboro in 2000. The Patriots have won 3 of the last 4 contests and 5 of 6. In their most recent tilt on October 20, 2013, the Jets won 30-27 in overtime after a penalty on the Patriots for illegal pushing on a missed Nick Folk FG which allowed the Jets to re-kick and claim victory. New York Head Coach Rex Ryan revealed postgame that he had “tipped off” the referees to watch for the violation, just the latest move by Ryan to poke and provoke the proverbial bear that is Bill Belichick.
The Patriots eked out a win in Week 2 last season, 13-10, an ugly affair that foretold the team’s looming offensive issues. While there have been a few blowouts and laughers (video link), the Jets have generally played the Patriots very tough during Ryan’s tenure. A brilliant defensive coach, Ryan has given Tom Brady many sleepless nights even when the matchup on paper had appeared lopsided. The Jets always bring their “A” game to Patriots Week and, despite their slow start this year, must be considered a dangerous opponent on a short week of preparation.
The New York offense is shaky again this season, ranking 30th in total yards, 30th in points, and 32nd in passing yards through the first six weeks on a per-game basis. New York’s takeaway-turnover margin (-9) is tied with Washington for worst in the league. In keeping with tradition, the Jets have a quarterback controversy with second-year signal caller Geno Smith having been benched during the 31-0 drubbing at the hands of the Chargers in Week 5. Backup Michael Vick came on in relief and, arguably, performed worse than Smith ‒ which really does sum up the Jets: Even when they try to manufacture a QB controversy, they fail.
Per game the Jets’ defense ranks 6th in fewest total yards and 8th in fewest rushing yards allowed, yet only 7 NFL teams have allowed more points per game, mainly due to numerous offensive turnovers by the Jets leaving their D with short fields to defend. The Jets’ front four is the strength of this unit, led by dominant defensive tackles Sheldon Richardson and Muhammad Wilkerson. Ryan is known for his exotic and unpredictable blitz schemes and his ability to “overload” one side of the line to create mismatches and exploit the weaknesses in offensive lines. Given the Patriots’ struggles up front so far this season, Ryan will definitely be game planning to take advantage of this shortcoming.
Tom Brady is 18-6 against the Jets in the regular season with a career completion percentage of just 61.9% against Gang Green ‒ 2.5% below his overall career mark. He has also thrown for fewer touchdowns against the Jets (32) than against any other AFC East opponent, further illustrating just how difficult this matchup has been for the future Hall of Famer.
Jim Nantz and Phil Simms will call the game on CBS, which will air nationally. Inside The Pylon will have Jets Week coverage right up until game time, with Passing and Running Previews, a feature on Chris Johnson, a look at why Michael Vick is overrated, and much more.