JETS – PATRIOTS PREVIEW
This Sunday the Jets face what could be the biggest Week 2 game in Jets history. Coming off a demoralizing 10-9 loss to the Baltimore Ravens to kick-off Monday Night Football and their new home, the Jets know the New England Patriots are coming. With a Super Bowl prediction looming over their heads and the start of division play, the Jets need to get a win in their new stadium. The action kicks off at 4:15 pm EST. CBS has coverage on the game.
When: Sunday, September 19th 2010 4:15 pm EST – CBS
Stadium: New Meadowlands Stadium (capacity: 82,500)
Series: 99th meeting, Jets lead series 50-48-1
Last Meeting: Patriots 31, Jets 14, Gillette Stadium, 11/22/09
Last Jets Win: Jets 16, Patriots 9, Meadowlands, 9/20/09
Notable: The Jets are 29-22 overall at home and 2-1 in overtime games against the Patriots.
Head Coaches: Rex Ryan, Jets – second season, 9-8 regular season, 2-1 postseason; Bill Bellichick, Patriots – 11th season, 149-92 regular season, 15-5 postseason.
Last Week: Jets – 10-9 LOSS vs BAL; Patriots – 38-24 WIN vs CIN
Injury Report: JETS; OUT – Pace (foot), Jenkins (knee) / PROBABLE – Revis (hamstring) / QUESTIONABLE – Pool (ankle). PATRIOTS; OUT – Kaczur (back), Wheatley (foot) / PROBABLE - Brady (rt. shoulder), Taylor (toe), Welker (not injury related) / QUESTIONABLE – Julian Edelman (foot).
Jets Rankings: OFFENSE – POINTS PER GAME 9 (28th), TOTAL YARDS 176 (30th), RUSHING 116 YPG (13th), PASSING 60 YPG (32nd), 3rd DOWN 9% (30th-T); DEFENSE – POINTS PER GAME 10 (6th-T), TOTAL YARDS 282 (10th), RUSHING 49 (3rd-T), PASSING 233 (20th), 3rd DOWN 58% (31th).
Patriots Rankings: OFFENSE – POINTS PER GAME 38 (1st-T), TOTAL YARDS 376 (7th-T), RUSHING 118 (11th-T), PASSING 258 (8th-T), 3rd DOWN 69.2% (1st); DEFENSE – POINTS PER GAME 24 (24th-T), TOTAL YARDS 428 (30th), RUSHING 87 (10th), PASSING 341 (30th), 3rd DOWN 53.3% (28th-T).
- WR Wes Welker vs. CB Cromartie/Wilson: Of course the premier match-up will be Darrelle Revis on Randy Moss, but with the possibility of the Pats’ deep threat being stranded on Revis Island, Tom Brady’s go-to-guy will be and always has been Welker. The last time Welker played the Jets, he torched them for a league record 15 receptions for a 192 yards. Even on a bum knee, Welker still poses a very serious threat to the Jets secondary. Raven’s Joe Flacco regularly picked on Cromartie and Wilson either completing passes or drawing flags. Against an offense that looked to be in mid-season form, those types of mistakes won’t be tolerated.
- S Jim Leonhard vs. Patriot TEs: Rookie TEs Aaron Hernandez (6-1, 245) and Rob Gronkowski (6-6, 265) are big, fast, and physical. Leonhard is fast, physical and might have more heart than anyone one the field but is lacking the size. Last week Leonhard had a tough time matching up against the big and physical Todd Heap, which the Ravens exploited for a few big plays late in the game. Safety Brodney Pool (ankle) would ideally take on the challenge but has been limited in practice this week and failed to play in the opener last week. The Jets will have to punish the rookies at the line of scrimmage, throwing off the timing of their routes or hope for help from CB Dwight Lowery or Drew Coleman.
- QB Mark Sanchez vs. Patriot CBs: Offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer and Rex Ryan have both said they expect to stretch the field this week after playing a timid, conservative style against the aggressive Ravens defense. They might have picked the right team to do it, the Patriots allowed the Bengals to gain 341 yards in the air. Second-year corner Darius Butler and the rookie from Rutgers, Devin McCourty, were tested early and responded nicely against the loud-mouth tandem of Chad OchoCinco and Terrell Owens, but play like that can’t be expected week in-week out from the young defensive backs. The Jets receiving core should have favorable match-ups with the perpetually under-rated Jerricho Cothcery and deep threat option Braylon Edwards. Now all Sanchez has to do is get the ball to them. *Note: Sanchez went 4-for-4 in bounce back games in 2009. After having statistically his four worst games in 2009, Sanchez would go on to have four of his best games – definitely a sign of gamer.
- JETS – LaDanian Tomlinson, 21, RB: Tomlinson may hate the Patriots more than any one else on the Jets, but he does love playing against them. LT has been a terror on the ground and in the air through out his career with the Patriots amassing 670 yards rushing, and 191 yards receiving. His seven career TDs are the most by any active player against the Patriots. Last week against Baltimore he was the lone bright spot in the Jets offense breaking runs of 17 and 21 yards. With a banged up front seven that’s no where near as ferocious as the Ravens, the Patriots will get a steady dose of the LT.
- PATRIOTS – Patrick Chung, 25, S: The Patriots have been looking for a player like Chung to come along and replace the hard-hitting shoes of Rodney Harrison. Chung, a second-year player out of Oregon, is a ball hawk who has a hard-nose style of play. Last week against Cincinnati he recorded 9 tackles while wreaking havoc on receivers. Coupled with the equally punishing Brandon Meriwether, Chung should be the focus of Sanchez at all times. He has that Troy Polamalu big-play potential.
KEYS TO THE GAME:
3rd DOWN EFFICIENCY- There’s no need to sugar-coat it, the Jets down-right sucked on third down conversions on both sides of the ball. The Jets offense couldn’t convert a third down until it was too late (9% efficiency), while the Jets defense were handing out first downs like they volunteered at a soup kitchen (58% efficiency). The Patriots are very adept at keeping the drive going, so once they get rolling the harder it is to stop them.
- HOLES AT LEFT GUARD: In an interesting turn of events, both the Jets and Patriots are without the premier left guard that has anchored their respective line in years past. The Jets let go of Alan Faneca in favor of the floundering platoon of Matt Slauson/Vladimir Ducasse. So far, they have been accused of attempted murder for the way they let defenses pounce on Sanchez. Similarly, the Patriots have been without Logan Mankins, who is a restricted free agent and is holding out for a new contract/be traded. Dan Connolly has come out from the woodwork and off the bench to replace the Patriots Pro Bowl left guard. Both defenses are going to be eyeing that hole at left guard as a vulnerability. And like sharks who smell blood in the water, they will attack.
- MENTAL TOUGHNESS: Some made a very good argument that the Ravens didn’t beat the Jets, the Jets beat themselves. They were penalized 14 times for 125 yards last week against Baltimore. That falls on the coaches as well as the players. At practice this week, players who committed penalties were forced to count off up-downs for his entire team to do – a high school approach to ridding a team of mistakes. But whatever gets the job. A lot of the defensive penalties led to the high rate of success the Ravens had on third down, so if the Jets keep the penalties to a minimum expect their third down success to better.
THE PICK: Patriots 24, NY Jets 21 – Mark Sanchez and the Jets will play better than their Week 1 dud, but still won’t have all the pieces together to pull out a victory. The Jets looked susceptible to the pass, an area where the Patriots excel more than any other team in the league. They may be able to take away Moss, and possibly contain Welker, but the combination of Brady-to- Hernandez/Gronkowski will ultimately be the difference.