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Jets - Patriots Preview
By James J. Parziale
Jets Insider.com Staff Writer
December 2nd, 2005
The Jets will have to be all over Pats QB Tom Brady to have any chance of winning on Sunday. (Jets Insider.com Photo)
The Jets will have to be all over Pats QB Tom Brady to have any chance of winning on Sunday. (Jets Insider.com Photo)

Tom Brady fired the initial warning shot toward the Jets when spoke to reporters on Wednesday.

“We've had some great opportunities this year and we let some of them slip through. I think playing the Jets at home, there's no better way to rebound,” Brady said. “We're getting close to [do-or-die games]. It's going to be December. A good team really starts making a push at this point.”

December and January are Brady’s time to shine, and with the two-time Super Bowl MVP coming of his worst performance of the season at Kansas City last week, the Jets should be nervous.

Brady threw four interceptions last week, tying his career-worst. Three of the passes were tipped, but the end result was 26-16 loss which should have been much worse. The Chiefs settled for field goals, and the Patriots were somewhat in the game.

This week Brady will see a familiar face in the Jets secondary when he drops back to throw. CB Ty Law spent his first 10 seasons in New England, and is making his first trip back to his old former stomping ground.

“It's an advantage for us and it's an advantage for him,” Brady said of Law. “He knows our receivers well…. So you always have to be careful when you throw at him. If you throw the ball near him, he's going to catch it.”

The entire defense must play well if the Jets have any chance of upstaging the division-leading Patriots. This game and the Dec. 26 game at Giants Stadium were supposed to games to decide the division, but the Jets disastrous injury situation destroyed those possibilities.

Still, with the Jets, losers of six in a row, coming of their strongest performance in a month in the 21-19 loss to the Saints, this game might be competitive. The Patriots have struggle at home this season, giving up 40 points in losses to San Diego and Indianapolis. Clearly, Patriots, winners of three-out-of-four Super Bowl, have had issues this year.

They’ve used seven different starters in the secondary and are allowing 386 yards of offense – nearly 40 more yards per game than they get. The injuries bug has also hit the Patriots hard.

They have nine players on IR to the Jets 10, but unlike the Jets quarterback woes, the Patriots secondary has been their issue. Four of their corners and SS Rodney Harrison, a team leader, are all out for the year. This defense is a shell of itself. The Patriots are 6-5, and except of back to back wins before last week’s debacle at Kansas City, have alternated wins and losses all year.

“Until February or the end of January, there still the champs,” RB Curtis Martin said. “They have a great defensive coach. They have a lot of talent on defense also. It's always a tough challenge going against them.”

The toughest part is studying film on a defense which looks different every week. The concepts and schemes are the same, but the personnel are not. For a young QB like Brooks Bollinger, that makes his job all the more difficult.

Since his first start against the Ravens in which he was tied down by play calling, Mike Heimerdinger and the offensive coaches have tailored the game plans to Bollinger’s strengths.

“They play different against every team,” Bollinger said of the Patriots. “They have an arsenal of schemes to throw at us. You need to confident in what you’re doing because you’re going to have to make adjustments.”

Both these teams are still adjusting to seasons that haven’t panned out the way they were supposed to.

INSIDER TIDBITS

-The Patriots are 7-1 in December over the last two seasons. Since 2000, they have a 15-5 mark.

-Since 1993, when the game-time temperature is 35 degrees or colder, the Patriots are 22-2.

-During last week’s loss to the Saints, Ty Law recorded his 700th tackle.

-The 27-yard touchdown pass Bollinger threw to WR Justin McCareins last week was his first touchdown catch of the season.

-The Jets 44 takeaways have resulted in 44 points, but the opponents have scored 80 points off Jets giveaways this season.

-Opponents have coveted nine of 10 fourth down tries against the Jets defense.

Parziale’s Points: Three Keys To A Jets Win

1. Score Early: The Jets have been outscored 68-10 in the first quarter this season. That’s not a recipe for success. If the Jets can take an early lead, feeding Curtis Martin the ball will be easier. The Jets have been out rushed nearly 2-to-1 this season because of early deficits.

2. Score Close: Sending K Mike Nugent on the field when you’re in the red zone won’t cut it this week. The Jets must utilize Bollinger’s mobility in the red zone and not simply run Martin three times into the line.

3. Help Miller: Last week, Aaron Brooks picked on CB Justin Miller when ever the Saints needed a big play. Since Ty Law is the self-proclaimed best receiver in the NFL, let him prove it by putting him in man coverage and zoning on the other side of the defense.

Prediction

The Patriots this season have won each time after a loss, which doesn’t bode well for the Jets. They are the defending champions and must be knocked off in the playoffs, not December, since they have a two-game lead in the division. The Jets can only hope to play spoiler.

Patriots 28 Jets 16

INJURY REPORT
-RB Derrick Blaylock (ankle): Out
-QB Jay Fiedler (shoulder): Out
-DT Sione Pouha (calf): Probable
-CB David Barrett (eye): Probable
-RB Curtis Martin (knee): Probable
-S Rashad Washington (hip/quad): Probable

Gametime is at 4:15 p.m. Sunday on CBS TV. Local Radio is 1050 ESPN Radio and 770 WABC. Be sure to check back to Jets Insider.com for a full recap.