The AFC East biggest rivalry is set for their first of two annual match ups in week seven of the NFL season on Sunday when the New York Jets travel to Foxboro to take the New England Patriots with first place in the division on the line. With both teams sitting at 3-3 on the year this could be a pivotal battle between the two teams who have no love lost for one another and it has all the makings to be as entertaining as ever.
The Jets enter the game with huge questions surrounding their offense; first off what is wrong with it and secondly how much longer will starting quarterback Mark Sanchez be the starter if he continues to struggle. The Jets currently rank 29th in the NFL in total offensive yards gained per game (295.5 yards), 30th in passing yards gained per game (184.3 yards), 15th in rushing yards per game (111.2 yards) and 20th in points scored per game (22.2 points). Sanchez himself has thrown for 1,125 yards, eight touchdowns, six interceptions and completed just 49.7% of his attempts (lowest amongst all starting quarterbacks in the league).
Many Jets fans are just counting down the days until Sanchez is replaced by Tim Tebow as the starter, but head coach Rex Ryan has continued to back Sanchez and says he will not make a change. The Jets offense has also been banged up all season playing much of the year without Dustin Keller and Santonio Holmes. Running back Shonn Greene (108 carries for 378 yards and 4TD) will have to carry this team’s offensive load versus the Pats otherwise it could be a long day for Gang Green.
The Pats offense has been firing on all cylinders this season ranking first in both total offensive yards gained per game (445.3 yards) and points scored per game (31.3 points), third in passing yards per game (293 yards) and fourth in rushing yards per game (152.3 yards). Tom Brady leads the NFL in passing yards with 1,845 yards and also has 10 touchdown passes and completed 65.8% of his attempts. Look for Brady to hook up with his three favorite targets Wes Welker (48 receptions for 622 yards and 2 TD), Brandon Lloyd (34 receptions for 401 yards and a TD) and Rob Gronkowski (29 receptions for 356 yards and 3 TD) several times during this contest in order for the Pats to open things up in the running game and place several points on the scoreboard.
The surprise of the season so far on the Pats offense has been the stellar play of running back Stevan Ridley who has rushed for 524 yards and four touchdowns on 118 carries; if Ridley gets it going along with Brady and the passing game then the Jets won’t stand much of a chance.
Which ever teams defense makes more of a statement should win the game; the Jets defensive unit hasn’t been what it normally is this season allowing 150.8 rushing yards per game (28th) and 23.5 points per game (19th) while the Patriots defense is giving up 288.8 passing yards (28th) and 22.8 points per contest (tied for 15th).
In the end I think New England just has too much fire power for the Jets to stop and I’ll take the Pats in this one 34-20.