The New York Jets still view their Week 2 loss to the New England Patriots as a game they could have and even should have won. The Jets played the Patriots tough all game, but in the end they simply made too many mistakes to emerge victorious. However, there are still a few key positives that the Jets should take away from their first matchup, and they need to try to repeat those successes.
The first area the Jets need to repeat is having a strong rushing attack. The Jets ran the ball 32 times for 129 yards and a touchdown in their first matchup. Since then, the Patriots have lost Vince Wilfork and Jerod Mayo to season ending injuries, so the Jets should be able to be even more successful.
Bilal Powell and Chris Ivory will share the carries this week, and they need to be effective on early downs and take the pressure off of Geno Smith on third down. A strong rushing attack will also open up things for the Jets through the air, and hopefully make things easier for Smith in the passing game.
A strong ground game is closely related to the second strength the Jets must continue, which is control of the clock. In the first game the Jets possessed the ball for 34 minutes, which is the best way to beat the Patriots. Keeping the ball out of Tom Brady’s hands should be a huge priority, and shortening the game will keep it low scoring. The Jets can’t afford to get into a shootout with the Patriots, because they can’t keep up.
Defensively, the Jets must continue their strong run defense, which should not be a problem for the NFL’s 2nd ranked run defense. Of more importance, the Jets need to be able to force Brady to be inefficient again. Brady completed just 19/39 passes last time, and his 48.7% completion percentage and 185 yards were both among the lowest totals of his career.
The Jets were able to get pressure on Brady, even they didn’t have the sacks to show for it. They were also able to disrupt every receiver not named Julian Edelman, and they often gave Brady nowhere to go with the ball. Antonio Cromartie has been up and down this season, and Dee Milliner may finally return from injury. The Jets will need both of them at the top of their game on Sunday if they want to win.
If the Jets can continue with the strengths they displayed in the first meeting, they should be able to force the Patriots into another low scoring game. The Jets need to control the clock and force the Patriots to be inefficient, and if they can do that then they will have another good chance at pulling the upset.