Back in Week 2, the New York Jets went up to Foxboro and lost a 13-10 heartbreaker to the New England Patriots. The Jets held Tom Brady in check all night, but they simply made too many offensive mistakes to win the football game. The Jets have a rematch with the Patriots on Sunday, and there are several weaknesses from their Week 2 contest that they need to improve on.
The first and most obvious is turnovers. Stephen Hill fumbled early in the game and Geno Smith threw three fourth quarter interceptions. With even one less turnover the Jets might have won the game. If they had been able to avoid all four, they certainly would have come away with the upset.
Smith has discussed the importance of playing mistake free football this week, but he has still thrown 10 interceptions and fumbled 4 times in his six games. The Patriots have an opportunistic defense and offense that takes advantage of short fields, so the Jets can’t afford any mistakes. The single most important factor for the Jets in this game will be protecting the football. If Smith can play a clean game then the Jets should be able to move the ball and put up points.
The next area the Jets need to improve is sacks. Smith was sacked four times in the Week 2 loss, including twice by Chandler Jones. Those sacks are not all on the offensive line, as Smith has shown a tendency to hold onto the ball far too long. However, the line needs to play at their best this week, and Smith needs to make quick and smart decisions.
Jones is by far the Patriots’ best pass rusher, and the Jets should double team him on every play. There is absolutely no reason not to, and they shouldn’t risk anything against a player who is quickly becoming a top flight pass rusher.
The last major area of concern for the Jets is coverage of the slot receivers. Julian Edelman killed the Jets in Week 2, catching 13 passes and converting several key third downs. Danny Amendola and Kyle Wilson are both questionable with concussions, so it remains to be seen whether or not they will factor in the match up, or if it will come down to Edelman and Darrin Walls. Either way, the Jets have to take away Brady’s favorite targets, especially on third down. This will force him to hold the ball and look deeper down the field, which is in the Jets’ favor.
Improvement in these three areas is absolutely essential if the Jets want to pull the upset. They made too many mistakes in their first meeting with Patriots, and they can’t afford to repeat their errors. If the Jets want to win, they will have to play a nearly flawless game.