With the New England Patriots set for a rematch against the New York Jets, their hated division rival, the team is noticeably banged up this week. Aqib Talib‘s hip woes have resurfaced, Tommy Kelly has been nursing a bad knee, Jerod Mayo has been lost for the season with a torn pectoral muscle, and Vince Wilfork is out for the season with a torn Achilles as well.
With all of the missing pieces they have on defense, their best chance of winning games right now is keeping the pressure on opponents offensively with Tom Brady and company. That is why the Patriots should utilize a no-huddle offense for this game, or at the very least, try to keep the Jets off balance with a quickened offensive pace.
One thing the Jets have proven is that quarterback Geno Smith will turn the football over eventually if you give him enough chances with it (11 turnovers in six games).
If the Patriots can score early and often, giving the ball back to the Jets as quickly as possible, they will win the game in a shootout, forcing Smith to score points in a hurry. He will inevitably, as I have just illustrated, make the one crucial mistake to lose the game for his team that the Patriots will capitalize on.
Additionally, quickening up the pace early in the game will exhaust the Jets’ defense by the time the fourth quarter roles around. This would then allow Stevan Ridley (or whoever the team chooses to carry the load at that point) to run it down their throats for big chunks of yardage in the fourth quarter.
If the Patriots come out slow and try to play ball control, running Ridley into the heart of the Jets’ defensive line at frequent intervals, they could very well face a crushing upset. The last thing they should try to do is get caught in a defensive battle, given all the pieces they are missing on that side of the ball right now.
The offense must be sharper than it has been in the first six games of the year to come up with a victory in Week 7. With Rob Gronkowski‘s status looking very iffy at this point, the rookie receivers and Julian Edelman will have to step up this week.