When the New York Jets faced off against the New England Patriots in their Week 2 encounter on Thursday night, many expected the Patriots to easily take care of a Jets team being quarterbacked by rookie Geno Smith. Well, it was not so easy of a game for the Patriots, who were challenged and tested by a Jets team that gave themselves a chance to win the game, but in the end, they lost 13-10.
The main reason the Jets lost a game they could have, and probably should have, won was that Smith threw three interceptions, each killing a potential scoring drive, with the last one ending any hope of, at the very least, attempting a game tying field goal. Headed into Sunday’s Week 7 showdown in the Meadowlands, the Jets and Patriots once again renew acquaintances in a pivotal AFC East divisional game. If the Jets expect to and want to win this game, it is clear that they will have to avoid turning the ball over.
While it sounds simple to say that the Jets need to avoid turnovers in order have a chance at winning on Sunday, the fact of the matter is that, in the Jets case, there is a strong correlation between turnovers and winning or losing a game. Last Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Smith threw two interceptions in a game the Jets lost 19-6. Contrast that to the performance against the Atlanta Falcons in a Week 5 game, Smith avoided turning the ball over in a game in which he led the team on a game winning field goal drive.
Looking back at the Week 2 contest, the Jets outplayed the Patriots in many categories. The Jets out-gained the Patriots 318 yards to 232 yards in total offense while also winning the time of possession battle, as the Jets had the ball for 34 minutes compared to 26 for the Patriots. Yet the difference in this game was the Jets turning the ball over four times while the Patriots did not turn the ball over once. In a game where you lost by the a field goal, it’s not hard to pinpoint the reason for taking the loss, and it is clear that if the Jets do not turn the ball over on Sunday, they can give themselves more than a puncher’s chance of beating the Patriots.