By: Russ Goldman
Before each Patriots game this season, as a preview I will be providing my five keys to the game that I hope will lead to a Patriots victory. So be sure to check back each week, as the plan will be to release this every Saturday morning.
WHERE TO WATCH: The game will be shown live on CBS. You can also listen to the game on 98.5 The Sports Hub in Boston.
GAME NOTES: The Jets coming off of a bad 10-9 loss at home to the Ravens will be desperate to get a victory against the Patriots and don’t want to drop another one in front of the home crowd. Their next game is on the road against the Dolphins, and they definitely do not want to go into that game 0-2. I am expecting to see a Jets team that will do everything they can to beat them, so it should be quite a game.
On defense, the Jets were very impressive against the Ravens. They pressured and hit Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco often. They also held Ray Rice to 43 yards and a 2 yards per carry average. Overall they gave up only 282 yards, and this defense should be a tough challenge for Tom Brady.
On offense, the Jets really struggled last week against the Ravens. Their running game was average at best, with Ladainian Tomlinson running for 62 yards. However, the Jets feature back is Shonn Greene and he was only able to run for 18 yards with 2.7 average per carry.
Mark Sanchez certainly was not sharp against the Ravens. He threw for only 74 yards, and in fact overall the Jets offense was below average. They tied a franchise record with only 6 first downs.
Against the Patriots they are going to have to generate much more offense if they hope to win this one. The Jets will probably have to rely on their defense to dictate the game, and give their offense a chance to hopefully capitalize on good field position – something they didn’t do against Baltimore.
This game should be a fight to the bitter end. So how will the Patriots be able to pull out a win in the New Meadowlands Stadium?
I have “five keys” that I believe could play a role in a potential victory for the Pats. These points I am focusing on involve all phases of the game.
1. The Patriots offensive line needs to protect Tom Brady. I expect the Jets to throw every type of blitz at Brady Sunday. It will be up to the offensive line to stop the pressure from players like Bart Scott , David Harris, and Jason Taylor. If they can give Brady time to throw the ball, the Pats could move the ball against this defense.
2. The defensive line needs to stop the running game of the Jets. Shonn Greene and Ladainian Tomlinson have the ability to control the game for the Jets. It is up to the Patriots defensive line to stuff the Jets, and make them one dimensional. If the Pats can force the Jets to make Mark Sanchez beat them, it could be a long day for New York, and potentially a good one for New England.
3. Wes Welker and the Patriot tight ends need to move the chains for the Patriots. I have a feeling that the Jets will stop any running game the Patriots have on Sunday. I also think that Darrelle Revis will do a very good job on Randy Moss.
It will be up to Wes Welker, and the tight ends to move the ball for the Patriots. There could be some great match-ups for Brady to expose on Sunday. Kyle Wilson and Antonio Cromartie really struggled last week for the Jets. I could see Welker having a field day against these players.
Also, Todd Heap had a nice game for the Ravens against the Jets defense. I could really see Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez being able to take advantage of open spaces in the Jets defense.
4. Special teams need to really have a positive effect on field position for the Pats. This was a key last week and I thought played a role in the victory. On defending kick-offs last week the Patriots were excellent in coverage. The Bengals often had to drive 70-80 yards if they wanted to score a touchdown.
On kick-off returns Brandon Tate was tremendous. He even ran back the kick-off to begin the second half for a touchdown. Field position last season was an issue for New England. This unit could be a weapon on Sunday for both the offense and the defense in regards to field position.
5. Tom Brady’s quick release and decision-making ability could offset the Jets pressure. Watching the Jets game on Monday I noticed that Joe Flacco was holding on to the ball for quite a while. You cannot do that against a blitzing defense like the Jets.
As we know Brady has the ability to get the ball to his recievers very quickly. His decision making and quick release could end up being a weapon on Sunday. Brady rarely holds the ball too long, so the Jets may find it harder to get to him this week.
I also wouldn’t be surprised to see New England come out in shotgun, and a no huddle offense. The Patriots have done this before against blitz heavy defenses.
This will be a very tough game for New England. However, I am predicting a hard-fought 21-14 victory for the Pats against the Jets.
What are your predictions? Feel free to post them in the comments section and I look forward to reading them.