The Patriots travel to New Jersey to take on their old rivals the New York Jets. Although the rivalry has been there seemingly forever, both teams are starting rookie quarterbacks this year, with Mac Jones and Zach Wilson starting respectively for each team. And both teams made a bunch of changes in the offseason
This week’s game will be broadcast by CBS and can be seen locally on WBZ-TV Channel 4. Kevin Harlan will handle play-by-play duties with Trent Green as the color analyst. Melanie Collins will report from the sidelines. The game will also be aired on the Patriots flagship radio station 98.5 The Sports Hub with Bob Socci and Scott Zolak on the call, produced by Marc Capello.
The Patriots have beaten the Jets ten times in a row sweeping the season series with Gang Green the past five years. Since Bill Belichick has taken over the reins in 2000 (which was the last time the Jets swept the Patriots), New England has owned this matchup going 33-11.
The Patriots (0-1) were beaten by the Miami Dolphins 17-16 when Damien Harris fumbled deep in Miami territory late in the game. Penalties and ball security were both issues in the game.
The Jets (0-1) dropped their opener in Carolina 19-14 to their former QB Sam Darnold. Wilson was sacked six times and was hit on 10 others.
We here at PatsFans.com are continuing our “Razor’s Edge” column in 2021 to give some quick analysis on some of the key matchups of the game and what you can look for in how the game plays out.
So, here is our look at some of the key matchups and who holds the Razor’s Edge.
First up is the Patriots offense:
Patriots RBs vs Jets Front Seven – Razor’s Edge New York
The Patriots’ running game looked like they were going to run Miami out of the stadium when on the first play from scrimmage, Damien Harris ripped off a 35-yard run down the right sideline. However, (comma) after that Miami adjusted and played better. Overall, while the Patriots finished with 125 yards and an average of 4.2-yards per rushing attempt, the yards got harder to come by. Losing Trent Brown hurt but it seemed like they were intent on running those toss plays to the left. It seemed like the plays off-tackle were better suited. Both Harris and rookie Rhamondre Stevenson lost fumbles last week.
The Jets’ run defense was good a year ago and allowed 112 yards per game, good for 12th in the league. On Sunday against Carolina and Christian McCaffrey, they allowed 111. With Quinnen Williams, Sheldon Rankins, Bryce Huff, Folorunso Fatukasi, and John Franklin-Myers, they will be tough and got better as the game went on last week. They held Carolina to just 1-4 in the red zone last week.
Carolina had three goal-to-go opportunities and came away with just six points. The Patriots should get their yards, but probably going without Brown, they won’t be able to assert their will as they want to. Look for J.J. Taylor to get some snaps and be active this week.
Patriots WRs vs Jets Secondary – Razor’s Edge New England
The Patriots’ passing game was much more efficient than we envisioned for Mac Jones’ first NFL game. While finishing drives was an issue (as it was in 2020), the new players signed (Nelson Agholor, Kendrick Bourne, Jonnu Smith, and Hunter Henry), appear to be finding some chemistry with Jones.
The Jets have a young, inexperienced secondary, and they have some work to do to tighten things up. Bryce Hall and Brandin Echols man the boundary corners and Michael Carter, who played very well last week will operate out of the slot. The Jets brought in Lamarcus Joyner at safety next to Marcus Maye but he was lost for the season with an elbow/triceps injury. His replacement, Sheldrick Redwine was promptly greeted with a 57-yard touchdown bomb from Darnold to another former Jet Robbie Anderson.
With a young and not-so-stellar secondary, it will probably limit Robert Saleh from blitzing much to get pressure on Jones. Look for Jones to push the ball down the field more to Agholor. Smith and Henry should be a bigger part of the offense this week. Adrian Colbert should see a lot of action in this one. He was a safety with the Patriots during training camp. He knows the offense, but I’d be surprised if New England doesn’t test him early.
Next up the New York offense:
Jets RBs vs NE Front Seven – Razor’s Edge New England
The Patriots’ run defense had some issues early in the game against Miami on the first drive and then late as the Dolphins were able to grind out the clock to finish it off after Harris’ fumble. Lawrence Guy, Davon Godchaux, Deatrich Wise, Christian Barmore, Henry Anderson, and Carl Davis give the team plenty of depth upfront.
The Jets didn’t help their rookie QB much with their running game, managing only 45 yards on 17 carries, (2.6-yard average). Tevin Coleman (9-24), Ty Johnson (4-15), and Michael Carter (4-6) could find anywhere to run.
Jets WRs vs NE Secondary- Razor’s Edge New England
The Patriots’ secondary was definitely missing Stephon Gilmore last week as Miami’s speed on the outside with Devante Parker and Jaylen Waddle were given plenty of cushion on the outside.
Wilson will have Corey Davis, Braxton Berrios, and Jamison Crowder, who will return after missing last week (COVID), he’s productive out of the slot. But the “X-Factor” here is Denzel Mims. The Jets didn’t use him much in the opener (3 snaps). But he can fly and had a 40-yard reception against the Panthers.
The Jets’ offensive line is suspect and lost their best player last week (Mekhi Becton). But the Patriots weren’t as aggressive as we expected against a suspect Miami OL last week. Could that be the Matt Patricia effect? Wilson can scramble and throw on the run, so perhaps they won’t be aggressive again. But the Patriots’ pass rush should still be able to bring some pressure on Wilson.
Special Teams- Razor’s Edge New England
The Patriots Nick Folk and Jake Bailey are always steady for the Patriots. The Jets lost punter Braden Mann to a sprained knee last week and will have kicker Matt Amendola doing double duty. Amendola averaged over 48 yards per punt last week.
The Patriots’ coverage units are always a strength and should be able to handle Braxton Berrios, the Patriots will counter with Gunner Olszewski and Brandon Bolden.
Next up, who wins and why…
This week should be an intriguing matchup. For all of the games the two teams have played against one another, this will be the first time that both teams will start rookie QBs against one another. And this one will be far from the walkover win that many fans believe it will be. The crowd noise in MetLife Stadium will be loud, especially if the Jets get off to an early lead.
Keys to the game from a Patriots perspective:
Get Up Early and Keep the Crowd Sitting on Their Hands – Here’s where a good running game can take the crowd noise out of the equation. The Patriots need to start fast and get the Jets playing from behind. Long time-consuming drives will take the crowd out of it and will allow them to control the tempo of the game.
Clean It Up – The Patriots played very uncharacteristic sloppy football on Sunday with far too many penalties and putting the ball on the ground four times losing two of those. Losing the turnover battle and committing that many penalties is a surefire recipe for losing.
Ball security and limiting the laundry are keys this week. They need to force the Jets into making the mistakes and turning the ball over.
Finish Off Drives – The Patriots would have won the game with just one more drive finished on Sunday. They got a bit conservative in the red zone and need to let Mac Jones find a comfort level, especially with his tight ends closer to the end zone.
While each team has a lot of new faces, the Patriots roster is a better, more well-rounded one right now. I look for Jones to have a good game against a young secondary. Will the Patriots run it to 11 in a row against the J-E-T-S, Jets, Jets Jets? Yes…Patriots 26-17
Posted Under: 2021 Patriots Season
Tags: Bill Belichick Corey Davis Denzel Mims Jakobi Meyers James White Jamison Crowder Kendrick Bourne Mac Jones Nelson Agholor New England Patriots New York Jets Patriots Patriots edge rushers Zach Wilson