Much-Hyped Patriots-Jets Matchup Set to Finally Come to Fruition

Much-Hyped Patriots-Jets Matchup Set to Finally Come to FruitionThere's nothing like a good rivalry, stemmed by a lot of hatred, to keep a high level of excitement going in a young season.

The defending AFC East champion Patriots (1-0, 0-0 AFC East) visit the hated Jets (0-1, 0-0) on Sunday in the first of two regular-season meetings between the teams, and the Pats have an opportunity to put their neighbors in a big hole at the start of the year.

It's the Pats' first taste of the New Meadowlands Stadium against the Jets. They took on the Giants there just over two weeks ago in the preseason finale.

WHEN AND WHERE

Sunday, Sept. 19, 4:15 p.m.
New Meadowlands Stadium
East Rutherford, NJ

Across Enemy Lines | Three Keys | Live Blog

HEAD TO HEAD

Befitting for these teams, the Patriots and Jets are 50-50-1 against each other, although New England has a 2-0 edge in postseason meetings. The Pats are 24-26 against the Jets on the road, including a 1-0 mark in the playoffs.

However, the Patriots are 14-5, including 8-1 on the road, in the series since 2001.

KEY MATCHUP

The game features two superstars on the outside in Patriots wide receiver Randy Moss and Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis, but it's highly unlikely that matchup will have much bearing on the game's outcome.

More importantly, it's about the Patriots' pass protection against the Jets' pass rush. The Pats have to keep Brady clean, and that’s an 11-man effort on every play. Brady and the offensive line have to read and recognize the blitz points and then make sure they communicate their blocking patterns. And then the receivers have to get open as quickly as possible for Brady to unload the ball before he's affected by New York's relentless rushers.

In the inevitable event that some rushers break free, the Patriots will always need a safety blanket underneath, such as Wes Welker, Julian Edelman, Aaron Hernandez or a running back.

If the Patriots can contain the blitzes, they'll obviously have a good opportunity to take advantage of their high-quality offensive weapons. If the Jets win those battles, though, the Pats won't have a chance to generate any movement, and it will give the Jets plenty of opportunities to force turnovers.

STAT SHEET

Patriots

  • Gary Guyton returned an interception for a touchdown and Brandon Tate returned a kickoff for a touchdown in Week 1, marking the first time since 2002 the Patriots have done both in one game. Tedy Bruschi (interception) and Kevin Faulk (kickoff) combined to do it against the Raiders eight years ago.
  • Safety Patrick Chung was credited with 16 total tackles by press-box statisticians last week, but according to the Patriots coaches' film review, he only had nine stops against the Bengals.
  • The Patriots held the Jets to 91 total first-half yards in their two meetings last season.
  • Wide receiver Brandon Tate racked up 184 kickoff return yards in Week 1, including a 97-yarder for a score. He averaged 46.0 yards in four returns.
  • Quarterback Tom Brady has completed 311-of-495 passes (62.8 percent) for 3,366 yards, 16 touchdowns and seven interceptions in 16 career games against the Jets.

Jets

  • The Jets held the Ravens to 1.4 yards per carry last week.
  • Linebacker Bart Scott had nine tackles and one forced fumble last week against Baltimore.
  • Linebacker David Harris — who had a team-best 142 tackles last season, along with 5.5 sacks, 12 quarterback hits and two interceptions — had four tackles and two pass defenses against the Ravens.
  • The Ravens only threw one pass in cornerback Darrelle Revis' direction, and it fell incomplete.
  • Quarterback Mark Sanchez completed 10 of 21 passes for 74 yards last week.

INFIRMARY REPORT

From Thursday's practice report

Patriots
Offensive lineman Nick Kaczur (back) did not practice and will not play.
Cornerback Terrence Wheatley (foot) did not practice and is unlikely to play.
Wide receiver Julian Edelman (foot) had limited participation and is questionable.
Running back Fred Taylor (toe) fully participated and will likely play.
Quarterback Tom Brady (right shoulder) fully participated and will play.

Jets
Outside linebacker Calvin Pace (foot) will not play.
Safety Brodney Pool (ankle) had limited participation and is questionable.
Cornerback Darrelle Revis (hamstring) had limited participation and is expected to play.

OUTLOOK

Keeping in mind that Week 1 overreactions are as dangerous as anything in sports, the short body of work that we've seen from the Patriots and Jets yields the notion that New England is a better team at this point. However, the Jets' blitz packages are a major wild card, and if the Patriots get beat, they've got to at least make sure a sack — and not a turnover — is the worst-case scenario.

New England's offense is certainly talented enough to break through the Jets' defense on a few possessions, but there is little reason to believe — through the preseason, as well as the Baltimore game — that the Jets' offense is capable enough to go stride for stride with the Pats.

There will be an immense amount of pressure on the Jets' defense to play one of its best games of the year, but in Week 2, the Patriots should rule the New Meadowlands.

Yardbarker

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 190,841 other followers