After losing two consecutive games and its two-game lead on the Jets, the Patriots are in a three-way tie for the AFC East lead with New York and Buffalo. The good vibes from the bye week have long since passed, and they're scrambling to get it right in order to avoid their first three-game losing streak since 2002.
Despite the struggles, the fact that the Jets are on the horizon might be exactly what the Patriots need to get their attention heading in a positive direction. Cornerback Devin McCourty knew exactly how fast the Patriots would set their sights on their division rivals.
"Very quickly," McCourty said. "There's nothing we can do about this [Giants] game. [Monday], we'll come in, watch the tape, learn from it and right after that tape turns off, it's time to get onto the Jets."
The Patriots, Jets and Bills all have 5-3 records, and they've all got one loss in the division. The Patriots, who haven't beaten the Jets in New York since head coach Rex Ryan took over in 2009, are trying to sweep the season series, which would give them the tiebreaker.
"We know what we have to do," linebacker Rob Ninkovich said. "It's just like every week. We have to be prepared for the team you're going to play. You know the Jets are a good team. They obviously have guys that make plays, so we have to make sure we go to New York and do a good job."
However, even though the Jets are directly in front of them on the schedule, McCourty knows it's important to keep things in perspective. They've got to get their operation moving in the right direction, and they've got to stay on point. Otherwise, it could get a lot worse.
"I think there's still a lot of football to be played," McCourty said. "We can only handle and take care of what we can take of, and that's playing each game one game at a time. I think that has to continue to be our focus, or this thing will pass us by."