FOXBORO, Mass. — Some notes and nuggets from Friday’s New England Patriots media availability at Gillette Stadium:
— The Patriots visit the New York Jets this Sunday. Recent history tells us to expect a close game.
Seven of the last eight meetings between the longtime AFC East rivals have been decided by seven points or fewer, with the one exception being the Patriots’ 41-3 pasting of the Jets on Christmas Eve last year.
“Like any other team in our division, we know them,” Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski said. “They know us. We see each other twice a year every single year, and (we’re) just always competing. We always get up. And just the nature of the game — the nature of playing the Jets — it always goes down to the fourth quarter, so we’ve got to be ready.”
Here’s a quick look at how those seven Pats-Jets matchups played out:
2016, Week 12, MetLife Stadium: Patriots 22, Jets 17
The Jets led 10-0 early in the second quarter and 17-13 midway through the fourth, but a touchdown pass from Tom Brady to Malcolm Mitchell with 1:56 remaining proved to be the difference. Former Patriot Darrelle Revis was in coverage on the game-winning score.
2015, Week 16, MetLife Stadium: Jets 26, Patriots 20 (OT)
The coin toss game. The Patriots’ decision to kick off in overtime wound up costing them.
2015, Week 7, Gillette Stadium: Patriots 30, Jets 23
The Patriots trailed early in the fourth quarter but got late touchdowns by Danny Amendola and Gronkowski to pull ahead for good.
2014, Week 16, MetLife Stadium: Patriots 17, Jets 16
The 12-2 Patriots survived a scare against the 3-11 Jets, with Vince Wilfork getting a hand on a Nick Folk field-goal attempt late in the fourth quarter to help preserve the win.
2014, Week 7, Gillette Stadium: Patriots 27, Jets 25
Chris Jones blocked what would have been a game-winning Jets field goal as time expired, atoning for a mistake he made one year earlier.
2013, Week 7, MetLife Stadium: Jets 30, Patriots 27 (OT)
Folk missed from 56 yards out in overtime, but Jones was penalized for violating an obscure rule against pushing a teammate while attempting to block a kick. The 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty set up a 42-yard field-goal try a few plays later, which Folk converted for the win.
2013, Week 2, Gillette Stadium: Patriots 13, Jets 10
The Patriots scored their lone touchdown on the game’s opening drive and held off the Jets in a defensive struggle.
— Gronkowski, who plans to play this weekend after missing last Thursday’s game with a thigh injury, will see two new safeties opposite him in Jets first-round pick Jamal Adams and second-rounder Marcus Maye. He expects to hear some smack talk from the two young guns.
“I’ve seen it before,” Gronkowski said. “I’ve heard guys on the field talking when I’m facing younger guys. When I do get D’d up, they D you up, you hear them talking. You hear them talking smack. So that could be the case. I’m not over on that team. I don’t know those guys personally. So hopefully I just go at them and I’m at my best.”
Gronkowski said he’s “not really a talker” out on the field, but he loves when other players direct their taunts at him.
“I would say a lot of people do,” he said. “I like when people talk garbage to me.”
— One obscure jersey number note: Defensive end Keionta Davis, who currently is on the non-football injury list, now is No. 50. Linebacker Trevor Reilly took Davis’ No. 51 when he returned to the Patriots’ practice squad Thursday.
You won’t see Davis on the field until 2018 at the earliest — per NFL rules, he is ineligible to play this season, even if he becomes healthy enough to do so — but he’s just the third Patriots player since 2001 to be assigned No. 50.
The previous two? Mike Vrabel (2001 to 2008) and Rob Ninkovich (2009 to 2016).
Thumbnail photo via Robert Deutsch/USA TODAY Sports Images