The prospects for the ground game likely weren’t a concern for the Patriots entering the 2023 season. After all, Rhamondre Stevenson was coming off a breakout campaign and he was paired with an above-average running mate in Ezekiel Elliott.

But in the first two games of the season, the rushing game just wasn’t there for New England.

Stevenson racked up a combined 75 yards on the ground in the Patriots’ home losses to the Philadelphia Eagles and Miami Dolphins. Elliott similarly wasn’t much of a factor, racking up a combined 42 yards on 12 carries.

These shortcomings prompted ESPN to label New England’s rushing struggles as the team’s biggest surprise through two weeks. However, veteran Patriots reporter Mike Reiss believes those issues are a mirage.

Story continues below advertisement

No Matchup Found

Click here to enter a different Sportradar ID.

“Until the Patriots get their offensive line together for an extended stretch, it is premature to judge the running game (47 carries, 164 yards, 3.48 yards per carry),” Reiss wrote in a column published Wednesday. “Rhamondre Stevenson is one of the team’s top offensive players, but the lack of holes to run through within the first two weeks has been notable from the line — which has struggled since Day 1 of training camp.”

    What do you think?  Leave a comment.

The Patriots might be able to get Stevenson and Elliott going Sunday afternoon at MetLife Stadium. The Jets boast a strong defense overall, but New York allowed an average of 115.5 rushing yards per game through two weeks. And even moderate success on the ground would help Mac Jones, who effectively had to carry the Patriots with his arm in their opening contests.

The AFC East rivals are scheduled to kick off at 1 p.m. ET.

Story continues below advertisement

Featured image via David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports Images