NEW YORK (WFAN) — Jets coach Todd Bowles isn’t taking the New England Patriots’ defense lightly.
After five games, New England is ranked last in the NFL in total defense and passing defense. But talking to WFAN’s Mike Francesa on Thursday, Bowles said he believes those stats aren’t a true representation of the Patriots’ defense, a unit that gave up the fewest points in the league just last season.
“We see the same players. They’ve got talent over there. They’ve got a lot of talent,” he said. “There may be a bust in the coverage here or there, but, like you said, they settled down against Tampa (last week), and I think they’re getting back to their roots of what they do best.”
The surprising 3-2 Jets, winners of three straight, will host the AFC East rival Patriots, also 3-2, at 1 p.m. Sunday. Of course, taking on New England means preparing for quarterback Tom Brady, who is expected to play despite dealing with a shoulder issue.
Bowles knows there’s almost no margin of error when trying to defend the five-time Super Bowl champ.
“We’ve got to be disciplined, and we’ve got to really play,” he said. “And we’ve got to try and make some plays. There’s nothing he hasn’t seen. He’s seen everything. You’re not going to fool him, and he’s got a bunch of pieces in (Brandin) Cooks and Gronk (Rob Gronkowski) and (Danny) Amendola and (Chris) Hogan and the three running backs and everything else. He’s got a bunch of pieces. We’ve just got to play sound football and not worry about who we’re playing and just do our job.”
Bowles is not calling Sunday’s game a must-win, but he also knows a victory over the mighty Pats would be huge.
“They continue to keep their head down and grind, so that part I love about them,” he said of his players. “We’ve just got to keep working to get better. They know one game early in the season isn’t going to make or break us, but at the same time, we have an opportunity to go 4-2 and go up one (game) in the division.”
To listen to the interview, click on the audio player above.