Tale Of The Tape: New York Jets At New England Patriots
- QuarterbackThe Jets are near the end of their rope with Geno Smith, because the second-year quarterback simply makes too many mistakes, lacks maturity and appears to have lost some confidence in his own ability. If Smith has any chance of being successful here, he needs to hit a couple of big plays to make the Patriots respect his talent. If not, it will be another long day.Tom Brady needs to get solid protection from his offensive line. If that group can keep the Jets’ tough front seven from applying significant pressure, Brady should be able to do anything he wants. He can pick the Jets apart with pinpoint accuracy, velocity, excellent timing and knowledge of what the defense is trying to do to slow him down.
- OffenseThe Jets would like to attack the Patriots with a consistent running game. If they can get some push with their offensive line, Chris Johnson should be able to exploit that blocking with several big runs. Additionally, Chris Ivory is a nasty power runner who can punish the defense. The Jets are hoping that wide receiver Eric Decker has recovered from a hamstring injury and can punish New England.The Patriots took big strides on offense against the Bills in Week Six. Brady’s primary targets are wide receiver Julian Edelman and tight end Rob Gronkowski, and Brandon LaFell and Brian Tyms also made big contributions. Stevan Ridley’s season-ending knee injury could hurt the Patriots’ running game, but they will turn to Shane Vereen and Brandon Bolden to pick up the slack.
- DefenseThe Jets are going to play a very aggressive defensive game and make the Patriots earn every bit of real estate they can get. The Jets rank sixth in both yards allowed and rushing yards. Muhammad Wilkerson and Damon Richardson key their defensive line, while linebacker David Harris is a superb tackler who plays with energy and intelligence.The Patriots defense has taken a big step up this year as the unit ranks fourth overall and third against the pass. Vince Wilfork is still one of the best in the NFL at destroying the interior run. Linebacker Chandler Jones is an excellent pass rusher who can also get the job done against the run. Darrelle Revis remains one of the top lockdown cornerbacks in the game.
- Special TeamsThe Jets do a good job in punt and kickoff coverage, and they can’t allow the Patriots to make any game-changing plays on special teams because the Jets’ offense is at such a disadvantage. Nick Folk is a fine kicker who can make clutch field goals for Rex Ryan.The Patriots are quite forceful with their coverage teams and rarely allow any returner to break out of tackles and make big plays. Edelman has the quickness and agility to break out of tackles and make significant yardage in the return game. Stephen Gostkowski almost never misses his FG attempts.
The Jets can make a game of it if their defense and special teams play at their best. However, the Jets are so deficient at the quarterback position that it doesn’t seem likely that they can come close to scoring with the Patriots. -Steve Silverman, CBS Local Sports