The Jets gave up 16 unanswered points in the first half to the Patriots after taking a 7-0 lead in the first quarter on a sustained drive. A Nick Folk 54-yard field goal at the end of the half cut the Patriots' lead to six at halftime.
The Patriots are 10-point favorites heading into the game against the Jets. Both teams are 3-3 in the AFC East. The Dolphins and the Bills are also 3-3, creating a four-way tie going into the week for first place in the division.
Per NFL rules, if an offense makes a substitution between plays, the defense is allowed to make a substitution as well. After reviewing film from the Patriots' 31-21 win over the Denver Broncos, the Jets coaching staff concluded that the rule was not regularly enforced during that game, which ultimately hurt Denver's chances at a victory.
Per a member of the Jets' coaching staff, "we have already talked to the league office and [New York head coach] Rex [Ryan] will be in the ref's ear about this all game." Additionally, the Jets staff will be certain to reinforce their position on the league's substitution rules before the game begins, when they are scheduled to meet with the game's officials.
The no-huddle offense that New England often runs, and the rules regarding defensive substitution, have gained significant attention leading up to this game, with the Jets publicly commenting on the issue on multiple occasions. Jets defensive coordinator Mike Pettine said that if these rule are not enforced that the game could become "chaos", and linebacker Calvin Pace even told ESPN that he felt the no-huddle is "borderline illegal."
Sunday's game between the New York Jets and New England Patriots will begin at 4:25 p.m. ET and will be broadcast on CBS.
The Pats lead the league in total offensive plays with 479. Two weeks ago, they set a franchise record for first downs with 35. This past week, Tom Brady attempted a career-high 58 passes. The team thrives on getting to the line of scrimmage as quickly as possible and moving on to the next play. The Jets' linebacker says the speed with which they operate is testing the edges of what the NFL rulebook allows when it comes to getting set before plays:
"It's borderline illegal because sometimes the guys aren't always set when they snap the ball," Pace said Wednesday. "But it's smart. Why not hurry a team up? I wish we would do it. For a defense, it just puts pressure on you."
Cimini reports that the Jets have been attempting to simulate the offense in practice, but that the team's scout team needs to convene while assistants give them plays, ruining the simulation. The Jets could be hampered by a tendency to swap out players for different packages defensively, as the hurry-up will capitalize on personnel deficiencies by not allowing their opponent to substitute on a play-by-play basis.
Belichick listed the various roles Tebow has, unable to fully classify how the Jets utilize him:
"He’s played more quarterback than anything else. He’s also played running back, he’s played what I would say is tight end, (and) he’s also played a little bit of receiver. They’ve put him in some different spots. When he’s the quarterback, he’s the quarterback: He can run, he can throw, he can run the option, he can run their regular offense or they can run Tebow-type plays there that Denver ran last year or that (Tony) Sparano ran when he was at Miami."
Tebow has been used everywhere by the Jets, and made his biggest play of the year by tossing a 23-yard pass in the team's win against the Indianapolis Colts, his second fake punt conversion in as many weeks. Belichick noted Tebow's unique abilities on special teams and said that his team would have to prepare for the extra options he brings to the punt unit.
Last year, Belichick had to prepare for Tebow as a quarterback when the Pats played Denver in the playoffs. That really wasn't much of an issue, as the Patriots stomped the Broncos 45-10, with Tebow only completing 9-of-26 passes. Belichick's offensive coordinator, Josh McDaniels, drafted Tebow for the Denver Broncos, but was fired part of the way through Tebow's rookie year.