The Jets host the Patriots this week in a prime time showdown. First place and the inside track to the division title are on the line.
Key Matchup When the Patriots Have the Ball: Sione Pouha vs. Dan Connolly
Stopping a high octane passing game sometimes starts with stopping the run. That is what happened with the Jets last week in Buffalo. Gang Green loaded passing lanes with defenders. This meant giving up a numbers edge in the box and daring the Bills to run it. Pouha and his fellow run stoppers dominated up front, slowed down the run, and allowed this strategy to work. He will have to do the same this week.
Key Matchup When the Jets Have the Ball: Mark Sanchez vs. Secondary
Everything is there for Sanchez. He has great receivers who are starting to pick up their play. The New England secondary is in shambles. The Pats allow more passing yardage than any team in the league. If Sanchez wants to take the leap to the next level, this is the kind of game he has to own.
Three Simple Keys:
1. Take Shots
The Pats are without two of their top three corners from Week 1. The only one still there has allowed more yards in coverage than any corner in the league. In the first meeting, the Jets did not try and exploit the holes in New England’s coverage until it was too late. They need to challenge the Pats early and often down the field.
2. Hit Tom Brady
This might be common sense, but Brady has carved the Jets up when they have not gotten consistent pressure on him in the past. Gang Green has made Brady look very human, though, at times when they have delivered hits. These need not only be sacks. Even if they are drilling him after he releases the ball, those hits add up and make a quarterback and rush things.
3. Win the Special Teams Battle
Close games like these frequently come down to the third phase of the game. New York needs to continue playing special teams at a high level.