Week 17 Preview: New York Jets at New England Patriots

Week 17 Preview: New York Jets at New England Patriots

by December 30, 2018 0 comments

The New England Patriots are in charge of its own destiny, which seemed like a pipe dream after losing two straight games to the Miami Dolphins and Pittsburgh Steelers.

With the Patriots defeating the Buffalo Bills last week and the Houston Texans losing late to the Philadelphia Eagles, New England will receive at the worst the No. 2 seed in the AFC with a victory over the New York Jets this afternoon. Even if the Texans defeat the Jacksonville Jaguars, the Patriots own the tiebreaker due to the fact that they beat Houston in the season opener.

New England has a rather outside chance at obtaining the No. 1 seed in the AFC if both the Kansas City Chiefs and Los Angeles Chargers fall to the Oakland Raiders and Denver Broncos, respectively. The odds of that happening are slim to say the least.

More so than in seasons’ past, this current installment of the Patriots could really use a first round bye heading into the playoffs. Every team is banged up by this time of year and dealing with a myriad of injuries. But when a 41-year-old quarterback is under center with a All-Pro tight end that has simply looked like a shell of himself, it sure is a team that could use all the rest it can get.

All of this boils down to the fact that the Patriots just need to take care of business against the Jets. Reports have surfaced this week that head coach Todd Bowles could very well be fired after the game, so it will be interesting to see if the rumors have any sort of affect on the team.

As noted by the Boston Globe’s Ben Volin, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick is 17-5 (10-0 at home) against rookie quarterbacks. New England did not see the third overall pick in this past draft in Sam Darnold earlier in the year, as he was sidelined with an injury. Darnold has felt more comfortable in the pocket as of late, as he has thrown five touchdowns and zero interceptions with a quarterback rating of at least 100 in his last two games.

Belichick has consistently been able to draw up complex schemes at the line of scrimmage to disguise coverages that overwhelm first year signal callers, and he will look to do the same today against the product of USC.

With that being said, he will be without a few weapons at his disposal in wide receivers Quincy Enunwa (ankle) and Jermaine Kearse (achilles).

Offensively, it will be interesting to monitor how Rob Gronkowski looks against Jets safety Jamal Adams, especially with the team down a threat in Josh Gordon.

Tom Brady is 13-3 at home against the Jets his career, and will have to implement the classic dink-and-dunk offense if it wants to maintain its playoff position.

The Patriots had success running the football in their Week 12 victory at the Jets, as rookie running back Sony Michel scampered for 133 yards on 21 carries for a score. Look for them to try and continue to have the same success on the ground today as a way to control the time of possession.

Meanwhile, Brady had one of his worst games in recent memory last week, as he struggled developing a rapport with any option in the passing game with just 126 yards through the air with two interceptions, all the while managing just 13 completions on 24 attempts.

He may be without speedster Cordarrelle Patterson as well, who is listed as questionable with a knee injury.

While this is a flawed Patriots team, it should have more than enough to take care of the Jets, especially with playoff implications on the line.

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