The Patriots are coming to town for a big game against the Jets.
This isn’t a drill, I repeat, this is not a drill.
MetLife Stadium will be rocking Sunday afternoon for what’s become the surprise showdown on this week’s NFL schedule. Both teams are 3-2 with a share of the AFC East lead.
Again, pickup your jaw.
The Jets, winners of their last three games, have already exceeded the expectations of many around the league. This team only won five games all of last season, the odds they’ll exceed that total are becoming more realistic by the week.
New England, meanwhile, hasn’t looked anywhere near the juggernaut we’re all used to seeing dominate opponents. The offense is still dangerous with Tom Brady, as always, but it’s the defense which has looked surprisingly bad.
The Patriots’ defense ranks last in total yards, they’re extremely vulnerable to giving up plays through the air. They’re also ranked fourth-most in the league with 40 penalties, very unusual for a New England-coached defense.
It’s a matter of time before Patriots’ head coach Bill Belichick figures out why his defense can’t stop a nosebleed. In the meanwhile, it’s an ideal time for the Jets to dial up an air attack against New England’s struggling secondary.
The Jets aren’t exactly an air show this season, they put up 194 passing yards against Cleveland last week. But, with quarterback Josh McCown at quarterback, they’ve completed 71.4 percent of their passes.
McCown’s efficiency this season is a big reason why the Jets have been able to move the chains at crucial points in ballgames. It can’t hurt Jets’ offensive coordinator John Morton to take an early swing at getting McCown into a rhythm.
It can’t be overlooked in all of this; the Jets have a major red flag with their ground game. Matt Forte is still dealing with a turf toe injury, he’s missed the last two games. Powell, meanwhile, strained his calf against Cleveland. This leaves rookie Elijah McGuire as the potential next man up.
With a banged-up run game, the Jets may feel all the more inclined to take a few extra shots in the air against New England.
The Jets are winning games, but as head coach Todd Bowles made clear after the win over Cleveland, they still have plenty to improve on.
Specifically, penalties. The Patriots are not the only team in this matchup struggling to keep flags off the field. The Jets will have to cut down on their penalties to keep afloat with a team like New England.
“It’s good to get a win on the road, but obviously we have to correct a lot of things on both sides of the ball,” Bowles said. “And we have to get the penalties down, which keeps hampering us every week, which has to change.”
The Jets have shown a knack for coming up with the big play at the right time during their winning streak. It could be a key first down for the offense or a crucial stop by the defense, this team doesn’t get down on themselves when adversity hits.
It will take a team effort to take down the Patriots, but the surprising Jets are in an ideal position to come away with the upset.