The New York Jets, fresh off of a bye week, will face an equally rested (and angry) New England Patriots in Week 12 of the NFL season. Here are five burning questions to set you up for that matchup.
The New York Jets and the New England Patriots are on the complete opposite ends of the NFL spectrum.
On one side, the Jets are dwindling in mediocrity with much of the fan base contemplating whether or not they should be rooting for the Jets to lose out the rest of the way for a premium first-round draft pick.
While ho-hum, the Patriots are once again at the top of the AFC East thinking how they’ll spend their first-round bye vacation before another potential Super Bowl run in 2018.
At the same time, life isn’t always what it appears to be in the NFL. So, to get a better scope of what is truly going on 1 Patriots Drive, Boy Green sat down with Alec Shane of the Pats Pulpit to dissect this matchup a little more closely.
Here are the five burning questions on this game and for our audio listeners a more in-depth conversation exists on The Jets Zone, a weekly New York Jets podcast in which Alec and Boy Green really did a head dive into this game and the state of the AFC East (attached below):
1. I’m not sure if I’m searching for a silver lining here, but the three losses for the New England Patriots have all been blowouts on the road. What has gone wrong for the Patriots in these games and is that a blueprint to beat this team?
When the Patriots lose games, they always seem to lose them the same way: on the road where the defense has a lot of trouble stopping the run, which allows the opposing QB to sell the play action extremely well and move the ball downfield at will. Then the opposing defense is able to get pressure up the middle with three or four rushers, rattle Brady early, and then he starts zeroing in on his favorite targets and never quite finds a rhythm.
It has happened like that in every loss this season and going back several years, that’s almost always the way the Patriots lose games. So yes, there’s a blueprint, and there has been one for years. It’s just a matter of whether or not a team has the personnel to do it.
2. Tom Brady is 41-years-old, yet here he is once again on top of the AFC East with perhaps another Super Bowl appearance on his mind. Have you noticed any regression from Brady this season?
Actually, yes. Brady isn’t playing at the same level as he was last year.
In his defense, His 2017 campaign saw him win the NFL MVP, so a step backward isn’t the end of the world at all. But you can see that some of his throws are hitting the dirt or sailing high, his decision making isn’t as lightning quick as it has been in the past, and his accuracy isn’t as pinpoint as it used to be. It isn’t a stark dropoff, and there’s nothing resembling a cliff; he’s still a Top 5 QB in this league.
But if the question is whether or not Brady has lost a step thus far, the answer is yes. He’s 41, after all. It’s going to happen.
3. Do the Patriots regret letting Dion Lewis go? What has the backfield looked like this year with the other weapons they’ve had?
I loved me some Lewis—but with the way James White has been playing as a 3rd-down/receiving back, the Patriots haven’t missed much in terms of production. The combination of White and rookie Sony Michel was up there with any RB duo in the league until Michel hurt his knee against the Bears a few weeks back, sidelining him completely.
He saw limited snaps against the Titans, but isn’t back to full strength yet. Hopefully, the additional rest and bye week did him well and he’ll be back up to speed this Sunday, as he was absolutely fantastic earlier on in the season.
#NEvsNYJ FULL GAME PREVIEW: @BoyGreen25 spoke w/ @alecdshane of the @patspulpit to talk Josh Gordon #Patriots experience so far + injury report + how James White is leading the #GoPats in receiving & more. #Jets #JetUp #HappyThanksgiving @EliteSportsNY https://t.co/j8pIEE8zI2
— The Jets Zone (@TheJets_Zone) November 20, 2018
4. With no Matt Patricia this year, how has the defense looked for the Pats? Who has stood out? Who has disappointed?
The biggest difference between Matt Patricia’s defense and Brian Flores’s defense is that the new guy likes to attack the point of the ball and take a few more risks. Patricia very much embraced a wait-and-see approach, studying what the offense was doing while leaving the short passes open and stiffening up in the red zone.
The 2018 defense is a little more aggressive, and it has seen mixed results. They’re really giving up a lot of points this season, and although not all final scores are created equal, you get the sense that they’re still trying to solidify their identity. Hopefully, they’ll be making a strong push as we get ready to close out the season.
5. How do you see this one playing out?
The Patriots just got smoked, and have had a full week off to think about it. The Jets are a bit shaky right now, and the Patriots need this game to right the ship. I see this one as either being a statement game or the realization that 2018 just isn’t their year in terms of a Super Bowl run, so we’ll have to see.
If I had to guess, I’d say it’s the former, with the Patriots winning to the tune of something like 31-17.