Zach Wilson
Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Zach Wilson has the biggest test of his career on Sunday. The second-year quarterback and the Jets travel to Foxborough to face the Patriots, a division rival they’ve lost to 13 straight times.

While the Jets absolutely need to get this monkey off their back and defeat New England for the first time since December 2015, Wilson must also take a huge step forward. He threw three interceptions and was one of the sole reasons for a crushing 22-17 defeat when the Jets last faced the Pats in Week 8.

In less than three games against the Patriots, Wilson has thrown two touchdowns and seven picks with a 50.5 passer rating. He and the Jets must change the course of history against the AFC East rival, and it needs to start Sunday at Gillette Stadium.

Jets at Patriots

When: Sunday, Nov. 20, 2022
Where: Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, MA
Time: 1:00 p.m. ET
Radio: ESPN Radio New York 98.7 FM

Keys to victory

Stop the run. If the Jets’ front seven contains the Patriots’ rushing attack, it will force New England to beat New York through the air, where the Jets have defended well all year long (9th in the NFL with 201.1 passing yards allowed per game).

Pressure Mac. Patriots quarterback Mac Jones is prone to making mistakes and could certainly do so under pressure. The Jets, with their strong pass rush, must overwhelm a weak Patriots offensive line and force the young passer to turn the ball over, which he’s done eight times in six games.

Take pressure off Wilson. While Wilson needs a huge game, the Jets would still fare well by running the football and taking pressure off the young quarterback when they can. The Patriots field a rushing defense that’s 19th in the NFL (120.7 yards allowed per game), which running backs Michael Carter and James Robinson should exploit.


Zach Wilson.

This is self-explanatory — the kid needs to show up and show out Sunday and leave the Week 8 three-interception disaster way in the rearview. If he shines and leads the Jets to victory, the fans will adore him. But if he craps out again and the Jets lose to the Pats for a 14th straight time, fans may call for Mike White.

The organization desperately needs the former scenario to take place.

Did you know?

The last time the Jets defeated the Patriots:

Zach Wilson was 16 years old.

Sauce Gardner was 15.

Robert Saleh was the Jaguars’ linebackers coach and Joe Douglas was director of college scouting for the Bears.

This streak desperately needs to end for Gang Green.

The pick

This is the Jets’ biggest game of the year thus far and the most daunting task of Zach Wilson’s career. The fans will adore the young quarterback if he leads the Jets to victory; they will also call for his benching if he throws another three picks.

Unfortunately, I think head coach Bill Belichick has his way with the novice signal caller once again.

The Pats’ defense is coming off a strong 26-3 win over the Colts, New England is 11th in pass defense, and the Jets’ offensive line and wide receiver Corey Davis are banged up. Patriots 21, Jets 13.

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Ryan Honey is a staff writer and host of the Wide Right Podcast.