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Patriots-Jets matchup of the day: Tuesday

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Recent posts by Kevin Fishbain

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Posted Nov. 30, 2010 @ 4:24 p.m. ET
By Kevin Fishbain

Here's a matchup to watch in the Week 13 game between the Patriots and Jets:

Patriots NT Vince Wilfork vs. Jets C Nick Mangold

Two of the best linemen in the business will spar in Monday night's big game. Wilfork has been the Patriots' constant on a defensive line that has shuffled in new players and dealt with injuries of late. Wilfork spent some time this season playing end but is now back at his natural nose position, requiring double-teams as he plugs holes.

How good is Mangold? Well, Wilfork himself has called Mangold the best center in the league. The two-time Pro Bowler blocks for the league's second-best rushing attack. The Jets have given up just 19 sacks this season, tied for seventh-fewest in the league.

The respect is mutual, as Mangold said back in 2009 about Wilfork, "He's the type of player you never want to see, and the fact that I have to play him two times a year is miserable. ... He's a heck of a player."

In the team's first meeting this season, the Jets rushed for 136 yards and allowed three sacks. Wilfork collected four tackles. With DL Mike Wright questionable after missing Week 12, Wilfork will continue to have to pick up the slack up the middle to help stop the Jets' run game. The Patriots' way of winning has come via shootouts, and the Jets provide a tough offense to stop. The Pats' defense starts with Wilfork's ability to penetrate and attract attention up front.

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