Patriots-Jets matchup of the day: Wednesday

Posted Dec. 01, 2010 @ 2:26 p.m.
Posted By Kevin Fishbain

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

Jets KR-WR Brad Smith vs. Patriots' kick coverage/defense

Last week against the league's best kickoff-return unit, the Patriots struggled, allowing KR Stefan Logan to gain 27.7 yards per kick return, including a long of 42 yards. It doesn't get easier this week, facing the Jets and the league's second-best kickoff-return units.

Jets KR Brad Smith is gaining 29.2 yards per return, the most out of any kickoff returner with more than 10 returns. He scored on an 89-yard kickoff return in the Jets' Thanksgiving-night game against the Bengals. The Patriots will have enough problems slowing down the Jets' offense and they will make things even more difficult if the Jets get good field position. Smith had one kickoff return for 15 yards in the Week Two meeting against the Pats. Special-teams aces Dane Fletcher and Tracy White will be key in slowing Smith down, along with DBs Patrick Chung and Devin McCourty.

When he's not returning kicks, Smith is a weapon out of the Jets' "Wildcat" package. He had a 53-yard touchdown run against the Bengals, but didn't have any rushes against the Patriots earlier this season. If Smith is in the backfield, the Patriots' linebackers will have the job of setting the edge and keeping him contained.