Patriots-Jets matchup of the day: Friday

Posted Dec. 03, 2010 @ 12:13 p.m.
Posted By Kevin Fishbain

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

Patriots sub defense vs. Jets running game

In their Week Two meeting, the Patriots had handled the Jets' rushing attack for most of the game, until the third quarter. LaDainian Tomlinson ripped off back-to-back runs totaling 25 yards en route to a Jets field goal to cut New England's lead to 14-13.

Both runs came against the Patriots' sub package, while their 3-4 base had managed to contain the Jets' backs.

When the Jets brought three wide receivers onto the field, the Patriots countered with their sub package. Now with Santonio Holmes (who was suspended for the first meeting) in the mix, the Jets could go to that look often with one running back and may look to attack the Patriots on the ground. The Lions found success against the Pats, who were missing a couple key defensive linemen (Myron Pryor and Mike Wright). Wright should return on Monday night.

The linebackers in the package are generally Jerod Mayo and Gary Guyton. Guyton is a solid cover linebacker who may have the task of covering Jets TE Dustin Keller, but he also will have to be alert for runs, along with Mayo, who is having his most productive season.

NT Vince Wilfork needs to get penetration up the middle and occupy multiple offensive linemen. He was publicly upset about the Jets' success against sub runs, saying on Boston sports radio WEEI after the Week Two loss, "We've been having problems with sub runs all year … Stuff like that irritates me."

On the outside, Tully Banta-Cain rushes off the edge in the Pats' sub package, and Jermaine Cunningham got some snaps there against the Lions. Those two players need to set the edge if the Jets run draw plays or decide to run with a spread formation.