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Recent posts by Kevin Fishbain
The Jets are the worst offense the Patriots have faced this season. The Gang Green should be able to score more points and gain more yards than the Dolphins, the Pats' Week One opponent, but they have had little success thus far.
Adding to that, the Jets will make a concerted effort to return to what worked last year — ground and pound, and that plays to the Patriots' strength on defense, which is stopping the run.
Simply put — defensive lapses shouldn't happen against this Jets team, and the Patriots shouldn't have to win a shootout to advance to 4-1.
The Patriots are dead last in the NFL in total defense. While that stat may be skewed by the fact that the Patriots have played with the lead often this season, it's worth mentioning that they relinquished a lead and lost to the Bills in Week Three, due in part to a defense that couldn't slow down Buffalo's attack.
If there's a game to boost the confidence of a young defense, especially the pass rush, it's this one. The Jets should have C Nick Mangold back, but his absence certainly doesn't explain the fact that the Ravens had 10 QB hits and forced three Mark Sanchez fumbles.
The Jets' rushing attack has been poor this season, but the Patriots will have to stop them without star ILB Jerod Mayo. Gary Guyton and Dane Fletcher will need to fill the void.
New England knows it can rattle Sanchez. Just look at last year's 45-3 win, when the Patriots confused Sanchez into three interceptions. He is prone to mistakes and has problems with his accuracy. The Patriots may have to win games with their offense and creating turnovers this season, similar to last season, and Sanchez could offer the secondary opportunities to take the ball away.
But a letdown on defense, a loss in a shootout — that would be a giant step back for the Patriots. A loss ties the Patriots with the Jets at 3-2 and gives their rivals the bragging rights. It would also say a lot about the defense if it gives up yards and points to the Jets' 25th-ranked offense.
The Jets need this game, as they don't want to fall to 2-3, especially at the hand of their rivals, and we know how much Rex Ryan wants to beat the Patriots. This is a game New England should win. Against the Jets' secondary, the Pats' offense might not be able to put up the kind of production it had recently, more reason that this is the time for the Patriots' defense to step up and shut down an opponent, just like it did in Monday-night matchup last season.