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Patriots-Jets matchup of the day: Wednesday

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Recent posts by Kevin Fishbain

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Posted Nov. 09, 2011 @ 1:37 p.m. ET
By Kevin Fishbain

Here's a key matchup to watch in the Week 10 game between the Patriots and Jets:

Jets RBs Shonn Greene and LaDainian Tomlinson vs. Patriots run defense

When the two rivals met in Week Five, it was the Patriots who won the battle in the trenches and dominated the ground game. But Shonn Greene had his best game of the season up to that point, rushing for 83 yards.

After getting a little less than 13 carries per game the first four contests, Greene has had 20.2 carries per game in the past four games. He rushed for 76 yards on 19 carries in last week's win over the Bills.

Tomlinson is not anywhere near the weapon he was last season, but he still is making an impact in the receiving game. He has three catches in each of the past three games.

The Patriots' run defense is their strength, as they rank ninth in the league in run defense. But they will be without arguably their top run stopper, MLB Brandon Spikes (knee) for Sunday's game. Jerod Mayo might not yet be back at 100 percent and the linebacking corps is thin. The D-line has played well, anchored by DT Vince Wilfork.

As poor as the Patriots' pass defense is, the Jets won't want QB Mark Sanchez throwing it 40 times. In the past two games especially, the run has set up play-action passes for Sanchez. Establishing the run also will keep Tom Brady off the field.

The Patriots are better off putting the Jets in 3rd-and-long situations, and they will need to stop the run to do that. With Spikes out, players like Gary Guyton and, if healthy, Dane Fletcher will need to step up in the second level. Undrafted LB Jeff Tarpinian also could factor in the rotation.

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