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Jets Host Brady, Patriots In Game Full of Playoff Implications

(Tim Farrell / The Star-Ledger)

(Tim Farrell / The Star-Ledger)


When the Jets were 5-5, each game from that point on was a must win to stay in the playoff hunt. And with each win, the next game becomes bigger than the previous. And it is the same scenario for this Sunday’s game as the Jets host the 12-2 New England Patriots.

Tom Brady and the Patriots are looking to lock up the number one seed in the AFC while the Jets are just trying to find their way in. And for the Jets to pick up their fifth consecutive victory, here are a few things they need to do:

Turnovers – The Patriots play a clean game when it comes to turnovers. Tom Brady has only thrown six interceptions all season. The Patriots as a team have also fumbled the fourth fewest times in the NFL. Even with the Jets stellar defense, it is difficult to count on the Patriots making a mistake and turning the ball over. To counter that, the Jets cannot turn the ball over either. They cannot give Tom Brady extra chances to score. In their last meeting, the Jets had one turnover via a fumble and they ended up losing by a touchdown. It should be a close game on Sunday, and it may come down to whichever team makes the lone mistake.

Limit the Pass – When these two teams squared off earlier this year, the Patriots ran the ball a total of nine times, and four of those runs were Tom Brady scrambling. So the Patriots really only ran the ball five times. The Jets obviously need to limit the pass the best they can. Danny Amendola (knee) and Julian Edelman (foot) both participated in practice on Thursday but were limited in their participation. We still have to wait and see if they will be available on Sunday. But even if those guys are not 100%, it would clearly be beneficial to the Jets. But Tom Brady is capable of making back-ups look like veterans. So it will come down to how well the secondary defends, and how much pressure the line can put on Brady.

Run First – One of the things that most people do not realize about the Patriots is their defense. People do not realize that they are top ten in the NFL in rushing yards allowed and passing yards allowed. So it is not easy to put points on the board either way. But I think the Jets have to run the ball first because you don’t want to risk the interceptions. If Fitzpatrick throws a few early interceptions, the Jets might be playing catch up all afternoon. So run the ball first, get Chris Ivory in a good rhythm, and stay in the game.

The Jets are in a good position to win this game. They are playing for their playoff lives and they are on a four game winning streak. And the game is at home. But all the talk surrounding the Jets right now is that they could possibly go 11-5 and not make the playoffs. If the Jets end up winning their final two games, all they need is for the Steelers, Chiefs, or Broncos to lose just one game. The Steelers and Chiefs have pretty easy games remaining, but the Broncos have to play the Bengals this week. Andy Dalton may be out for the Bengals, but they are still a good team. And the Broncos have been struggling of late. If the Jets end up going 11-5, I have a hunch that they will make it into the playoffs somehow. But the only thing they can control is beating the Patriots on Sunday.

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