September 21, 2017

Matchups Of The Week – Patriots vs. Jets

By Dan Zeigarnik, Patriots Daily Staff

Tonight’s game against the trash talking Jets, pits two of the worst 9-2 teams in recent history. Lets face it, with one of the leagues worst defenses that manages to let 3rd and longs be converted as easily as 3rd and inches, the Patriots have a long way to go until they become as dominant as their record suggests. Jets are in a similar predicament: a magnificent record that was earned by pulling out miraculous victories when defeat was at the doorstep. Despite their great records, an early playoff exit for either of these teams will not be a total surprise and Captain Hindsight will surely let us know exactly why it was obvious before the fact.

However, in a year where there are no teams without serious flaws and bad losses, home field advantage and a first round bye in the playoffs can make all the difference. And that’s exactly what is on the line tonight. It will surely be a great game, as there is much media hype about it, and the Patriots are well rested and playing at home. If the Patriots are to reach the lofty 10-2 goal, look for them to get the upper hand in these matchups:

1) Jets Running Backs vs. Patriots Linebackers

It is not a secret that the Jets have a great running game which will strain the Patriots linebackers. To add to the New England’s troubles, Tomlinson is also great at catching the ball in the flats which will force Mayo and Spikes to play sideline to sideline and open up the middle of the field for the likes of Keller and Holmes.

2) Patriots O-line vs. Jets Blitz

The Jets have gotten Calvin Pace back into to their linebacking corps, which frees up Jason Taylor to do what he does best; rush the QB. Combine that with Bart Scott and Rex Ryan’s blitzing schemes and it becomes an offensive line’s nightmare. Considering that Stephen Neal is now on the IR, there will be little room for error.

3) Dustin Keller vs. Patriots Secondary

The Jets tight end, Justin Keller, is one of Sanchez’s favorite targets. He often functions as an escape hatch for ‘Sanchise’, who frequently looks to his tight end in a pinch. Look for Chung and Meriwether to try to contain him.

4) Patriots Second Half Adjustments vs. Jets Schemes

In their week 2 meeting, it was only in the second half that things started to get unraveled for the Patriots. It was reminiscent of their problems from a year ago, when they were handily outscored in the 3rd and 4th quarters. Since then, the Patriots have gotten better in the second half and they will surely focus on not falling into the same trap against the Jets again.

5) Shayne Graham Vs. New England Weather

While his efforts are commendable, he is just not up to snuff. His kick-offs only make it to the 7 yard line, a sight so sorry that it has me considering dusting off my soccer cleats and trying out myself. However, some footie-pajama wearing blogger will accuse of me of being only slightly better then Graham and then I will know what it would be like to be criticized just for trying to make a living.

About Dan Zeigarnik

Like Bill Belichick, Dan is a graduate of Wesleyan University. When he's not obsessing over the Patriots, Dan works as a project manager for a nonprofit organization aimed at helping Boston area youths. He has also managed a recent district political campaign.


  1. Dan,
    You are right about the Jets Blitz and the Pats O-line being an important matchup but you cite the wrong LB. David Harris is the one making plays for the Jets. Bart Scott’s play has just not matched the hype about him. He has been a disappointment this season after a decent ’08 season. The move by the Ravens to retain Ray Lewis and Suggs over Scott and Adalius Thomas looks better every passing day.
    The special teams matchup to watch would be the kick-offs. The Jets have a very good return guy in Brad Smith. Over the past 5-6 weeks, the Patriots are giving up too many return yards to their opponents and haven’t had any decent returns of their own.

  2. Great article. For those that missed the well-placed South Park reference:

  3. Not only are the Patriots not a “historically bad” 9-2 team, they have, at least statistically, the best offense of all time. Seriously. They were almost as good as the 2007 Pats before tonight, and after dismantling a very good Jets D, this year’s team stands alone. A weak defense and perhaps the greatest offense ever makes them at least an average 10-2 team.

  4. Please, do yourselves a favor and look at little closer at the Pats defensive stats. There is a pile of yards, first downs and points that have been scored against them in garbage time. Games against Cincy, Indy, San Diego and Pittsburgh were all blowouts early in the 3rd quarter. I’d guess about 800 yards of passing and 75 points were given up there. Take those off the total and that D is middle of the pack at worst. I know, I know……. if IFs and BUTs were candy and nuts ……..we’d all have a 10-2 record.

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