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Head Coaches Rex Ryan and Bill Belicheck

9-2 New York Jets (5-0 ROAD) @ 9-2 New England Patriots (5-0 HOME)

Gillette Stadium Foxboro, MA

8:30 PM ET on ESPN

Weather : LOW 26 HIGH 35 Partly Cloudy Precipitation: 20%

Betting Line: New England – 4

In what is without a doubt the biggest game of the first 13 weeks in the NFL season, the two teams tied for the best record in the AFC will square off tonight in Foxboro. A win would put either team in prime position to claim a bye in the first round of the NFL Playoffs. Add the intense nature of this rivalry, the Monday Night Football stage and the fact that the Jets dismantled the Patriots in Week 2 and we have ourselves the making of an NFL classic. GET YOUR POPCORN READY! Full preview after the jump…….

TEAM TOTALS

Offense

NYJ 362 YPG 213.5 Passing 148.1 Rushing 24.0 PPG

NE 349 YPG 236.7 Passing 112.5 Rushing 30.4 PPG

Defense (Yards/Points ALLOWED)

NYJ 296.9 YPG 210.6 Passing 86.3 Rushing 17.0 PPG

NE 399.1 YPG 288.5 Passing 110.6 Rushing 24.2 PPG

Tom Brady (left) Mark Sanchez (right)

Quarterbacks

NYJ

Mark Sanchez

201-364 55.2% Completions 2472 Yards 16 TD 8 INT Rating 81.9

NE

Tom Brady

235-356 66.3% Completions 2703 Yards 23 TD 4 INT Rating 105.8

As much of an improvement that Mark Sanchez has made in his second NFL season, Tom Brady is still one of the Top 3 quarterbacks in the NFL. Since Randy Moss’ departure, Brady seems more like his old self (his three Super Bowl Ring self) and has been spreading the ball around to WRs, TEs and RBs coming out of the backfield. Sanchez started the season without an interception in his first 5 games adding 8 TD passes. He has thrown at least one INT in each of the last six games (8 total). However, Sanchez has been at his best late in games and is developing a solid reputation as a late game closer. Wins are all that matter in the NFL; there are no style points. In the cold weather of Foxboro tonight, the winning team will undoubtedly be the one whose quarterback avoids the inevitable blitzes and keeps the other offense on the sideline using clock management.

Shonn Greene

Running Backs

NYJ

Ladanian Tomlinson

166 Attempts 741 Yards 4.5 Average 5 TD 45 Receptions 329 Yards 0 TD

Shonn Greene

140 Attempts 575 Yards 4.1 Average 1 TD 9 Receptions 69 Yards 0 TD

Brad Smith

27 Attempts 216 Yards 8.0 Average 1 TD 4 Receptions 44 Yards 0 TD

NE

BenJarvus Green-Ellis

145 Attempts 627 Yards 4.3 Average 9 TD 7 Receptions 57 Yards 0 TD

Danny Woodhead

64 Attempts 344 Yards 5.4 Average 3 TD 24 Receptions 230 Yards 1 TD

The Jets have relied on a backfield committee of Tomlinson and Greene throughout the season. In the past few weeks, Greene has seen an increased role in the offense with Ladanian moving to the role he was supposed to take at the beginning of the year as the third down RB and short receiving option. His early season surge forced the team to give him a prominent role. This has kept Greene fresh and since he is a prototypical East-West, head down RB he will now be able to finish the season strong while defenders are slowing down. Getting to 9-2 without a large contribution from Greene is a pleasant surprise but now the Jets will be able to lean on their workhorse for the remainder of the season. The always dangerous Brad Smith will take a few snaps in the Jets “Wildcat” offense which has been extremely effective in the past three weeks, including a 53 yard TD on Thanksgiving vs. Cincinnati. Against the Jets third ranked running defense, New England will have a tough time finding holes and will most likely remain a pass first team throughout the game. Green-Ellis (aka “The Firm”) will see limited work and we will see more of former Jet Danny Woodhead running short routes out of the backfield.

Santonio Holmes

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

NYJ

Braylon Edwards

35 Receptions 72 Targets 618 Yards 17.7 Average 6 TD 27 First Downs

Dustin Keller TE

39 Receptions 71 Targets 528 Yards 13.5 Average 5 TD 24 First Downs

Santonio Holmes

32 Receptions 56 Targets 491 Yards 15.3 Average 4 TD 25 First Downs

Jerricho Cotchery

29 Receptions 60 Targets 315 Yards 10.9 Average 2 TD 17 First Downs

NE

Wes Welker

65 Receptions 90 Targets 592 Yards 9.1 Average 6 TD 38 First Downs

Aaron Hernandez TE

36 Receptions 50 Targets 462 Yards 12.8 Average 3 TD 20 First Downs

Deion Branch

33 Receptions 50 Targets 433 Yards 13.1 Average 3 TD 24 First Downs

Rob Gronkowski TE

25 Receptions 32 Targets 310 Yards 12.4 Average 6 TD 15 First Downs

Brandon Tate

18 Receptions 35 Targets 301 Yards 16.7 Average 1 TD 10 First Downs

Santonio Holmes returned to the Jets offense in week 5 and has been their number one receiving option ever since, specializing in late game heroics. This is why the Jets traded for Holmes: head coach Rex Ryan was familiar with him from his days in Baltimore when Santonio was with the Steelers. Jerricho Cotchery will be making his return after sitting out two games with a strained groin. Having the third-down threat back will be key for the Jets while trying to exploit the Patriots below average passing defense. TE Dustin Keller, who had a 7 catch, 115 yard 1TD performance vs. New England in Week 2, will look to get back on track after not scoring a TD or having over 75 yards receiving since Week 4 vs. Buffalo. As for the Patriots: this year, two rookie TE’s (Hernandez and Gronkowski) have emerged as top options for Tom Brady. They have been running WR routes from the slot and both are big targets for Brady’s pinpoint accuracy. The departure of Randy Moss, paired with the return of Brady favorite Deion Branch has brought this Patriots offense back to its championship roots. They have recorded their first two 300+ passing yard games in the past three weeks.

Nick Mangold

Offensive Line

NYJ

Tackle

RT Damien Woody

LT D’Brickashaw Ferguson

Guard

RG Brandon Moore

LG Matt Slauson

Center

C Nick Mangold

NE

Tackles

RT Sebastian Vollmer

LT Matt Light

Guards

RG Stephen Neal

LG Logan Mankins

Center

C Dan Koppen

The Jets offensive line is widely regarded as one of the best in football. The rushing attack ranks fourth in the league and they have given up the third fewest sacks (19) of any team. Led by anchor Nick Mangold, this unit must push the line of scrimmage forward in order for the Jets to run effectively and keep the Patriots offense off the field. Since the return of All-Pro Logan Mankins from his holdout, the Patriots run game has been more reliable to the left side and Brady has been throwing screens directly behind him as the lead blocker. This will be worth watching tonight, how the Jets pass rushers can come off his blocks and make plays.

Sione Pouha

Defensive Front Seven

NYJ

DE Shaun Ellis

DE Mike Devito

DT Sione Pouha

OLB Bryan Thomas

OLB Calvin Pace

MLB Bart Scott

MLB David Harris

NE

DE Gerard Warren

DE Mike Wright

DT Vince Wilfork

OLB Jermaine Cunningham

OLB Rob Ninkovich

MLB Jerod Mayo

MLB Brandon Spikes

In a game where both coaches pride themselves on being defensive specialists, the defensive front seven will often be the difference in the game. For the Jets, it is imperative to get creative and send blitzers from all over the field to get passed the O-line and put hit on Brady. The game changes completely once Brady gets put on his ass. The Patriots front seven will do less blitzing as they will try to hold the line of scrimmage and limit the Jets run game. All season, teams have been stacking the box and daring Sanchez to make the deep throws. This week will be no different and having the big fella from THE U Vince Wilfork in the middle is a deterrent to RBs everywhere.

Defensive Backs

NYJ

CB Darrelle Revis

CB Antonio Cromartie

NB Drew Coleman/Kyle Wilson

FS Brodney Pool

SS James Ihedigbo/Eric Smith

NE

CB Devin McCourty

CB Kyle Arrington

NB Darius Butler

FS Pat Chung

SS Brandon Meriweather

Revis Island is back in business. Darrelle Revis has shut down top NFL receivers Calvin Johnson, Andre Johnson and Terrell Owens since returning to form about a month ago. He and Antonio Cromartie have joined forces to form the best CB tandem in the NFL (possibly all-time) and will be back to work this week against the Patriots perennially devastating passing attack. In week 2, Randy Moss made a one-handed circus grab that caused Revis to overextend and pull his hamstring. The highlight was played for weeks and people talked about Revis Island being deserted for good: Now he has his chance for redemption. Starting Safety Jim Leonhard broke his fibula in practice this week and is out for the season, he will be replaced by a committee of James Ihedigbo and Eric Smith. Leonhard called the plays in the defensive backfield and his absence will make communication amongst the DBs imperative if they want to stop Tom Terrific. Eric Smith and Brodney Pool will share play calling duties tonight. For the Patriots, Devin McCourty has truly come into his own in only his first NFL season. New England chose McCourty over future Jet Kyle Wilson on draft night only to hear critics question the move for months. Now, McCourty has two games with multiple INTs this season and is climbing into the upper echelon of CBs in the league. Coach Bill Belichick has praised McCourty as being a “film rat” and says that he works as hard as any DB he has ever coached (This man has coached Ty Law and Lawyer Malloy, two famously dedicated players). Pat Chung and Brandon Meriweather come together to form one of the harder hitting safety groups around and can put fear into receivers coming over the middle, a favorite place for Jets receivers.

Nick Folk

Special Teams

NYJ

K Nick Folk

P Steve Weatherford

KR Brad Smith

PR Jerricho Cotchery/Antonio Cromartie

NE

K Shayne Graham

P Zoltan Mesko

KR Brandon Tate

PR Julian Edelman

Nick Folk will be fighting for his job tonight, having missed key field goals over the past month. The Jets brought in former Texans kicker Kris Brown for a workout this week and Folk is surely feeling the heat. In a game between bitter rivals such as this, the kicking game often decides the winner. Brad Smith has been his usual self on kick returns; he won’t burn anyone away with his speed, but his elusive, intelligent style of running seems to put the Jets at the 30+ yard line every time. Losing Jim Leonhard also forces the Jets to send Cotchery and Cromartie back to return punts. Cotchery being more of a possession returner while Cromartie is electric and can always make a big play. Patriots KR Brandon Tate has returned two kicks for TDs this season and is extremely dangerous. Jets Special Teams Coach Mike Westhoff will have to draw up some of his legendary schemes to keep this weapon in check.

Prediction

In a hard fought battle of attrition, the Jets will be able to rattle Tom Brady with blitzes coming from all angles. Eric Smith and James Ihedigbo will fill in nicely for Jim Leonhard and will come off the edge in certain blitz packages. The Jets will run the ball effectively and will control time of possession. Belichick will keep the game close as he always does but in the end, Shonn Greene will run for over 100 yards and a score to lead the visiting team to victory. Nick Folk kicks the game winner.

JETS 24 – Patriots 21

Shaun Ellis sacks Tom Brady to clinch last Jets victory in Foxboro

Tags : Bill BelicheckFoxboroJetsMark SanchezMonday Night FootballNew England PatriotsNew York JetsPatriotsRex RyanTom Brady
Kathrina

The author Kathrina

Kathrina is an enthusiast of all-things college lifestyle. She's the expert!

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