1. Murphy's Law – The Monday night loss in Week 13 was one of those games where everything that could go wrong did just that for the Jets. Quarterback Mark Sanchez had three interceptions, struggling en route to completing just slightly over half his passes for a 27.8 quarterback rating. The ground game was effective but rarely got pounding with a 24-3 halftime deficit spelling the need for the passing attack to get points quickly – points that never came. And the Jets had no answer for a Patriots offense that clicked nearly every time on the field, with Tom Brady managing perhaps his most complete performance of the season.
Things can't go this bad again for the Jets, right? Right? 2. Some Marked Momentum –
One big reason why the Jets should be able to compete on Sunday is the improved play of Sanchez under center. The last New England game came in the middle of a three-game span where the Jets quarterback threw six interceptions and was sacked nine times, not numbers conducive to win on the road against one of the league's top teams. But in the Chicago game in Week 16 and then in the second half on Saturday night, Sanchez has rebounded to show his early season form, slinging the ball with confidence. Behind a resurgent rushing attack, Sanchez could be poised for a better Foxboro performance this time around, reminiscent of his Week 2 win at the Meadowlands. And if the run gets established early, then the Jets can ask Sanchez to manage the game and not carry the offense.
3. Getting Defensive –
In Indianapolis, the Jets made the best quarterback of his generation look average at best, confusing Peyton Manning with their multiple fronts and getting consistent pressure on the Colts quarterback. A major reason for the Week 13 loss at New England was the time Tom Brady had in the pocket, allowing him to run his fingers through his Justin Bieber locks, order a pair of Uggs on his Blackberry, plan a dinner date with Giselle and then pick apart the Jets secondary in his spare time. Sunday, the Jets defense held strong in the 17-16 win. The Colts were limited to 312 yards of total offense but the most telling stat was their time of possession, with the Indianapolis offense on the field for just 26:53 of the game. If the Jets can employ a similar scheme to limit Brady's ability to get on the field and make plays, they can certainly hang in the game.
Tom Brady started his playoff career with nine straight wins but since 2005, is just 5-4 in postseason play.