Game Preview: Jets (1-5) @ Patriots (4-2)

The Jets are looking to snap their five game losing streak by defeating hated division rival New England Patriots in a nationally televised Thursday night matchup.

The 1-5 Jets are in the midst of their first five game losing streak since the 2007 season. And things do not get any easier as they go up against the Patriots who seemed to have recovered from an embarrassing 41-14 loss to the Chiefs on Monday Night Football two weeks ago.

Since that loss to Kansas City, the Patriots have blown out the Bengals and the Bills 43-17 and 37-22 respectively.

The Jets are coming off a heartbreaking 31-17 loss to the Denver Broncos. They were competitive throughout taking an early 7-3 lead and battling back to within a touchdown after falling behind 24-7 but were unable to pull off the comeback.

“Well I think you know how I feel about a 1-5 start,” said Ryan after Sunday’s loss. “Obviously (we’re) not even close to where we thought we’d be. But again all the wishing and everything else is going to do nothing. That’s not going to change anything. We have to find ways to win and we have to do it in a hurry” Ryan added.

Now, the Jets enter the final week of their hellish six-week stretch of facing top-flight quarterbacks.

While the Jets have struggled, they have competed in every game so far this season with the exception of the week five debacle against the Chargers. Without the last minute pick-six against Denver on Sunday, the Jets would have lost to perhaps the best team in the AFC and possibly the NFL by only seven points.

The defense held the great Peyton Manning to only 237 yards passing, his lowest since week 12 of last season according to Metro New York’s Kristian Dyer.

On the flip side, the Jets run defense was bad for a second consecutive week. They allowed Denver backup running back Ronnie Hillman to rush for 100 yards after allowing Chargers third-string running back Branden Oliver to rush for 114 yards the previous week.

While the Jets need actual wins instead of moral victories, there were a few positives the Jets can take away from the loss. Specifically the play of rookie tight end Jace Amaro and Geno Smith who rebounded nicely against a tough Denver defense finishing the game with a quarterback rating of 70.9, his highest since week three and much better than his atrocious 7.9 rating against the Chargers.

Now the Jets have to play a hot Patriots team on a short week something Ryan acknowledged will be a challenge.

“Obviously the challenge, going on the road on Thursday to play is a big challenge,” Ryan said. “But I think I got the men in my locker room and I know we’re going to give every ounce of energy we have at it. And prepare and go up there and play the best game we can, possibly and find a way to win.”

So, lets dive in.

WHEN: Thursday, October 16, 2014, @ 8:25 p.m. EST. (T.V.-CBS/NFL Network, Radio, ESPN)

WHERE: Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, Massachusetts

INJURY REPORT:

JETS - TE Jace Amaro (Knee) Probable S Josh Bush (Quadriceps) Doubtful, OL Willie Colon (Knee) Probable, WR Eric Decker (Hamstring) Probable, OL Breno Giacomini (Low Back) Probable, LB David Harris (Shoulder) Probable, DL Damon Harrison (Ankle) Probable RB Chris Johnson (Ankle) Probable, OL Nick Mangold (Shoulder) Probable, WR David Nelson (Ankle) Probable, LB Trevor Reilly (Knee) Out, WR Greg Salas (Wrist/Ankle) Out, DB Darrin Walls (Knee) Probable.

Patriots- LB Jerod Mayo (Knee) OUT, RB Stevan Ridley (Knee) Out, OL Dan Connolly (Concussion) Questionable, DB Nate Ebner (Finger) Out, OL Cameron Fleming (Finger) Out, OL Bryan Stork (Concussion) Questionable, QB Tom Brady (Ankle) Probable, CB Brandon Browner (Ankle) Questionable, LB James Collins, (Thigh) Questionable, DL Dominique Easley (Shoulder/Knee) Questionable, LB Dont’a Hightower (Knee) Questionable, DE Chandler Jones (Shoulder) Probable, S Devin McCourty (Rib) Probable, WR Matthew Slater, (Shoulder) Questionable.

Game Keys:

Pressure Tom Brady- The book on how to beat Tom Brady has had the same title for years. In order to beat Brady, the defense has to put severe pressure on him and not let him sit back in the pocket.

In the Patriots two losses this year, Brady was sacked four times against the Dolphins, three times against the Chiefs and hit eight other times combined. In the Patriots four wins, Brady has only been sacked a total of four times.

While the Jets defense has their weaknesses, their pass rush isn’t one of them. With two sacks on Peyton Manning last week, the Jets upped their total to 19 on the season only one behind the league leading Detroit Lions.

While the Jets may have had only two sacks last week, they were able to consistently pressure Manning with only rushing three or four players. This allowed the defense to drop seven or eight men in coverage which confused Manning at times.

The Patriots offensive line is much worse then the Broncos as are their wide receivers. Therefore if the Jets can replicate last week’s defensive game plan and execute it as good if not better they should be able to stifle Brady and the Patriots offense.

Run the ball- The Jets were, simply put, atrocious running the ball last week. The running backs only managed a combined 20 yards on 13 carries for an average of one and a half yards per rush. The leading rusher last week, was their quarterback who rushed for 11 yards on two carries bringing the team total to 31 yards on 15 carries.

“We have to run the football,” Ryan said after Sunday’s loss. “We’re built to run it and we just got to stay the course with it.”

Unlike the Broncos, the Patriots do not have a fantastic run defense. The Patriots give up an average of 111 rush yards per game. The Jets like to tout their “three-headed monster” they have in the form of Chris Ivory, Chris Johnson, and Bilal Powell and they need the trio to come up larger than they did against Denver on Thursday.

Running the ball effectively will also take the game out of the hands of their turn over prone quarterback. While Smith played well last week, he has struggled mightily at times this season and a non-existent running will only add more pressure on to Smith’s shoulders. If you don’t believe me, take it from Ryan.

“Well I think that puts pressure on anybody (when you can’t run the ball), “ said Ryan. “If you’re just having to throw it every snap, obviously it puts a ton of pressure on you” Ryan added.

The Jets need to run the ball and control the clock, which will keep the Patriots’ high-powered offense off the field.

Better O-Line Play/Convert on third down- The Jets have one of the worst third down conversion rates in the NFL in 2014. Through the first six games, the Jets third down conversion rate is 37.65 percent, which ranks the 24th in the NFL.

The Jets offense has had it’s moments at times this season like when they jumped out to a 21-3 lead against the Packers or last week when they fired off ten straight unanswered points against a strong Denver defense to get back in the game.

The Jets need to consistently move the ball offensively. The Jets can’t keep following up momentum shifting defensive stops with a quick three-and-out drive. It gives the momentum right back to the opposing team.

The Jets won’t be able to convert third downs if their offensive line play continues to struggle. After a poor performance against the Chargers, the o-line struggled again allowing four sacks, nine quarterback hits and seven tackles for loss.

This put the Jets behind the eight ball and forced them into a few too many third-and-long situations. When the pass protection holds up, the Jets become a much different offensive team.

“When we have time to throw and we can get separation, this kid (Smith) can throw the ball with anybody” said Ryan.

Offensive line play will play a large role in determining whether or not the Jets win this game. They will face another challenge this week as they are going against the Patriots as they have 15 sacks on the season tying them for seventh in the NFL.

X-FACTORS:

Jace Amaro- As our own Editor-in-Chief, Chris Nimbley pointed out, it took the Jets six games to realize that they spent a second-round pick on Amaro.

Amaro was heralded coming out of college as a potential game-changing, pass catching tight end, and on Sunday he showed glimpses of that potential.

Amaro had ten catches for 68 yards including his first career touchdown on 12 targets.

Amaro was a threat from everywhere as he lined up all over the field on. Sunday. He was dangerous as a regular tight end and split out as wide receiver as evidenced by that fade route he ran that resulted in his touchdown catch.

But it was not all pretty for Amaro, he hurt his knee and had a late drop towards the end of the game that would have been a first down with room to run.

Former Jet Darrelle Revis, will, presumably for the most part be lined up against the Jets number one receiver Eric Decker, Amaro should be targeted early and targeted often as one of the top options in the Jets’ passing attack.

Secondary play- The Jets much maligned secondary, suffered a crucial loss in the secondary last week when Dee Milliner, tore his Achilles tendon early on in the first quarter in Sunday’s loss to the Broncos ending his season.

This leaves the Jets with the banged up Darrin Walls and Phillip Adams as their starting cornerbacks for this week with Kyle Wilson lined up in the slot. The Jets apparently ended their experiment with Antonio Allen at corner as he hasn’t been featured at corner much if not all during these past two weeks.

Clearly the Jets’ secondary is an issue. On the plus side the Patriots don’t have All-Pro wide receivers on the roster. But as Ryan points out, the Jets at times have struggled with missed assignments resulting in the occasional touchdown which have been back breaking.

The Jets must also beware of tight end Rob Gronkowski who after battling a forearm injury and a torn ACL and MCL in 2013 looks like he has finally returned to his former All-Pro self.

The aforementioned Allen, will most likely be lined up against Gronkowski, the third time he has been matched up against a Pro-Bowl tight end in the past three weeks.

The previous two times, haven’t gone Allen’s way as Antonio Gates and Julius Thomas each caught four passes for two touchdowns.

The Jets are ranked 15th in passing yards allowed per game, giving up an average of 235 yards a game but on the flip side, the Jets along with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have given up the most passing touchdowns with 15 .

Going against a hall-of-fame quarterback like Tom Brady, the secondary has to be on their “A” game or things can get ugly.

The Pick: The Jets need a win in the worst way possible. Ryan needs a win to cool down the hot seat he is on and most importantly the Jets need a win to move up in the standings.

The time for moral victories is over and the Jets can’t afford to dig themselves a bigger hole than they are already in. Ryan insists that the Jets are “not dead yet” but a loss to the rival Patriots might do the trick.

Even Ryan admits that the Jets playing the Patriots on a short week isn’t “ideal” and all signs point to another loss for the Jets.

As much as I feel like the Jets are capable of beating New England, the short week combined with the Jets having to replace two starters, (Milliner and Winters) and the inconsistent quarterback play doesn’t give me enough confidence to firmly say the Jets will win.

As Muhammad Wilkerson said, “We were behind a wall, I felt like we cracked that wall today and hopefully we can break it come Thursday night.”

I think the Jets will crack a few more holes in that wall but will not break it down.

Patriots win 28-17

INJURY REPORT

NEW YORK JETS

Pos.

Player

Injury

Monday (10/13)

Tuesday (10/14)

Wednesday (10/15)

Game Status

TE

Jace Amaro

Knee

Limited

Full

Full

Probable

S

Josh Bush

Quadriceps

Limited

DNP

DNP

Doubtful

OL

Willie Colon

Knee

Limited

Full

Full

Probable

WR

Eric Decker

Hamstring

Limited

Limited

Full

Probable

OL

Breno Giacomini

Low Back

Full

Full

Full

Probable

LB

David Harris

Shoulder

Limited

Limited

Limited

Probable

DL

Damon Harrison

Ankle

Full

Full

Full

Probable

RB

Chris Johnson

Ankle

Full

Full

Full

Probable

OL

Nick Mangold

Shoulder

Limited

Full

Full

Probable

WR

David Nelson

Ankle

Limited

Full

Full

Probable

LB

Trevor Reilly

Knee

DNP

DNP

DNP

Out

WR

Greg Salas

Wrist/Ankle

DNP

DNP

DNP

Out

DB

Darrin Walls

Knee

Limited

Full

Full

Probable

(The Jets conducted a walk-through on Monday and Wednesday. The Monday and Wednesday reports are estimations.)

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS

Pos.

Player

Injury

Monday (10/13)

Tuesday (10/14)

Wednesday (10/15)

Game Status

LB

Mayo, Jerod

Knee

OUT

OUT

OUT

OUT

RB

Ridley, Stevan

Knee

OUT

OUT

OUT

OUT

OL

Connolly, Dan

Concussion

DNP

DNP

DNP

Questionable

DB

Ebner, Nate

Finger

DNP

DNP

DNP

OUT

OL

Fleming, Cameron

Finger

DNP

DNP

DNP

OUT

OL

Stork, Bryan

Concussion

DNP

DNP

DNP

Questionable

QB

Brady, Tom

Ankle

Limited

Limited

Limited

Probable

CB

Browner, Brandon

Ankle

Limited

Limited

Limited

Questionable

LB

Collins, Jamie

Thigh

Limited

Limited

Limited

Questionable

DL

Easley, Dominique

Shoulder/Knee

Limited

Limited

Limited

Questionable

LB

Hightower, Dont'a

Knee

Limited

Limited

Limited

Questionable

DE

Jones, Chandler

Shoulder

Limited

Limited

Limited

Probable

S

McCourty, Devin

Rib

Limited

Limited

Limited

Probable

WR

Slater, Matthew

Shoulder

Limited

Limited

Limited

Questionable

(The Patriots did not practice on Monday. The Monday report is an estimation.)

Bold indicates change in status

Italics indicates placed on Injured Reserve


Jets Insider Top Stories