Game Preview: Patriots (11-3) @ Jets (3-11)

This week the Jets return to MetLife Stadium for their final home game of the season to take on their hated rivals, the New England Patriots. In this clash of AFC East opponents both teams are going in very different directions.

The Patriots come into week 16 as a ten-point favorite, as they should. Right now they are playing very well and are battling with Denver for the top spot in the AFC. As for the Jets on the other hand they can’t seem to get out of their own way.

Last week the Jets earned their third victory of the season in dramatic fashion. This week they will try to go for their fourth. Since the Jets cannot make the playoffs there motivation is to ruin someone else’s season. What better way to close out their final home game of the season then by beating the Patriots?

This week is all about one thing, pride. The Jets need to show they have some heart and come out and put a good game together for one simple reason, their fans. This season has been a hard one to watch for the green and white faithful but by beating there hated rivals on Sunday can ease some of that pain.

When: Sunday December 21, 2014 1p.m EST. (TV-CBS, Radio-ESPN)

Where: MetLife Stadium East Rutherford New Jersey

Injury Report:

Jets : Limited: WR Percy Harvin (ankle), G Willie Colon (knee), S Jaiquawn Jarrett (shoulder), DE Muhammad Wilkerson (toe), Full: S Antonio Allen (hand), K Nick Folk (right hip), RB Chris Johnson (knee), C Nick Mangold (finger), S Calvin Pryor (shoulder)

Patriots: Limited: LS Danny Aiken (finger), CB Kyle Arrington (hamstring), RB LeGarrette Blount (shoulder), G Dan Connolly (ankle), WR Julian Edelman (thigh, concussion), T Cameron Fleming (ankle), LB Dont'a Hightower (shoulder), DE Chandler Jones (hip), WR Brandon LaFell (shoulder), DE Rob Ninkovich (heel), RB Shane Vereen (ankle), LB Chris White (ankle) Full: QB Tom Brady (ankle)

Keys To The Game:

Someone cover Gronk- Covering the tight end has been an issue for the Jets for a long time. This week they go up against probably the best in the NFL. Rob Gronkowski leads all tight ends in receiving yards this season with 1,093. The guy is a force to be reckoned with and the Jets need to find a way to limit him somehow if they want to stay in this game. Someone from the secondary is going to have to step up and make some plays against the big guy or he will run all over the Jets.

Get off on third downs- Third down has been a major problem for the Jets this season as they never seem to get off the field on third down, especially in key moments of the game. They need to get Tom Brady and company off the field as soon as possible if they want to keep it close. If they let the Patriots go up the field and convert on third downs that tires out the defense and demoralizes them as well. It’s simple, at least on paper it is, get off on third downs.

Pressure Brady- In the last meeting between these two teams the Jets did a pretty good job of getting to Brady. With Mohammed Wilkerson’s health up in the air for Sunday that leaves the Jets a little thin on the defensive line. Granted the Jets have been playing well with big Mo out of the lineup but that was against a rookie quarterback and a third stringer. Brady is a different animal and he will cut you up if he has time. The Jets need to get into his face early and often. Force him into bad decisions and rattle him a bit because no NFL quarterback likes to get hit.

X-Factors

Sheldon Richardson- Richardson has really stepped up over the latter have of the season. He leads the team in sacks with 6.5 and is fourth in tackles with 60. With Wilkerson still up in the air Richardson needs to be at top form on Sunday. He is the Jets best defensive linemen right now and needs to create chaos for the Patriots up front.

Chris Ivory- It is not that far fetched to say that Ivory can’t get to 1,000 yards for the season. He is only 261 yards away with two games to go. If Ivory can come out and have a good game on Sunday he might have a shot. But for the game he needs to be affective. The way you beat the Patriots is by keeping their offense off the field and not committing turnovers. Running the ball does both of those things. Ivory has had a great season so far and needs to continue that on Sunday.

Nick Folk- In the last meeting between these two teams Folk was probably the game MVP, although his game tying field goal did get blocked as time expired. Folk might be a big factor again in this game as field goals is what the Jets sort of do best. Folk has only missed a handful of tries this season and for his standards that’s not good. However, he has been a pro bowl caliber kicker these last two seasons and needs to show that on Sunday.

Prediction

This game is going to be close I really believe that. It’s the Jets last home game and they want to win for their fans. They also want to beat the Patriots really badly as well. Usually if you beat the Patriots at least once in a season it’s a pretty good feeling. However, the Patriots are a machine right now with no signs of slowing down. I think it will be somewhat close but the Jets lose 21-13.


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