The 4-2 Patriots welcome the 1-5 Jets to Foxboro to renew the rivalry that has become one of the NFL's best over the last 15-20 years. The Jets need to win to not only save their season, but possibly to save coach Rex Ryan' job. Ryan has received the brunt of the criticism for what has happened in New York, but people need to realize that the personnel is chosen by John Idzik. Regardless of the situation in New York, the Patriots are coming into Thursday looking to take care of business. Let's take a look at the Weekly Five to see how this game will turn out.
1. How will the Patriots move the ball?
Unfortunately for the Jets, the best corner they've ever employed is now wearing a Patriots uniform, and the Jets haven't replaced him since he was traded away to Tampa Bay before last season. The Jets defense is still respectable from a yardage allowed standpoint, currently ranked sixth overall in total yards allowed. The problem is they're allowing 26.3 points per game, which is 25th in the NFL. The Jets offense is downright awful, averaging 16 points per game and ranking dead last in passing yards. They've run the ball well though and that could give the Patriots issues due to their depth problems at linebacker.
2. Can the Jets score against the New England defense?
If the Jets are able to establish the run by winning the line of scrimmage battle, then they may score some points, but I don't see it happening. Patrick Chung will continue to be a big part of the run defense and will help to contain Chris Ivory and Chris Johnson. Jace Amaro is going to be someone to watch considering the issues the Patriots have had with covering tight ends, but ultimately New England will figure out how to take him away too. Darrelle Revis gets to face his old teammates and he should be deployed on Eric Decker throughout the night.
3. Who has the edge in the coaching matchup?
Rex Ryan vs. Bill Belichick is always fun to watch, and with the forecast for tonight (heavy rain), this could be another one of the classic matchups because games with element issues tend to turn into a chess match. Rex Ryan was much better against the Patriots when he had Revis on his roster, and we should see that factor come into play tonight. It's a lot easier to play defense when you have the best cornerback on the planet on your roster- Rex and Bill both know that. Belichick and the Patriots have the advantage in this matchup.
4. Will the Jets find a way to give Brady fits?
Last week Dan Connelly got hurt early and Bryan Stork missed the game with a concussion, but Jordan Devey, Ryan Wendell and Josh Kline stepped up to protect Brady from the interior pass rush, which enabled him to have his best game of the season. Connelly and Stork are both questionable so we may see the same alignment up front. Muhammad Wilkerson and Sheldon Richardson, the excellent defensive ends for the Jets, are going to be a handful so don't be surprised to see the Patriots come out in ACE formation (two tight ends, one back) so they can max protect and also force the Jets to adjust. Nate Solder has been awful in 2014 and if he plays tonight like he has for most of this season, Brady could be in for a tough game. The Jets currently have 19 sacks total so far in 2014, so they've proven they can get to the quarterback.
5. Who wins the game?
The Patriots are 5-1 in their last six games vs. the Jets, with the one loss coming in overtime last year in New York. Rex knows how to plan for the Patriots, but it's hard to beat a good team when your own team lacks talent in crucial areas. Geno Smith is going to have a tough time getting into rhythym, Revis will take Decker away and Jace Amaro' damage will be limited. The Patriots will have trouble running the ball, but Brady and the passing game will get the ball rolling and help the Patriots earn their fifth win of the season.
Final Score: Patriots 30, Jets 13