Three things the Jets must to do to order to beat the Patriots:
1) Shorten the field
The New York Jets can keep the game close by doing a number of things, but the primary one is to shorten the field. If they can get good field position by stopping the Patriots drives early, forcing a punt, the Jets can get into good field position, which they are going to need to score points.
Brooks Bollinger has done well filling in for the injured quarterbacks this season on a decimated Jets roster. Last week against the Saints, 3 of the Jets 5 scoring drives were under 50 yards which means they had to have decent starting field position to get into range to score. Although it was Bollinger's best outing (19 of 28 for 251 yards and a TD), they still came away with field goals when they needed touchdowns. They will have to do better against the Patriots defense, which has improved against the run.
2) Run The Ball
In order to take some of the heat off Bollinger, the Jets will have to run the ball. The Patriots have been giving up big plays through the air, but it's more a result of their strategy to stop the run and make teams beat them on low percentage plays. Unfortunately for New England, the low percentage is exceedingly high against their secondary.
Curtis Martin continues to display the talent and skill that has enabled him to be so successful for so long in this league. Reaching the milestone of 14,000 yards and 3,500 carries was no accident; Martin's coaches know that getting the ball to him with decent blocking means success.
The Patriots have the 31st ranked defense in yardage, but only the 21st on the ground. Teams have found success through the air, but usually due to the threat of running the ball.
3) Win The Turnover Battle
The Jets can steal the win if they can find a way to create turnovers. Big plays are the key, but with the Patriots defense expected to have a better outing against a New York team absent the playmakers like Jake Plumber, Antonio Gates, Tony Gonzales or Peyton Manning, turnovers will be precious.
New England is tied for fourth worst in the turnover department at -10, and have been unable to come up with their trademark last minute turnover to preserve or win games. The Jets are slightly better at -9 on the season, making them the sixth worst in the league.
The Jets will be able to pile up yards against the porous Patriots defensive secondary, but the smart money has Bill Belichick figuring out a way to shut down their division rival's passing attack. Although injuries will also play a big part in this game, the expectation that the Jets can win outright is a bit farfetched. They can win, but they're going to have to catch some breaks.