1) The Patriots must stop the Jets ground game: As much positive press as the Patriots have received about their passing attack and high-potential offense, they have avoided with their questionable run defense. New England finished among the leaders for the season in 2006, but there have been times in both the 2005 and 2006 seasons where the Patriots rush defense took time to come together. In 2006 the defense slipped to 20th in the league the first month before turning things around. With the addition of Thomas Jones to the Jets rushing attack, expect New York to take advantage of a depleted defensive line of New England's, which is missing Richard Seymour and Mike Wright.
2) Asante Samuel needs his game legs: It will take the Jets little time to test cornerback Asante Samuel if the Patriots opt to start him on Sunday. Activated for the first time on Saturday, Samuel had about a week of practice with his teammates all season. Samuel may be in shape, but how well he fits in to the defensive secondary - one missing Rodney Harrison - will go a long way to determining the Patriots success.
3) Patriots offensive line must step up: Tom Brady said that the Patriots felt the pressure the Jets brought in their last match up. It's one of the best ways for a defense to slow down the Patriots - get to Brady and make him uncomfortable in the pocket. New York has had its share of troubles getting pressure on the quarterback in 2006, and a better performance is expected in 2007. How well the Patriots handle that pressure is key.
New England returns five starters to its offensive line: LT Matt Light, LG Logan Mankins, C Dan Koppen, RG Stephen Neal and RT Nick Kaczur. Backup Ryan O'Callaghan - who pushed Kaczur for the starting job - adds quality depth at the tackle position. So consistency shouldn't be a problem for New England.