The Jets and Patriots will square off for the second time this season Monday night in an extremely short span, as the two teams saw each other just a few weeks ago during Week 3.
The Patriots hosted the Jets in the last time out and handled their business, leaving Gillette Stadium with a 3--0 record, but just based on the substitution of one player this week, Monday night could potentially be a whole different type of ball game.
The Jets of course will be in the hands of Sam Darnold this time around, as the second-year quarterback was out with mono for the first time these two teams met this season. Luke Falk got his first career start in Week 3 with Darnold absent and struggled throughout, finishing 12-of-22 for 98 yards and an interception.
But Sam Darnold isn't Luke Falk, and he showed just that this past Sunday against the Cowboys, when he led the team to a 24-22 upset for New York's first win of the season.
Darnold finished 23-of-32 for 338 yards--three shy of his career best--and two touchdowns, earning him AFC Offensive Player of the Week honors.
The insertion of Darnold into the game changes the gameplan entirely for Bill Belichick's defense, as the passing game is now a viable option of attack for Adam Gase's offense this go around. Despite the quick turn around in facing each other, this is a totally different matchup.
Robby Anderson, Jamison Crowder and Demaryius Thomas now have an opportunity to make up for lost time with Darnold back, and the Patriots are the ultimate test for the trio to prove that this offense can compete with the best of them.
Leveon Bell is also set to benefit greatly from Darnold's return after teams were able to see what he can do against a good defense, such as Dallas'.
And no one stands to benefit more than Adam Gase, who came to New York expecting to have Darnold available to showcase his offensive schemes.
However, just because Darnold is back, that doesn't mean we can get ahead of ourselves just yet. The Patriots have arguably the best defense in the league, led by two of the top defenders in the league in Jamie Collins--who will spend the majority of the game breathing down Darnold's throat--and Stephon Gilmore--who will try to lock down Anderson from start to finish.
Once the dust settles in New Jersey Monday night, no matter the score, we will truly see what this Jets offense can be this season.