The Patriots already figured to be among the Jets' toughest opponents, but the rich got richer in New England when wide receiver Antonio Brown fell into its lap from the Oakland Raiders at the start of the regular season.
After the Patriots signed Brown to a one-year deal worth $15 million Sept. 7 following his release, he sat out the team's 2019 opener Sept. 8 -- not like New England needed him for its 33-3 rout of the Pittsburgh Steelers -- but made a splash when he debuted Sept. 15 in Miami.
The Patriots (2-0) downed the Dolphins for a 43-0 shutout, fueled early by Brown, who had three of his four receptions on the opening drive, totaling 56 yards and a 20-yard touchdown from veteran quarterback Tom Brady.
As the Patriots increase Brown's workload in practices, Jets head coach Adam Gase only expects the seven-time Pro Bowl selection -- who is expected to play as of now, despite facing sexual misconduct allegations -- to make New England even better.
New York gets a firsthand temperature check of Brown's impact on the offense when Gase leads the team into Sunday's 1 p.m. kickoff at Gilette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass.
"I'm sure (Brown's workload will) be more than it was last week," Gase said. "How do you prepare for his role with the team? He's a really good player. The hardest thing to do is keep him from taking the short throws and creating explosive plays, because that's what he does -- he does that so well. But at the same time, he's a really good route runner, he's a deep threat. He gives you problems at all three levels. I just think we need to do a good job of our in-game adjustments."
The Patriots added Brown to an offense that had already welcomed back wide receiver Josh Gordon, whose impact after a violation of the NFL's substance-abuse policy was immediately felt. In Brown's absence, Gordon became Brady's top target during the Monday Night Football rout of the Steelers, catching three passes for 73 yards and a touchdown.
"It's a good player for them to be able to add into that mix," Gase said of Brown. "Getting Josh Gordon back and having the pieces they have, with guys that have chemistry already -- for them it's good. Probably for the rest of us, it makes it a little more challenging."
Undermanned due to injuries throughout the first two weeks, the Jets hope linebacker C.J. Mosley (groin) and defensive tackle Quinnen Williams (ankle) recover in time as the defense braces for the biggest offensive test yet.
"It makes it a little difficult," Gase said of the injuries. "When you play these guys, whoever they have up front, the quarterback can help in that area -- and (Patriots offensive coordinator) Josh McDaniels will obviously do what he needs to do, if that's something that he thinks is a possible issue ... they won't hold onto the ball forever. They'll get it out, make sure the quarterback doesn't get hit. We just have to do a good job of really playing off what they're doing."
Through two games, the 42-year-old Brady has not missed a beat. In his 20th year, he has completed 44 of 64 passes (68.8 percent) for 605 yards and five touchdowns to no interceptions.
"This team has dominated the entire NFL," Gase said. "Everybody gives their best shot against these guys because they know it means something and that's what's been impressive about them is they've sustained it, they maintain what they do and figured out ways to win games with everyone giving. Whatever bullets they have, they take them. They have to fight back."