The Jets (5-10) against the New England Patriots (12-3) at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts, on Sunday, Dec. 31, at 1 p.m. ET.
Miserable. … OK, it's only miserable if you hate the cold, I guess. The high temperature is expected to be 14 degrees with winds of 10-15 mph. Plus, if you go, you get to deal with miles and miles of traffic on I-95 on the way home, on New Year's Eve no less. Yay?
WHAT IT MEANS
Nothing for the Jets, unless Christian Hackenberg enters, in which case I promise I'm paying attention. I suppose it could mean something for Todd Bowles' future, but really if they haven't made up their minds by now, what are they doing? As for the Patriots, they're still fighting for home-field advantage throughout the playoffs, and it's highly doubtful they're going to let the Jets stand in their way.
PLAYER TO WATCH (I)
Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski. He's been on fire the last four weeks. Twice in the last four games, he's had nine catches and topped 140 yards. Back in Week 6 against the Jets, he had six catches for 83 yards and two touchdowns, and the Jets had no answer for him at all. Rookie safety Jamal Adams tried hard, but he learned quickly why "Gronk" is the best tight end in football. If the Jets haven't developed a better plan to stop him, watch out.
PLAYER TO WATCH (II)
Jets QB Christian Hackenberg. Yes, Bryce Petty is starting this game, but Hackenberg might -- might -- receive some playing time. That's huge! Finally, they get a look at their second-round pick in an actual NFL game. It's obviously been a mystery why he hasn't played in his first two seasons, and it seems like it's a good idea for the Jets to get a look at him before they dive into the Kirk Cousins free-agent sweepstakes or try to trade up in the quarterback-rich 2018 draft. I'm not sure how they can learn by maybe half a game in the cold at the end of an already lost season, but hey, it's a reason to watch, right? Right?!
Start and end with this: This game matters to the Patriots. Is there any scenario in which they lose at home to a 5-10 Jets team when they have a chance to secure home-field advantage throughout out the playoffs? Sure, the Jets played them tough the last time, but that was with Josh McCown at quarterback. The Jets were more of a spunky team then. They've actually played two close games under Petty, and they might find a way to stay relatively close in this one, too. But the way Petty is playing, it's hard to imagine they have the ability to keep up with the Patriots in this situation. Maybe they can run the clock down. Maybe they get a huge defensive effort. But at some point they'll need a quarterback to best Tom Brady, which is why ultimately, no matter what happens, the Jets will lose this game. … Patriots 27, Jets 10.
MY RECORD: 8-7
MY RECORD WHEN PICKING JETS TO WIN: 2-4
MY RECORD WHEN PICKING JETS TO LOSE: 6-3