The New England Patriots (3-2) vs. the Jets (3-2) at Meadowlands in East Rutherford, New Jersey, on Sunday, Oct. 15, at 1 p.m. ET.
Coverage on SNY:
- Jets Pre-Game Live at noon
- Jets Halftime Live on Facebook.com/SNY
- Jets Post-Game Live on SNY immediately following the game
- Jets Post-Game Overtiime on SNY.tv immediately following Post-Game Live
Enjoy the fall weather now, because it's expected to be near 80 on Sunday, though with partial clouds and moderate Meadowlands winds, maybe it'll feel a little cooler.
WHAT IT MEANS
First place goes to the winner, and that is just crazy to think about. Never mind that it's hard to imagine the Jets sustaining their early success. What a huge boost it would be to their psyche and their rebuilding effort to beat the defending Super Bowl champs in a big game. Honestly, even just making it competitive would be something that they can rally around (and that their fans would surely celebrate). And it's all house money, too, because if they get crushed … well, it's just what everybody expected and they can regroup in Miami next week.
PLAYER TO WATCH
Jets RB Elijah McGuire. With Bilal Powell (calf) not expected to play and Matt Forte (toe) expected to be limited (if he plays at all), the rookie from Louisiana-Lafayette gets a huge opportunity. He's been relatively impressive so far, averaging 5.2 yards per carry (34 rushes for 179 yards) and busting a 69-yard touchdown run two weeks ago against the Jaguars. Last week was a bit of a setback for him -- 11 carries for 20 yards -- much as it was for the entire offense. The Jets like everything about him, though, from his explosion through the line to his breakaway speed to how quickly he's grasped the offense. This could be a showcase for the future.
MATCHUP TO WATCH
Jets DEs Muhammad Wilkerson and Leonard Williams vs. the Patriots offensive line. The Patriots' embattled line has given up 16 sacks this season -- one more than it did all last year -- and quarterback Tom Brady has been battered far more than that number indicates. So if there's going to be a breakout game for these two underachieving Jets defenders, this would seem to be it. Neither has recorded a sack yet, which is ridiculous five games into the season. The only way to have a prayer at disrupting the Patriots' high-powered offense is to batter Brady, though really, that doesn't often work. One thing is certain, though: If Williams and Wilkerson can't get to Brady and he has time to throw, he will pick the Jets' secondary apart.
It's really great that the Jets are getting a big game this early in a season that was supposed to be a disaster from the start. And it's certainly OK for everyone to dream about a win and first place in the division. But it's much more likely this game will serve as a splash of ice cold water in their face. Sure, these Patriots are much more flawed than they used to be. The problem is that their problems are mostly on defense, and the Jets' offense really isn't good enough to take advantage of that. I mean, they could barely move the ball last week against the Browns. Sure, maybe they'll have an unexpected big play or two against the Patriots, but sustained success isn't likely.
That's bad because the Patriots still have the top offense in the NFL and are scoring nearly 30 points per game -- and that's with a bad offensive line that is getting Brady crushed. That's another problem, because the Jets' underachieving defensive line probably can't take advantage of that either. Can the Jets keep this game competitive? Sure. It would take a couple of early breaks and not throwing away opportunities. But the Patriots are just too explosive not to pull away in the end. … Patriots 31, Jets 17.
MY RECORD: 3-2
MY RECORD WHEN PICKING JETS TO WIN: 2-1
MY RECORD WHEN PICKING JETS TO LOSE: 1-1