The Patriots and Jets meet on Sunday night football this week with plenty on the line. The Jets after a slow start have appeared to be going forward with momentum. The Patriots on the other hand are facing a little bit of adversity. Perhaps more than they have had in quite awhile. Both teams are tied in the division at 5-3, and this is a critical week. The Patriots looked lost against the Steelers two weeks ago, and their porous defense surrendered a late touchdown to blow a lead against the Giants. One thing is certain, if Tom Brady is getting pressured the Patriots crumble on offense. The Jets are flying high after a convincing win over the Bills, but did they peak a week too early?
After weeks of the Jets getting torched, the defense is beginning to settle in. Last week against the Bills, they silenced an offense that puts up over 30 points at home. There was a point where the Jets were ranked in the bottom 5 defenses in the NFL. They have catapulted to the top-10, currently sitting at the 7th best unit in the league. Most notably the pass defense is playing the way they are expected to (6th). The unit only allows 193 passing yards a game. The defense stopping the run still could be better (23rd); however, it is an improvement from last in the league. In this sense, the Jets are playing different football ever since the Patriots beat them several weeks ago. The offense appears to be steadily improving as well. Against the Bills, Mark Sanchez made some impressive passes even though it was for only 230 yards. For the Jets to be a good team, he just has to limit his mistakes, and he did that on Sunday. Some may argue that the Bills have the have an atrocious defense, well Sanchez will have the opportunity to pray on another putrid defense this Sunday.
While the Jets defense is on the rise, the Patriots are still at the bottom. The only time the defense looked halfway decent was in the first half of last week. However, it soon fell apart in the second half, and collapsed late in the game during a vital Giants possession. In terms of total defense, the Patriots are dead last (32nd). The Patriots surrender 416 yards a game, but only 23 points (12th). So in this respect, they tend to play opportunistic football. They do get Jerod Mayo back from injury which is huge. Their real problem is against the pass, where they allow 314 yards per game. The real question in this game is if Sanchez can take advantage of this. The offense on the other hand is prolific, but in their last three games they have certainly looked out of sync. Remember that they were seconds away from losing, and only putting up 13 points against the Cowboys three weeks ago.
Patriots vs. Jets Spread, Line and Betting Odds:
New England Patriots +1
@New York Jets -1
Over 47.5 (-110)
Patriots vs. Jets Pick:
I think when the Patriots have their backs to the wall, they play their best football. I certainly don’t see Tom Brady and company dropping 3 straight games. This game comes down to one question: can Mark Sanchez take over a game when the pressure is on him? I think Sanchez is going to put some quality drives together, but it won’t be enough. If a defense wants to disrupt the Patriots, they need to have a solid pass rush. When Brady has time he can pick a defense apart, though. While the Jets have a top notch secondary, their pass rush leaves a lot to be desired. The Patriots last two losses have come against two of the best teams at doing this, the Giants and Steelers.
Belichick is 7-1 ATS as an underdog after losing their previous game. I think he is sick of hearing the discussion of the “Patriots era” being over. Also, a lot of people are over looking the return of Jared Mayo. He is a top flight linebacker that will give a significant boost to the defense. Take the Patriots in an entertaining Sunday night divisional showdown.