Twice a season we are blessed with a boatload of nonsense coming out of New York, and it never seems to get old.
Those pesky Jets. Always nipping at the Patriots’ ankles. Always barking at something.
And then the game happens, and although the Jets usually give the Patriots a good fight, more often than not the Pats put them back in their place. After all, Tom Brady is 21-6 over his career against them.
But this Jets Week feels a little different.
For one, Rex Ryan is no longer a part of it – so naturally there’s less talk. And perhaps not coincidentally, the Jets, currently 5-1 on the season, are right on the Patriots’ heels and – get this – can actually take sole possession of first place in the AFC East with a win on Sunday afternoon.
1. The Revis Factor
Darrelle Revis will always hold a small place in Patriots fans hearts after the one season he played in New England, in which the Patriots won Super Bowl XLIX. They don’t win without him. But he left for supposedly greener pastures over the offseason, choosing to go back to the Jets. Revis has three interceptions on the season and leads one of the best defenses in the league. He’s also known to cause Tom Brady fits. Revis could very well take away Julian Edelman on Sunday.
2. Go get Fitz
If you’re only as good as your quarterback is, then don’t expect the Jets to go super far this season. Ryan Fitzpatrick is a serviceable QB. But he’s yet to eclipse 300 yards in any game this year, and in three of his five games he’s thrown for under 250 yards. He’s also thrown seven interceptions this season. Sure, he’s doing what it takes to win games, but this is a guy the Patriots defense should be able to handle with relative ease. One concern: Jets wide receiver Brandon Marshall stands at 6-foot-4 and has a pretty big height advantage over the 5-foot-11 Malcolm Butler. Butler may need some safety help.
3. Watch the blitz
The Todd Bowles-led Jets blitz a ton. A beat-up New England offensive line is going to need plenty of tight end help on Sunday. Brady will also need to again showcase his quick release.
“They want to be aggressive,” Brady said. “They don’t want to be dictated to. They want to see if you can block them. They’ve got a lot of good rushers.”