Jets vs. Patriots: 3 things to watch

Gronkowksi broke his arm against the Colts on Sunday.

The Jets’ season very much rests on this Thursday night’s game against the Patriots.

A win and the 4-6 Jets would take a big step toward making a legitimate push for the postseason, while a loss would mean they would have to play perfect football for the five remaining games to have a chance of sniffing the postseason. There is hope for the Jets who played the Patriots to a 29-26 road loss in Week 7.

Three things to watch …

1. Patriots living life without Gronk

With Rob Gronkowski undergoing surgery on Monday to repair a broken forearm, the Jets catch a bit of a break with the Patriots offense losing one of their prime targets.

He is always a matchup problem for a Jets linebacker corps that is aging and slow, and there are question marks as to who will replace him. Tight end Aaron Hernandez is still recovering from an ankle injury and might make a limited impact on Thursday night, which means that the Patriots could well turn to Visanthe Shiancoe. Shiancoe is a veteran with a proven track record as an outstanding target, but he has failed to register a catch in the two games he’s played this season.

2. Jets try to get over the ‘Hill’ at receiver

Rookie wide receiver Stephen Hill was expected to go through some growing pains, but the learning curve has certainly been steep.

It isn’t an issue of the physicality of the NFL, as Hill has been tremendous in his blocking and has certainly gotten open on his routes. It also isn’t the playbook, as he has a good grasp of it.

The bottom line is Hill is having a hard time holding onto the ball, with several big drops, including one in the fourth quarter of the Jets’ loss in Foxboro several weeks ago.

“One thing I know for sure is we’re going to keep throwing to him and I think this young man is going to realize, by the way, you can play this game,” Rex Ryan said.

3. Winning the battle of time of possession

One reason why the Jets hung in the game at New England several weeks ago was their ability to systematically move the ball down the field and win the battle of the clock.

The numbers weren’t gaudy, but the Jets rushed for 106 yards and seven first downs in that game, meaning they did just enough to keep the chains moving. In doing so, they kept the ball out of Patriots quarterback Tom Brady’s hands and limited their ability to score points. In that overtime loss, the Jets held the ball for 35:49, four minutes more than the Patriots. If they can do that again, they have a chance to win.

Follow Jets beat writer Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer.


'Five Star': A coming-of-age story about Brooklyn's gang…

'Five Star' tells a coming-of-age story about Brooklyn's gang culture at the Tribeca Film Festival.


New statue of Penn State's Paterno set for…

By David DeKokHARRISBURG, Pennsylvania (Reuters) - Fundraising for a new statue depicting Joe Paterno "as the man he was and not Joe the football coach"…


NYPD detective shoots partner: DA

A New York City Police detective was arrested early Thursday and charged with driving under the influence while on the clock.


Judge strikes down NY limits on donations to…

A federal judge on Thursday reluctantly struck down New York's limits on donations to independent political action committees as unconstitutional, potentially ushering in a new…


Tribeca: 'Goodbye to All That' star Paul Schneider…

Paul Schneider talks about his new film "Goodbye to All That," not acting too much and how he'd rather indulge in simple pleasures than play the scene.

The Word

Taylor Swift battles paparazzi daily at Tribeca penthouse

We're entranced by these photos of poor Taylor Swift leaving her Tribeca apartment.


'A Brony Tale' documents men who are into…

Ashleigh Ball, a voice actress on "My Little Pony," speaks to us.


Tribeca: Nikki Reed on going funny for a…

"Intramural" star Nikki Reed talks about being the straight person in a broad comedy, spending time in Austin and how "Thirteen" was a "miracle."


Nets excited for Brooklyn fans to bring the…

Kevin Garnett has definitely used profanity while trash talking or in practices, but never to describe an entire borough.


Rangers turn up shot blocking in Game 3…

Game 3 of the Rangers-Flyers opneing round series was not a return to John Tortorella hockey.


2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated, new April 24…

2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated, new April 24 version


5 infamous pitcher ejections for cheating

Never fear Yankees fans, Michael Pineda is far from the first MLB pitcher to be thrown out of a game for cheating.


New study: Inside the wage gap between boys…

According to a new study, there's a wage gap between boys and girls, with boys earning more allowance for less chores.


From Apple TV to Fire TV, big changes…

Apple is set to launch a new generation of it's Apple TV, which grossed over $1 billion in 2013. But competition from Amazon and Google looms.


Katy Perry releases a new Claire’s collection

Katy Perry expands her empire by releasing an accessories collection at Claire's.


MAC & Proenza Schouler collection unveiled

MAC Cosmetics is releasing a new collection with Proenza Schouler.