1. Can they get it done on third down?
The Patriots held the Jets to just 3-for-11 on third downs back in Week 5.
That was ultimately the difference in the game, as the Jets went three and out seven times. It’s also interesting to note that New York QB Mark Sanchez threw it on third down every single time.
It’s clear that the Jets’ strength is in their
running game, and although Sanchez has had success against the Pats in the past, making him throw the ball under pressure is the Patriots’ best bet to leave the Meadowlands with a win on Sunday.
2. Breaking out the Law Firm
The Patriots’ running attack has been nonexistent in the last three games, and the results have — predictably — not been great.
The last (and only) time the Pats had a 100-yard rusher in a game was BenJarvus Green-Ellis against the Jets. Benny rushed for 136 yards and two touchdowns that game, and essentially ran out the clock in the closing minutes, allowing the Pats to kick a field goal and seal the victory.
The Jets rank 22nd in the NFL in rush defense, so it would be a good idea for a struggling offense to take full advantage of that deficiency.
3. Playing it under the lights
The Patriots are 1-0 in night games this season, taking an opening night win in Miami, 38-24.
But the Jets are obviously nowhere near as bad as the Dolphins, and going into New York and leaving with a win will be no easy task.
Not to overplay the magnitude of Sunday Night Football or Monday Night Football, but it’s a big deal to players. They love the spotlight, and this is a big game.
For the Patriots, there are a lot of unproven players — especially on defense. Will they get wrapped up in the moment, or take care of business?