Three things to watch this Sunday as the Jets invade Foxboro to take on the tough-luck Patriots (4:25 p.m., CBS):
1. The Sanchez air show
Last week, Mark Sanchez threw for a total of 82 passing yards. No, that’s not a typo. He completed a season-low 11 passes on 18 attempts against Indianapolis. He’s thrown for less than 150 yards in three of the Jets’ six games this season – not going to cut it. Luckily, he’ll see the Patriots secondary on Sunday. A balanced offense is key, but look for Sanchez to throw it often. If he converts on the majority of them, the Pats secondary is worse than we thought. If he doesn’t, he’s worse than we thought.
2. Will Brady be Brady?
We all know what Tom Brady can do with the ball in his hands, but the Pats have increasingly been putting the ball in the hands of the running backs. Is it paying off? It didn’t last week. On the Patriots’ last drive before Seattle scored the go-ahead touchdown, Stevan Ridley ran the ball twice for a yard each. That set up a 3rd-and-8 in which Brady’s pass fell incomplete. The run game was tough from the start last week, and that play call was questionable. The Jets are without Darrelle Revis, their shutdown corner, so look for Brady to take advantage.
3. First place on the line
The last time the Patriots saw the Jets, it was Week 10 of last season and the Pats were coming off back-to-back losses to the Steelers and Giants. Needless to say, there was some unsettlement around New England. Would they lose three in a row, and to a division rival this time? They didn’t. The Pats cruised, 37-16, and never lost again until the Super Bowl. Both teams will give it their best in hopes to be in sole possession of first place on Monday, but the Patriots shouldn’t have a problem. A blowout win could be just what they need to get back on track.