The Jets are traveling to Foxborough to take on the Patriots at 8:25 p.m. on the NFL Network.
1. Kenbrell Thompkins vs Dee Milliner
I figure the Jets will match their rookie up against the Patriots rookie so that could help Thompkins have a breakout game. I’m not saying our rookie is better but our QB can definitely have success in picking on the Jets youngster. Heading into this game I think Brady and the Pats want to throw at Dee Milliner and stay away from Antonio Cromartie as much as they can even though Cromartie struggled some against Vincent Jackson and the Bucs. If Cromartie is on Julian Edelman, I think Cromartie will do a good job keeping Edelman in check throughout the game so Thompkins need to step up. Watch for the rookie vs rookie battle tonight, and see how many times Brady throws at Milliner.
We all want to know and see the progress the Patriots offense and receivers have made in four days, if any at all. With Amendola sitting this one out it leaves Edelman the lone man Brady trusts the most. The Jets will probably want to counter it with Cromartie on him. Cromartie’s weakness matches up with Edelman’s strength which is short – area quickness. Cromartie is a ball – hawk who has had a great time against the Patriots. Tom Brady has gone 4-of-12 passing (33.3 percent) for 49 yards (4.1 YPA) throwing in Cromartie’s direction over the past three meetings between the Patriots and Jets. Cromartie has also broken up two passes. So Edelman being the main guy Brady trust going against Cromartie who’s had great games against Brady, is a big matchup to watch for.
3. Pats offensive line vs Jets defensive line
This will be a great battle tonight. Jets defensive line shut down Doug Martin last Sunday, and got to Josh Freeman for 3 sacks, and provided pressure against him through the game. The Jets defensive line will bring Sheldon Richardson, the rookie who had a great game against the Bucs, and Muhammad Wilkerson, who had a sack. Wilkerson might be their best pass rusher on the line so New England’s line has to do a better job at protecting Brady than they did last week. The Bills were able to get constant pressure against Brady, getting 7 hits on Brady, and sacking him twice. The Pats offensive line struggled with the blitzes the Bills were throwing at them, and the Jets love to blitz all game long so New England needs to give Brady time. The defensive line is the best unit on the Jets team so if the Pats can block them New England should have no problem moving the ball.
4. Jets offensive line vs Pats defensive line
We are switching sides now and going to Jets offensive line against the Pats defensive line. The Jets struggled to run the ball against the Bucs and gave up 5 sacks. It was 50/50 on the sacks being Geno’s fault and the offensive line. Geno had a tendency to hold on to the ball for too long, and the offensive line wasn’t performing well enough to give him that extra time. The Patriots should generate pass rush and they really need too. Against the Bills the Patriots did not sack EJ Manuel once, and they only hit the QB 4 times. The Patriots only allowed two touchdowns against the Bills which if you compared that to last year is really good. I think the defense is improved and I do expect them to play well against the Jets running and passing game tonight. Can Chandler Jones and Rob Ninkovich provide pressure? Will the linebackers blitz successfully? It is a good matchup to watch for tonight.
5. Stevan Ridley vs Jets run defense
The Jets run defense had a good game against Doug Martin and the Bucs Sunday. Martin did total 65 rush yards on 24 carries and a TD. The Jets didn’t fear Josh Freeman though, and they will fear Brady tonight so we will see if that allows the Patriots breathing room. The biggest thing I’m looking for is Ridley having a rebound game and hanging on to the football. Ridley has had his fair share of trouble holding on to the ball, and had two fumbles against the Bills, one was very costly. Ridley has to hang on to the rock if he wants his starting role back.