New England Patriots Super Bowl Champs

Jets Vs Patriots: 3 Players To Watch

Dont'a Hightower, if he plays, can do wonders for New England. (Photo By: Jared Wickerham/Getty Images North America)

Dont’a Hightower, if he plays, can do wonders for New England.
(Photo By: Jared Wickerham/Getty Images North America)

The Patriots host the Jets on Thursday Night Football for their 2nd divisional game in a row.  The Pats can continue to distance themselves from the rest of the AFC East with a win.

The Patriots will have to overcome a lot though, no Mayo, no Ridley, and maybe no Stork and Connolly, two starting offensive linemen against a stout pass rush.

Here are the 3 players the Pats need Thursday to squeeze out a win.

1. OL Ryan Wendell: He needs to be the leader Thursday, helping Vollmer and Solder out with Devy or Cannon. Probably both will see time in the game and maybe even Josh Kline. The Pats may be without two starting offensive linemen, so it’s important that where ever Wendell lines up, he doesn’t have a bad game. Protecting Tom Brady is the number one key.

2.  Rob Gronkowski: He’s been showing every week, he’s back more and more, so I expect him to be a big part of the game plan against the Jets. Gronk is a great player and almost uncoverable, so the Pats should use him a lot in moving the ball Thursday.

3. Dont’a Hightower: He’s coming back from a knee injury and he has to be ready. He’s a great pass rusher and solid in stopping the run. Last year he didn’t seem up to the task taking over for Mayo but did his usual spot well, while Collins seemed natural taking over for Mayo. Collins needs to handle Mayo’s spot while Hightower stays right where he’s been. He can be a leader and call the plays, but he has to remain at his spot and do his job. He’s important to the linebackers success Thursday and beyond.

 


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