The New York Jets travel to New England Patriots in a division where it could not be tighter (4.25pm ET, Sunday).
The Patriots have long dominated the AFC East and it is almost shocking to see that they don’t have the sole lead. What is more surprising is that at 3-3, not only are they tied for first but they are also tied for last. All four teams including the Jets are 3-3 on the season.
For the Patriots, this game is a must win. Miami and Buffalo are not going to go away and New England has a tough schedule including back-to-back games against Houston and then San Francisco, both on the road.
They have shown solid performances this year in defeating the Denver Broncos and absolutely crushing Buffalo but at the same time, the Patriots have been unable to beat a real contender. They lost in back-to-back close games against Arizona and Baltimore and then just last week, fell to the Seattle Seahawks.
If this game is a must-win for the Patriots, then it is a definitely must-win for the Jets and any playoff hopes they may still be hanging on to. The Jets may be 3-3, but of all the .500 teams still left this season, New York is certainly the worst of them all. On the season, the Jets have played very poorly and are the only team to be shut out this year. On top of this, they have a quarterback controversy that grows by the week and with the way current starter Mark Sanchez is playing, doesn’t look like it will go away any time soon.
So with the AFC East up for grabs, the Patriots will need to get the win not only to take the lead in the division but to get themselves back in the AFC playoff picture as well. The Jets would benefit largely from this win. Not only would it be the first real talented team New York have beaten but it would also put them at 3-0 in AFC East play leaving them first in the division because of the tiebreaker.
Let’s take a look at some of the biggest match-ups that could come into play when these two AFC East teams face off Sunday afternoon.
Tom Brady’s 1st Quarter vs. Tom Brady’s 4th Quarter
It would be almost disrespectful for me to compare what will probably be a first ballot hall of famer in Tom Brady to the marginal starter with college success in Mark Sanchez. Now even though Sanchez’s job has been on the line since week one, the young QB has handled his situation pretty well. His on the field play has been downright atrocious at times as he posts the worst QBR and QB rating this season but when it comes to dealing with questions about job security, Sanchez has handled it with class.
Brady on the other hand has never had to face questions regarding job security but interestingly enough, maybe he should. Because Brady is such a better QB than Sanchez, the game won’t be won or lost on which one of the two quarterbacks performs better, but rather on the situation of if first quarter Tom Brady can out-duel fourth quarter Tom Brady.
The numbers are daunting for Brady when it comes to late game situations, not just this year but dating all the way back to 2009. Since that time, Brady has posted some of the lowest quarterback ratings when a game is close in the last five minutes. With Brady as QB, the Patriots have also surrendered seven leads of seven points or more with five minutes remaining in the game.
So the question is not whether Brady will out-duel Sanchez, because let’s face it, there is little to no chance that he doesn’t beat him outright. The real question is going to be if the game is close. Because of the lack of clutch performance from Brady, the Jets might actually find themselves favored if they happen to be within a touchdown at the end of the game.
Can the Jets Expose the New England Secondary?
Last week against the rookie Russell Wilson, the Patriots secondary collapsed and made the mediocre quarterback look like a young Drew Brees. The defense, without any real threat at either the cornerback or safety position, was unable to stop the passing game of the Seahawks. Wilson was able to throw for 293 yards and three touchdowns as the defense failed to get pressure on him.
Wilson is a better quarterback than Sanchez, but maybe a game against a bad defense such as the New England squad, could be just what the fourth year quarterback out of USC needs. Sanchez has not had an easy road this year, in fact he has had the unenviable task of facing up against both the San Francisco (1st in opponent’s passing yards) and Houston (8th in opponent’s passing yards) defense in back-to-back weeks.
Against New England, Sanchez will be faced up head-to-head with the league’s third best passing offense but 28th worst passing defense. On the season, the Patriots have yielded 229 yards to Tennessee Titans QB Jake Locker, 350 yards and four touchdowns to Buffalo QB Ryan Fitzpatrick and 337 yards and three touchdowns to Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos. The Patriots won these three games but in two of three, were outperformed by the opposing quarterback.
In their three losses this season, the New England defense has allowed 140 yards to Kevin Kolb and the Cardinals, 382 yards and three touchdowns to Baltimore Ravens’ QB Joe Flacco and 293 yards and three touchdowns to Russel Wilson and Seattle.
For the Patriots, they have to be worried that this defense has really not held up this season. It is the defense that has to take most of the blame for New England losing three games by just a total of four points. The team could just as easily be 6-0 if not for the last second defensive breakdowns.
New York Jets at New England Patriots Betting Picks Verdict
Even though the Jets (+425 on the moneyline) have gained some momentum on offense, Brady has too many weapons to be held down for long.
The Patriots (regarded virtual certainties at -530 on the moneyline) are favored a hefty 10.5 points at home. It may not be the safest bet but take New England to cover this spread. In summary:
- Bet on New England Patriots -10.5 points @ -110 with BetOnline Sportsbook. The spread is -11pts with Bovada @ -105. If you are not from America then place the bet with Bet365.