The Jets offense needs a hot start in the worst way. A three or four
point deficit at half is manageable, but if they are down by a touchdown
or more at half it could be doom. The best way to a hot start would be to
keep New England on its toes by coming out with the hurry up offense.
Part of the early game struggles is attributed to predictability such as high
percentages of run on first down. It can also be attributed to Sanchez
being a little too amped up and having many checks and calls at the line.
He is a player that likes to play loose and shoot from the hip, and he
certainly has the weapons at his disposal to suit a hurry up. An often
streaky QB, Sanchez has been the main benefactor in the up tempo offense.
On defense, the Patriots will likely put its early focus on stopping the run. On
early downs, expect them to crowd the box and line up Wilfork where they
think the run is coming. An interesting battle to watch will be how
Wilfork performs against C Nick Mangold. Both players have a tremendous
amount of respect for each other and have gotten into some great duels in
the past. In obvious passing downs, the Patriots will play a lot of soft
Cover 2 to negate the big play the Jets have thrived on this year and
force Mark Sanchez to read and break down the opposing coverage. The Pats
won't gamble much with the blitz due to their pass rush struggles and
Sanchez's evasiveness. Make him find the open receiver around a crowd of
zone defenders instead of gambling with the blitz and letting Holmes or
Edwards abuse one-on-one coverage.
As the game progresses, if the Jets can have early passing success then
they will be able to chew up clock with the run. I don't expect the run
to be productive in the first half. Running in the second half will keep
a red hot Tom Brady on the bench for as long as possible, and that is an
absoulte must. All of that will not mean much, however, if the Jets
struggle to cash in on TDs and are forced to bring out the reeling K Nick
For both the Jets offense and Patriots defense, the main thing here will
be the turnover battle. It is something New England has relied so heavily
this on, and ball security has been the biggest buzz word for the Jets
this year. No longer is Mark Sanchez personally costing games, but even
though he only had one turnover against the Bengals last week he cannot
afford to have another statistical clunker tonight. If Sanchez protects
the ball but struggles otherwise, they lose a close game. Furthermore, if
the Jets commit multiple turnovers tonight, it could get ugly. Nobody
makes you pay more than the Patriots.