The Patriots have fielded one of the NFL's top defenses this season. While they rank both 6th overall and 6th in points allowed, the Pats are tied with the Broncos for most sacks in football with 47.
"These guys are very good. They play well together, they know what's going on," said offensive coordinator Chan Gailey. "The linebackers kind of make it all happen. They're the ones that kind of orchestrate the whole thing up front and create a lot of problems for a quarterback. They're what 6th in the league now? It's the best overall defense I can remember in New England for a while."
In the Jets' 30-23 October loss to the Patriots, Ryan Fitzpatrick threw for 295 yards and 2 TDs. But he also had a few passes batted down, lost a fumble on a scramble and the Jets converted with touchdowns on just two of their four trips inside the 20. But during the Jets' four-game win streak, Fitzpatrick has completed 64.8% of his passes with 10 TDs and 1 INTs while averaging 307.3 yards per game.
"He's pretty calm to be honest with you. It's hard to ruffle his feathers. It's really hard," Gailey said. "He's trying to think about what we can do next and how we can attack the next series."
Speaking of difficult, the Jets have to try to slow down Pats TE Rob Gronkowski in Week 16. Gronk, who was targeted 16 times in the Pats' narrow triumph over the Jets, finished with a career-high 11 receptions for 108 yards with a TD.
"This guy lines up in-line at tight end. Then you look at it and (he) lines up as a No. 1 receiver," said defensive coordinator Kacy Rodgers. "He's all over the place and that creates matchup problems - it creates a lot of problems. A headache."
The Jets lost safety Calvin Pryor in the 2nd half of that first meeting and Pryor figures to play an important role Sunday.
"I don't know that one person alone will stop Gronkowski," Rodgers said. "He's a tremendous player, so we've got a lot of different things we've got to try. But he's definitely an important part of our game plan."