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Notebook | Jets WR Garrett Wilson: We Have a Lot to Prove

Breece Hall Focused on Beating Patriots; Green & White D-Line Expected to Face Inexperienced Pats OL


The Jets top playmakers – RB Breece Hall and WR Garrett Wilson –share a mindset entering Week 18.

The second-year players, who are within striking distance of 1,500 scrimmage yards and 100 receptions, respectively, aren't paying attention to personal accomplishments.

"I'd rather be going to the playoffs," Hall said. "The accolades would be cool, but I'm just trying to end the season on a high note and get a win."

Wilson added: "Win and see where we're at. I want to play a good game and feel confident what I put on film. If that is the case, whether I finish with 93 catches or 100, 101, I'll be alright."

They're aiming to end their2023 season and begin the 2024 calendar year the same way – on a high note.

"Finish this thing strong, beat the Patriots," said Wilson, who became the first Jets WR to start his career with back to-back 1,000-yard seasons. "That's really what it comes down to. We have a lot to prove. This is a division game. We're the ultimate competitors and every time we take the field we want to go out there and prove something. There's a lot that we can go out and prove this weekend and we're excited for the opportunity."

'Baptism Under Fire' for Patriots Rookie O-Linemen
The Patriots are expected to start two rookies – LG Atonio Mafi and RG Sidy Sow – along the interior of their offensive line when they host the Jets Sunday. Sow and Mafi will have their hands full against one of the league's best pass rushes. The Green & White rank third in the NFL in hurry rate (10.3%) and fifth in pressure rate (26%) despite having the second lowest blitz rate in the NFL (16.5%).

"[It will be] baptism under fire," Patriots HC Bill Belichick said. "[The Jets defensive linemen] are really good. They play a lot of different spots, so they're not always matched up against the same guy. You've got to block different players. They're good, they rush the good passer as well as any team we've played. With multiple guys, you've got a lot of guys to stop. those guys learn every week. They're young players who get experience, teach some things, and hopefully it will pay off in the long run."

Mafi, a fifth-round pick, has started five games this season and Sow, a fourth-round selection, 12. New England also started Vederian Lowe at LT last week, whose seven career starts have all been this season.

In the two Jets-Patriots matchups last season, New England allowed 12 sacks and 39 pressures. This season their O-line, however, held New York without a sack in Week 3 but yielded 15 pressures in a 15-10 Jets loss.

Special Consistency on Teams
There's been league-wide speculation that Sunday's season finale could be Bill Belichick's last game as head coach of the Patriots. Belichick has a well-documented and decorated résumé, but the DNA of his teams consists of discipline, good defense and excellent special teams. Despite a 4-12 record entering Week 18, this Patriots team is no different.

"I think the roster that they build for special teams is fantastic," Jets special teams coordinator Brant Boyer said. "A lot of those guys, I'm not even sure if they go to offensive or defensive meetings -- they do nothing but special teams. I specifically think that if you look at the last 10 or 12 years, maybe 15, their average drive-start position has been one of the best in the league, if not the best. That's because they make it a priority and I think they do a fantastic job of teaching. They're really good coaches out there, they make really good adjustments. I have nothing but great things to say about them, they do a hell of a job out there."

Last season's Jets-Patriots game at Foxborough ended with a special teams touchdown, an 84-yard game-winning punt return that left 5 seconds remaining in regulation. It was the only touchdown scored in a 10-3 Jets loss.

"That's something that I'll never forget and the way I felt after because I felt like we let the team down, me specifically," Boyer said. He added: "[The Jets special teamers] have played hard as hell and I'm looking forward to going back there and seeing what happens."

See all of the best photos of Jets on the practice field during Week 18 practices.

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