Throughout the offseason, NewYorkJets.com reporters Eric Allen, Ethan Greenberg, Randy Lange and Olivia Landis will each give their predictions to a series of questions regarding this year's Jets.
Today's question: How do the Jets match up against the new-look Patriots?
EA: The only time the Jets have played in prime time this season was Week 4 against the Broncos when they had a lead in the fourth quarter that vanished late in a 37-28 loss. I think the Green & White will again put themselves in position to win late in prime time against the Patriots on Monday night. The Jets match up better with these Patriots than a lot of their previous foes. The Patriots run it well, but the Jets have been solid against the run. The concern here is DT Quinnen Williams and his hamstring, plus it will be interesting to see if Harvey Langi gets the start alongside Neville Hewitt at ILB. The Green & White have had problems against the pass, but the Patriots rank last in the NFL in pass plays of 20+ yards. The Pats yield 140.4 yards per game on the ground and you wonder if this is the game the Jets can pound it behind LT Mekhi Becton. Even if CB Stephon Gilmore (knee) is out, the Patriots will play well together in the secondary. But the Jets are expected to counter with their top three receivers — Jamison Crowder, Breshad Perriman and Denzel Mims — for the first time in 2020. While the Jets scoring issues have been well-documented, the Pats score just 19.4 points/game and they are 0-5 when they do not have a positive turnover margin. The Jets are +1 overall. Could this be the week?
EG: I think this is a strength-on-strength matchup for the Jets. The Patriots' bread and butter this year is running the ball with QB Cam Newton, who leads the team with 59 carries for 298 yards (5.1 avg) and 6 TDs. They rank third in the NFL in rushing offense, averaging 159.7 yards per game and have a running-by-committee approach with Damien Harris, James White, Rex Burkhead and Sony Michel, who was designated to return from injured reserve earlier this week. The Jets, who ranked No. 2 in the NFL against the run in 2019, held the Chiefs to 50 yards on 20 attempts (1.5 avg). Chiefs' rookie RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire entered Week 8's game the NFL's second-leading rusher and was limited to 6 carries for 21 yards (3.4 avg). The Jets' defense has 10 takeaways this season -- 7 interceptions -- while Newton has thrown 7 picks and only 2 TD passes. Newton also hasn't thrown a touchdown pass in each of his last three games. For what it's worth, the last time the Jets played in a prime-time matchup – Week 4 vs. Denver – the defense had 3 INTs. I think the Jets matchup favorably, which will probably be weird for fans to read considering the Patriots' success the last 20 seasons. The new-look New England team is riding a four-game losing skid for the first time since 2002.
RL: The Jets actually match up well in a number of areas with the Patriots. The G&W run offense (17th in yards/carry) should be able to move against the Patriots run defense (20th in yards/carry allowed). The Pats' pass defense, meanwhile, is 30th in yards/play allowed, which wouldn't mean much for the Jets' 32nd-ranked pass offense except that it could finally be getting their "three dudes," WRs Jamison Crowder, Breshad Perriman and Denzel Mims, on the field together. The Jets on defense, also in theory, should be able to play with the NE offense as long as it contains Cam Newton's read options. A big key will be turnovers: The Jets have been fairly careful in giving away the ball and in compiling their plus-1 TO margin while the Patriots are at minus-2. New England does come up with picks but also throws INTs and has 15 turnovers, tied for third-worst in the NFL. So once again, and against the most unlikely of foes, the Jets have a chance to engineer their most complete game of the year — in Monday prime time, no less — and compete for Win No. 1.