On Wednesday head coach Rex Ryan noted that several "five-star matchups" abound in this week's highly anticipated game in New England. The Patriots' offensive juggernaut will meet the Jets' stingy defense in a war that will likely take place through the air at Gillette Stadium.
Through four games New England leads the NFL in passing yardage, averaging 385 yards per game. The Patriots also boast the league's top average yards per attempt with 9.5, and have scored 13 times via the pass.
"You've got to slow down their offense, that's for sure," said Ryan. "They're averaging (507.5) yards per game, and a ton of points."
The Pats have scored 135 points to be exact, tops in the AFC, and have not scored less than 31 in any game this season.
The focus for the Jets will be on making life difficult for Tom Brady and his slew of targets, a welcome task for CB Darrelle Revis.
"We know what type of player Tom is," said Revis. "He's a great quarterback. In the secondary, we just have to do a great job of covering those guys the best way we can. I think we did a great job in the playoffs, and that's what we're going to try to do again up there on Sunday."
In 2011, the Jets pass defense has held opponents to a 52.1 completion percentage, lowest in the NFL. The 180.3 net passing yards per game that opponents have gained on the Green & White defense is second-lowest in the league.
Of course, past stats are not necessarily an accurate predictor of future results, but one would believe that if anyone can stop the Patriots, the Jets would have a pretty good shot.
In their win in last season's AFC Divisional Playoff Game, the Jets applied significant pressure on Brady. Once thought impossible, Brady looked uncomfortable.
"We tried to rattle him that game, and we did," said Revis. "That's what people say about Tom is to try to rattle him and get him moving in the pocket a little bit."
Making matters more difficult are the endless supply of weapons the Patriots boast on offense, none of whom have stood out more than WR Wes Welker, the league's leading receiver with 40 catches for an absurd 616 yards.
"He gives defenses problems all the time," said Revis. "It's him and Tom, and they work well together. Tom is always looking for him, and he's tough in the slot. He's probably the toughest receiver to cover in the slot."
Revis continued his praise for Welker, calling his numbers "impressive."
"He's very fast and he can break away from your leverage. If you're inside, he's breaking outside — he does a great job of that. When you watch him and Tom play, you always see him catching balls away from the defenders. They're smart with how they work together."
As if Welker isn't a handful on his own, New England has not one but two top-tier tight ends. Both in their sophomore seasons, Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez have combined for more than half of the Patriots' receiving TDs.
"I think those two are at least in the top five of the league, and they're on the same team," said Revis. "In the past they've hurt us. We need to focus on where those guys are at."
New England has thrown the ball on 62 percent of its snaps this season. If the Patriots' penchant for passing continues on Sunday, the Jets' secondary will be hard at work. Thus far the group has been at or near the top in the league, and it will need another lockdown performance to come out of Massachusetts with a win.
"This one is going to be the ultimate chess match," said Ryan, "without question."