Throughout the season, NewYorkJets.com reporters Eric Allen, Ethan Greenberg, Olivia Landis and Randy Lange will each give their predictions to a series of questions regarding this year's Jets.
Today's question: What do you expect from the Jets defense in Round II vs. Tom Brady?
EA: The Patriots are 6-0 and the Jets are 1-4, but the Green & White have multiple favorable matchups heading into this contest. The Pats may play old-school ball with a fullback and multiple tight ends at times, but they rank just 21st in rushing (101.5 Yds/G) and the Jets have the NFL's 13th ranked rush defense (95.8 Yds/G). The Green & White are set to get one of the league's top linebackers back as C.J. Mosley took team reps this week and declared himself ready to go. The Pats have battled injuries up front along the offensive line and the Jets defensive line is coming into its own with youngsters Quinnen Williams, the No. 3 overall pick of the draft, Kyle Phillips, the only undrafted free agent to make the opening-day roster, and Folorunso Fatukasi, a second-year player, all contributing. Mosley gives the Jets another playmaker as third-year safety Jamal Adams is making eye-popping plays all over the field. The Jets have a great opportunity to win the line of scrimmage and I'll be interested to see the defensive game plan for Julian Edelman and James White. If the Jets can hold up on the outside, they are going to make it tough on this offense.
EG: I'd expect more of what we saw in the second half of Jets-Patriots in Week 3. After allowing 20 points on the Patriots' first three drives, the defense cracked down, surrendering just 10 points the rest of the game and holding Tom Brady to 105 passing yards in the second half. The Green & White pride themselves on stopping the run and in Week 3, the Patriots were held to just 68 yards on 27 carries for an average of 2.5 yards per rush, and that was without C.J. Mosley, who could return Monday night. Mosley has missed four games because of a nagging groin injury and with him, I think it'll allow the other defenders to play more freely. Mosley takes a lot off of everyone's plate at the Mike position and his presence could be huge, especially pre-snap, against arguably the greatest quarterback of all time.
OL: I expect the Jets defense to start quickly. Last time the Green & White took the field against the Patriots, they allowed three consecutive touchdowns in the first half before really getting into a groove. One major boost could be the possible addition of C.J. Mosley — the quarterback of the defense — who hasn't played since Week 1 after suffering a groin injury. In his Jets debut, the LB recorded a pick-six and two pass defenses in addition to a fumble recovery. Another upside for the Jets will be playing on home turf with a raucous crowd to help fuel their play. I expect an improved performance from this defense Monday night compared to Week 3.
RL: In general the Jets have played the Patriots better at home from 2013-18 and the defense has contributed to that. In the six games from 2013-18 at Foxboro, the Patriots scored 175 points (29.2 pts/game) and 20 TDs. In the last six years at MetLife, the Pats have scored only 137 points (22.8 per game) and 15 TDs. Similarly with giveaways, New England has lost NO turnovers at Gillette in those six games while losing five at MetLife in the corresponding six games. It would be great to see this trend continue, particularly with the expected return of C.J. Mosley to the middle of the D to orchestrate things and perhaps pry an extra turnover away from Tom Brady & Co. But most of all, the Jets defense, as well as it's played in spots, can't get into a second-half lull similar to Dallas, when the Cowboys gained 236 of their yards and scored 16 of their points to make it close at the end. That could be death against the Patriots, who if they don't start well (as in last year's 10-10 halftime tie at MetLife), almost always seem to finish well.