The Jets return to MetLife Stadium Sunday and will welcome the defending Super Bowl Champions. The Patriots, who made a number of notable offseason additions, currently hold a 3-2 record and are in a three-way first place tie in the AFC East with the Jets and the Bills.
New England ranks No. 1 both in total offense and passing offense and is third in scoring at 29.6 points per game. Quarterback Tom Brady leads the unit, but is without one of his top targets in wide receiver Julian Edelman, who tore his ACL late in the preseason. Fourth-year running back James White paces the Pats with 29 receptions, which is tied for seventh in the NFL. In addition to White, the Patriots have three other players with at least 20 catches this season — Chris Hogan (23), Danny Amendola (23) and TE Rob Gronkowski (20).
Wide receiver Brandin Cooks is Brady's newest weapon. An 1,000-yard receiver in two of his first three seasons, Cooks joined the Patriots via trade with the Saints in March. Through five weeks, the 5'10", 189-pounder has registered 18 catches for 379 yards and two touchdowns. Cooks' strength is stretching the field as he's tied for first and sixth in the NFL with three catches of at least 40 yards and six catches for 20-or-more yards, respectively.
Work in Progress
Even though the Patriots offense sits atop the NFL, their defense ranks last in total yards as they allow an average of 447 yards and 28.4 points a contest. Despite the free agent signing of former Bills cornerback Stephon Gilmore, the unit allows an average of 323 yards through the air per game, which ranks last in the league.
Jets Offensive Matchup to Watch: Jets WRs vs. Patriots CBs
Even though the Pats don't have good defensive stats, they have a pair of talented corners in Malcolm Butler and Gilmore. Additionally, the group will have more time to prepare for this week's matchup because they kicked off Week 5 with a Thursday night victory over the Buccaneers. The Jets receivers combined for 93 yards on 10 catches against the Browns.
Jets Defensive Matchup to Watch: Jets DL/OLBs vs. Tom Brady
Simply put, the offense runs through Brady. As seen in previous matchups between these teams and in other Patriots games this season, the defensive key is to force the 40-year-old signal caller to feel uncomfortable in the pocket. Look for the Jets to try get in the backfield quickly to force Brady to release the ball quicker than he'd like.