- Kevin Lidlow
Gut check time as the Jets face the New England Patriots
The New York Jets are getting ready to play against their AFC east rival New England Patriots in what is going to be a gut check time for this team as they are heading into the final six games of the season. The Jets (3-7) are coming off a bye week and the way that this team has been playing in recent weeks, they definitely needed a break. Two weeks ago the Jets lost in a embarrassing fashion to a Buffalo Bills team who was ranked almost last in offense this year, and people were calling for Todd Bowles to be fired because it had seemed that this team had quit on him from the way they played. Nonetheless this team has the chance to persuade us that maybe he is the guy to coach this team, starting with the Patriots (7-3) who are also coming off a bye week and prior to that losing badly to the Tennessee Titans.
Since 2011, The Patriots are 12-2 against the Jets and the only two loses came from an overtime lose. The good news for the Jets though is that the last five meetings at Metlife stadium have been decided by seven points or less. I expect the Jets to at least put up a fight against a Patriots team that looks vulnerable and father time is starting to catch up to Brady because isn't making as many of the throws that we are accustomed to seeing him make. However, the Patriots are expected to get Gronkowski back as well as rookie running back Sony Michel. Gronkowski has been known for being Brady's go to guy and in the passed four meetings between the two teams, Gronk has only recorded 6 catches for 83 yards and 2 touchdowns according to pro-football reference. But that was only one game as he missed 3 out of the four meetings and is set to make his return against the green and white.
The Jets are also facing injury problems as well, rookie quarterback Sam Darnold will likely miss his second game due to a foot injury he suffered three weeks ago. They could also be without their number 1 receiver Robby Anderson as he is battling through an ankle injury he suffered four weeks ago. This would mean that Josh McCown will be getting his second start of the season and could be without his go to guy from last year as well.
Regardless of the injuries, the New England Patriots defense has been subpar at best this season. They are ranked 15th in points allowed, 25th in passing yards given up, and 16th in rushing yards given up (pro-football reference) meaning that this is a good chance for the Jets offense to be explosive on both the air and ground. I'm looking forward to seeing second year running back Elijah McGuire to have a break out game, he has been getting more in game reps and making the most of it.
The Jets aren't going to make it to the post season for an eighth straight year and for the most part as a rebuilding aspect, this was supposed be the year where the Jets showed improvement and there were times that they did show it but not as much as we had hoped because they still seem to struggle in games where they should win. Not to say that this is game the Jets should be able to win but what I am looking for in the last six games of the season is to see this team make some strides.