- Kevin Lidlow
Jets hope to upset AFC east rival Patriots and their chances of a first round bye
The end of the regular season is about one week away and for the New York Jets, it ends what was a highly disappointing season full of choler as well as discarding any signs of progress from the teams rebuild. However, there are signs that the Jets have the one thing that they have been searching for almost a decade and a half; That would be a franchise quarterback. Sam Darnold had an up and down season that consisted of games where you get excited as well as games where we take a step back and realize that he is a rookie. But in the passed three games, Darnold took a major step forward as he looked phenomenal in terms of a veteran quarterback even though he is still a rookie. He's had great performances against fellow rookie Josh Allen, second year quarterback Deshaun Watson, and future Hall of famer Aaron Rodgers. The question for right now is, can Darnold finish the this season on a high note and pull off an upset in Foxborough MA, against another hall of famer Tom Brady and the patriots?
When it comes to games decided by one possession, the Jets are 2-6 overall in the season in games that were determined by one score. That is tied with the Jacksonville Jaguars for worst record in those one possession games and the second worst in franchise history (first was 1996, 0-7). However, in those loses Darnold became the fifth quarterback in franchise history to put up +340 yards, 3 TD's, and 0 interceptions, he joins Al Dorow, Joe Namath, Ken O'Brien, and Geno Smith (pro-football reference). Not to mention in those three games he has thrown for a total of 764 yards, 6 touchdowns, and only one interception, but it's not just the stats he has taken better care of the ball as well as making smarter decisions that have benefitted this offense. In addition to that he has also build a chemistry with Robby Anderson (finally), and allowed fellow rookie Chris Herndon as well as second year running back Elijah McGuire to shine as well.
If Darnold and company can pull off this upset against the Patriots, they would not only ruin their chances of getting a first round bye but Sam Darnold would be the first rookie quarterback to win in Gillette Stadium, rookie quarterbacks are 0-10 when playing the Patriots in Foxborough. Since 2011, the Patriots are 13-2 overall against the Jets and have lost nine straight on the road (longest losing streak against a division rival in franchise history: pro-football reference).
In order to come away with a win, the Jets are going to have to close out games in the fourth quarter they have been outscored 60-14, but the Patriots aren't any better as they have been outscored 53-16. So not only do they have to close out their games, but they need to keep their foot on the gas petal and continue to put pressure on what looks like a vulnerable Patriots team. They also need to limit the penalties as well, last week they committed a total of 172 yards of penalties against the Green Bay Packers.
One of the major problems of this team all season long was that they can't seem to finish, they had leads against the Texans and Packers, but allowed them to come back in both of those games. That is why this team will be making a coaching change after this year because it doesn't matter who you have on your team, if the coach can't discipline his team you aren't going to be a coach for long.