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With a second straight loss to the start the season, the Patriots are now 0-2 for the first time in over 20 years and must travel to New Jersey to take on the New York Jets in a key AFC East divisional matchup. Poor starts have hurt New England in each of their first contests while missed opportunities have marred the end of both games, costing the Patriots two potential wins. The Jets have bigger problems despite their 1-1 start, losing Aaron Rodgers just four offensive plays into the season. Still, New York has plenty of talent to make this one a big challenge if the Patriots are to find a way to get their first victory of the year.
Here’s how the Patriots Unfiltered team sees this important game playing out.
The Jets boast a talented roster, who is the biggest danger to the Patriots this weekend?
The biggest issue the Patriots have had is the offensive line so naturally, the Jets front 7 is where to look here. Any number of players could be a problem but let’s start with the edge and John Franklin-Myers. The Patriots will have their hands full inside with Quinnen Williams and Quinton Jefferson so watch out for the outside pressure! -Fred Kirsch
It starts on defense when going against the Jets and to me the most dangerous player is Quinnen Williams. He can disrupt games from the inside and make life awfully difficult on quarterbacks, as he did to Mac Jones in both games last season. -Paul Perillo
Quinnen Williams. Williams might be the Patriots worst nightmare in the division on defense (Allen/Diggs on offense). Williams combines overwhelming length/power with great block recognition and initial quickness to provide constant interior pressure on the quarterback — not a good matchup for a pocket QB. I also wouldn’t sleep on Jets speed rusher Bryce Huff, who wins in similar ways at a higher rate as Dolphins LB Andrew Van Ginkel, who gave RT Calvin Anderson fits last week. -Evan Lazar
Sauce is scary, but with the issues the Pats have had on the line, I’m most worried about the threat DT Quinnen Williams and the Jets front pose. -Alexandra Francisco
I’m going to tack to the offensive side of the ball and say the two running backs Breece Hall and Dalvin Cook. If this does turn into a weather game, the Patriots cannot allow that duo to find traction on the ground. If the Jets can run the ball it will really help Zach Wilson avoid mistake-provoking downs like 3rd-and-long. The Patriots defensive front must win the line of scrimmage this week. -Mike Dussault
If you could wave your wand and fix one thing about the Patriots after two games, what would it be?
The three C’s of the offensive line: Communication, Cohesion, Consistency. -FK
There are a lot of things that need fixing on offense but if I can only pick one thing I’ll go with pass protection. The offensive line needs to do a better job of keeping Jones comfortable. -PP
The offensive line/run game. The Patriots formula is to be a tough football team: run the ball, stop the run, and cover kicks. If they can’t run the ball, they’ll continue to struggle offensively. Mac leading the league in pass attempts is not a winning formula for this team. -EL
The offensive line and run game, which I think go hand-in-hand to an extent. -AF
I’m with everyone here, the offensive line and run game. I’d love to see them start to build some of Fred’s third C, cohesion. The interior trio must lead the way and I have high hopes we’ll get a motivated and hopefully dominant Trent Brown the rest of the way. -MD
With a potential rainstorm in the forecast which team would that kind of weather more deeply impact? How should the Patriots approach a game like that?
It would hurt the Patriots more. We’re not expecting a bunch of offensive production from the Jets even in good weather. The Patriots need to overcome the Jets elite defense and that will be tougher in bad weather. -FK
I don’t think rain has much of an impact on NFL teams unless it is extraordinarily heavy and comes with high winds. Otherwise, I don’t see either offense impacted too greatly by rain, especially since both teams want to run the ball. -PP
Can I say both teams benefit? This just sets up for another old-school rock fight where the first team to score an offensive touchdown probably wins. For the Patriots, they have to establish an identity as a team that wins the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. That did not happen last week. -EL
The Patriots didn’t look half-bad in the pouring rain against Philly in the season opener, so I’m going with the good guys. Ball security was hopefully stressed all week after the last game, right? -AF
It could take the passing offenses down a notch which I think would be more of a blow to the Patriots. Again, I think the ground game will be huge for both teams no matter the weather. But if it’s something nutty like in Buffalo 2021, I think it might give the Jets a bit more of an advantage. -MD
Name one offensive and defensive player on the Patriots that could most directly help the team to their first win this weekend.
Offense: DeVante Parker. It would be nice to have one or two big plays from Parker to flip the field and set up some easy scores, especially if they come early in the game. Take some of the pressure off Mac Jones.
Defense: Matt Judon. Be a frequent visitor to the Jets backfield and rattle Zach Wilson into mistakes. -FK
On offense I’m going outside the box a bit and will choose David Andrews. He will be at least partly responsible for containing Quinnen Williams and if he’s successful then the running game can be more productive and open up the offense. On defense I’ll go with Matthew Judon. His pressure could lead to some mistakes from Zach Wilson and that’s the key to the Patriots success. -PP
Sticking with the same theme offensively, it’s Rhamondre Stevenson. Stevenson is arguably the Patriots best offensive player, so they need to get him rolling. On defense, rookie CB Christian Gonzalez will likely draw the matchup against Jets star WR Garrett Wilson. With the Jets quarterback situation, Garrett Wilson taking over this game is really the only scary aspect of the Jets offense. -EL
Cole Strange on offense, because Miami absolutely targeted the left side of the Patriots offensive line to pressure Mac repeatedly. He has a tough matchup this week in Quinnen Williams and it would be great to see him rise to the occasion. Defensively, I am excited to see how Christian Gonzalez fairs against exciting young receiver Garrett Wilson and quarterback Zach Wilson. Fingers crossed he brings down another interception or two to give the ball back to the offense. -AF
I love the offensive line picks above and all are important, but I’ll provide another point of view and say Mac Jones. I’d love to see Mac play a big part in a much-needed win, especially if he’s able to do some damage through the air. That could be a surprising aspect of this game. Defensively, I am going with Jonathan Jones. Excited to see him back out there hopefully and the trickle-down effect should help them deal with Garrett Wilson. The mounting injuries at cornerback are concerning. -MD
The Patriots have beaten the Jets 14 straight times. How do they make it 15?
No turnovers. Limit mental errors. Sure tackling. Give Mac time to execute. -FK
By not turning the ball over on offense and by stopping the run on defense. Accomplish those two goals and the Patriots should come home with a victory. -PP
Win the line of scrimmage. The Patriots defensive front should be able to own this matchup against a weak Jets offensive line. But it’s a tougher test on the other side of the ball, where the Jets D-Line dominated both matchups last season. -EL
Force turnovers and establish the run game we’ve all been waiting to see.-AF
Play a clean game and finish in the fourth quarter are the big philosophical pieces, while containing Hall and Cook is my gameplan piece of it. -MD
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