The New York Jets travel to Foxborough, Mass., to take on the New England Patriots on Thursday night, as both teams look to maintain a hold on the top spot in the AFC East. Both team find themselves atop the division after the Patriots fended off the upstart Buffalo Bills, 23-21, while the Jets came away with a rather surprising 18-17 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 1.This contest not only looks to break the teams’ 1-0 deadlock in 2013, but to also break the rivals’ all-time regular-season series record of 51-51-1. Here are the Keys to Victory:
New York Jets Keys:
1) Geno Smith Must Continue to Step Up
The rookie QB had an impressive debut in the 18-17 victory over Tampa Bay, throwing for 256 yards and a touchdown. He also limited his mistakes while establishing a relationship with tight end Kellen Winslow. To find success in tonights game, Smith will need more of the same. He will need to beware of falling in love with his safety net in Winslow and look to spread the ball around. Most importantly, Smith must avoid turnovers as New England’s offense is more than capable of taking advantage of having the ball more.
2) Establishing the Run is the Best Defense
The best way to stop an offense like the Patriots is to keep the ball out of their hands. Last week the Jets running backs totaled 44 yards on 22 carries for an average of 2 yards per carry. Compare that to the 6 carries for 47 yards by Geno Smith and you can easily see the problem. Look for the Jets to establish the run early and often, otherwise it will be a long night for the Geno and the offensive line.
3) Get to Brady
This goal is easier said than done, but it is a must. The only way for a defense to beat Tom Brady is to physically beat him, which means sacks and tons of pressure. Give Tom Brady to much time and he will make any receiver look like an all-pro.
New England Patriot Keys:
1) Find a new target:
With both Danny Amendola and Shane Vereen out, Tom Brady is in need of new go to people, but he has been here before. Julian Edelman and Steven Ridley need to step up otherwise this may be a long night in Foxboro.
2) Rattle the Rookie:
While Geno Smith is showing that he is more than capable in the NFL, he is still a rookie, If you pressure him enough, he nay crack so they must go hard and fast on defense.
3) No Stupid Turnovers:
This is simple, as simple as the snap from center to quarterback, don’t get into the habit of having miscues on simple plays, it leads to losing.
I want to say the Jets will win. I want to say injuries on offense will be the Patriots demise. I want to say Rex Ryan wins the division and saves his job this year. But then I’d be wrong. So I am going with the Pats and a score of 24-16 in a surprisingly decent game.