Can the New York Jets kick off their post-bye slate on the right note? ESM’s experts of green endeavors share their thoughts.
- What: New York Jets (1-4) @ New England Patriots (2-4)
- Where: Gillette Stadium, Foxboro, MA
- When: Sunday at 1 p.m. ET
- Watch: CBS
Though one of the quieter games of a relatively sparse NFL Sunday (six teams are taking Week 6 off), Sunday’s AFC East divisional showdown between the Jets and Patriots showcase (an admittedly uglier case of) the unstoppable force meeting an immoveable object trope.
The Jets are coming out of a bye hoping to cling to the momentum of a decent second half against Atlanta in London, one that would’ve been flawless from a defensive perspective if not for a crucial touchdown drive allowed in the dying stages. Their hosts, the developing New England Patriots, have a prime opportunity to feast: they sandwiched an unfashionable win over the lowly Texans with highly respectable losing efforts against the NFC’s finest (Tampa Bay and Dallas). It’s certainly not the heights fans of the Flying Elvises are used to after they were spoiled by Tom Brady and Co. for nearly two decades, but it’s a sign that the franchise is heading in the right direction after last season’s meandering 7-9 effort.
Whether it’s fair or not, both the Jets and Patriots’ progress in their respective rebuilds, embarked upon under the supervision of a Western New York overlord, is going to be judged solely upon the performances of their rookie quarterbacks. Zach Wilson has shown flashes of brilliance but the British-based effort against the Falcons was undoubtedly a step backward. Mac Jones, on the other hand, has steadily improved with each passing (pun intended) week. The results have yet to make themselves known in the win column, but the proof is in the pudding of freshman statistics: the Alabama alum has found familiar footing, as he’s the top-ranked first-year passer in completion rate, yardage, rating, and touchdown passes. Turnovers have been a problem, but the Jets (the only team in the NFL without an interception) have done little to inspire the idea that they’re capable of forcing consistent, momentum-shifting turnovers.
There will be plenty of opportunities for the Jets to grow as they resume play after their week off. But there still isn’t a lot of evidence that they’re ready to compete with the middling Patriots. Despite a resilient defensive effort, they were soundly beaten by three possessions in the MetLife Stadium portion of the yearly series. The Foxboro affair should be closer…surely Wilson can’t throw four first-half interceptions again…but the Patriots have only gotten better since that September showdown.
The Patriots’ stranglehold of supremacy over their rivalry with the Jets is one of the final remnants of their dynasty; as they slowly mount a march toward another, don’t expect that to dissipate.
Patriots 27, Jets 16
This week the Jets travel to New England for their second matchup with the Patriots. The Patriots are coming off a tightly contested battle against the Cowboys this past weekend, one that ended in a heartbreaking overtime defeat. Mac Jones played a good game against America’s team going 15-for-21 for 229 yards, two touchdowns, and an interception. Jones made some sloppy plays, but that’s to be expected from a rookie thrower. The killer for the Patriots was Bill Belichick getting outcoached by Mike McCarthy and the Cowboys: Belichick was too reluctant to take chances and called too conservative of a game, calls that ultimately cost his team a high-profile win.
Meanwhile, the Jets are coming off a bye and remain 1-4, but the team went into its week off on a sour note: Just when everything was thought to be clicking after Week 4 win over Tennessee, they lost in London to the Falcons.
These are two teams looking to regain some semblance of momentum. In the last meeting, Belichick had Zach Wilson looking like Nathan Peterman. I think Wilson performs better after having extra time to prepare, and the defense likely does well. But the Patriots will likely still force the Jets to shoot themselves in the foot, so I reluctantly go with New England to win this one.
Patriots 23, Jets 10
The Jets have had more than enough time to decompress from their subpar trip to London as they’re coming off of a bye week. They now have to travel to Foxboro to face the Patriots for the second time this season.
This could be a game where both offenses struggle and the defenses prevail. The Patriots don’t have an explosive offense and the Jets offense is…inconsistent, to say the least. To their credit, the unit has been playing somewhat better over their past few games.
If neither offense gets in a groove early, this is going to be a tight, low-scoring game. If that’s the case, homefield will play a large enough role for the Patriots to sweep the season series, no matter how much it pains me to say.
Patriots 17, Jets 14
Best of the Rest
|Denver @ Cleveland (Thu.)||Broncos||Broncos||Broncos|
|Atlanta @ Miami||Falcons||Dolphins||Falcons|
|Carolina @ NY Giants||Panthers||Panthers||Panthers|
|Cincinnati @ Baltimore||Ravens||Ravens||Bengals|
|Kansas City @ Tennessee||Chiefs||Chiefs||Chiefs|
|Washington @ Green Bay||Packers||Packers||Packers|
|Detroit @ LA Rams||Rams||Rams||Rams|
|Philadelphia @ Las Vegas||Raiders||Raiders||Raiders|
|Chicago @ Tampa Bay||Buccaneers||Buccaneers||Buccaneers|
|Houston @ Arizona||Cardinals||Cardinals||Cardinals|
|Indianapolis @ San Francisco||Colts||49ers||Colts|
|New Orleans @ Seattle (Mon.)||Saints||Saints||Saints|
Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags
Dylan Price is on Twitter @dylanprice27
Brendan Carpenter is on Twitter @brendan_carp