Before this season, this game between the Patriots and Jets was one many had circled because it was Aaron Rodgers’ first chance to snap the Jets losing streak against Bill Belichick and the Patriots. Now, the game is a matchup between Zach Wilson and the 0-2 Patriots. Regardless of who’s playing, we’ll preview the game before going over which side I’ll be backing.
Since the Patriots reign of terror over the AFC East division began, it’s been rare to see one of their divisional opponents beat them at home, but that was the case Sunday night when the Dolphins went into Gilette Stadium and came away with a 24-17 win. New England’s 14-point fourth-quarter rally was not enough to overcome the hole they put themselves in during the first half of the game, which is the second straight week that’s been an issue.
Another issue prevalent in both weeks for the Patriots offense is a lack of run game. Through two weeks, New England is 27th in the league in average rushing yards per game (82) and 22nd in average yards per rush (3.5). Struggles on the offensive line have made establishing a run game very difficult for the Mac Jones led offense, and problems could remain prevalent this weekend with both Cole Strange and Michael Onwenu listed as questionable.
New England’s offense will look to put together a complete game this weekend against a Jets defense that did not have the same level of success stopping the pass in week two as they did in week one. Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott put up an 81.6% completion percentage and threw for two touchdowns, and the inability to limit Prescott ended up with the Jets' defense having a (-16.15) EPA on pass plays.
Even if the Jets' defense performed a bit better, I’m not sure how much it would have mattered with how the offense performed. In Zach Wilson’s first start of the year, he would finish 12-27 for 170 yards and one long touchdown to Garrett Wilson. The BYU product would also throw an interception the game, which has been a problem his entire career and could continue to hurt him this weekend against a Belichick led defense.
The Patriots come into this week three matchup listed at (-2.5) point road favorites, and I’ll be backing them for my play. Since 2020, the Jets are 18-27 ATS as underdogs, and they are amid a 14-game losing streak to New England. This is the exact type of game in which Belichick schemes up his defense to have a field day against the Jets offense.
In two games against the Patriots' defense last year, Zach Wilson did not have a completion percentage higher than 48.7%, and his three interceptions against them last year gave him seven in his career against New England. New England’s defense has been the best part of the team so far this year, and after limiting the Eagles and Dolphins to just one passing touchdown each, I think they can have another successful game against the Jets.
On defense, the Jets showed they can be beaten through the air, and with New England leading the league with 48 passing attempts per game, Mac Jones is in a good position for success on Sunday. The offensive line issues for the Patriots are concerning, but Jones has the 4th fastest time to throw in the league, right ahead of Dak Prescott, who just picked apart this same Jets’ secondary.
New England Patriots (-2.5)