The Suffolk Journal

Game versus Jets a playoff preview

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“We just didn’t do enough things well today, it’s obvious,” said Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick after the 2011 divisional round against the New York Jets, a game in which the Patriots lost 28-21 and were eliminated from the NFL playoffs.

Almost four years later, following a win against said Jets, it would not be unviable to ask the question: Would the Jets be able to come into New England again in the playoffs and send us packing like 2011?

The Patriots are playing a surreal brand of football right now, behind the play of quarterback Tom Brady.

The 38-year-old leads the league in passing touchdowns with 16, and is second in passing yards with 2,054, trailing only San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers, who has 2,452.

As for the Jets, they have a revamped offense with running back Chris Ivory averaging 100 yards per game, along with wide receiver Brandon Marshall, who has found new life with the Jets, averaging 96 yards per game.

Quarterback-wise, the Jets have gone with Ryan Fitzpatrick after Geno Smith went down with a jaw injury due to a locker room altercation with a former teammate.

But even with the improved offense, the Jets’s biggest asset has been their defense. Armed with elite cornerback Darrelle Revis and one of the best defensive lines in the NFL, the Jets have proven to be a formidable opponent once again in a playoff setting.

The Patriots have had a tough time with the Jets in the past. Given this, it would be an even more meaningful game. It very well has the makings of a trap game for the Patriots.

The Patriots defense has been shown to have some holes and is definitely not on the same level as last year’s Super Bowl winning squad.

In an article for Patriots Football Weekly, Paul Perillo said, “The strength of New England’s defense so far has been its ability to rush the passer and create chaos by forcing quarterbacks into errant throws, thereby protecting a new-look secondary that has yet to be tested. Opposing teams have been able to move the ball on the ground. The Patriots have struggled stopping the run most weeks, and that was the case again last week in Indy when Frank Gore averaged six yards a pop.”

Perillo suggests the biggest hole in the Patriots’s defense is their cornerbacks. While Cornerback Malcom Butler has held his own, covering the likes of Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown and Colts wide receiver T.Y. Hilton, the young group of corners has not been fully tested.

Brandon Marshall was held in check this past week, but he had to be double covered the entire game.

Giving the Jets more time to game plan, as well as improve as the season progresses, may not bode as well a second time around for the Patriots.

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Game versus Jets a playoff preview