The New York Jets take on the New England Patriots in week 7…their second Monday Night Football game of the year (BOOGER TIME). Jets fans are…confident?
Do you think the #Jets will beat the Patriots?
— Joe Caporoso (@JCaporoso) October 18, 2019
Let’s dive into three things to know about this matchup…
1 – A MEANINGFUL Game? It does seem *kind of* silly to be acting like a game for a 1-4 team is immensely critical but the Jets have not played many important and/or interesting games in the past 3.5 years. It is refreshing to somewhat have one upcoming. As it stands now, the Jets probably have something like a 10% chance of making the playoffs. If they upset New England, those chances probably move up to around 25-30% because they will be clear favorites in their following four games after it. If they beat New England, it will also be:
- Their first win against them since 2015
- Sam Darnold’s first career win against them
- New England’s first loss of the season
- The biggest upset thus far in the NFL season…in primetime!
If the Jets lose, as they are rightly expected to, it probably moves that 10% playoff chance well under 5% because the team is going to be 0-5 in the AFC and 0-3 in the AFC East and if they get thumped, there is going to major doubts about the viability of beating a feisty Jacksonville team on the road.
As a self-proclaimed pragmatist about this team, I do think the signs are there for a close game. The Jets are 2-4 vs. New England at MetLife over the past six years and their average margin of defeat is only six points. Sam Darnold has been a different, much better quarterback at home so far in his short career and the Patriots are banged up, particularly on offense (although the Jets are as well). This very well may be a trap for a colossal disappointment but it is reasonable to believe this game will be highly competitive and if the Jets get wiped, it will be fair to get on the staff, players and organization for not rising to the occasion in a rare “big” spot.
2 -The Sam Leap Barometer A great early career box to check in the process of Darnold making “the leap” would be beating the best defense in football with a strong performance. He was spectacular last week in his return to action but the challenge will be significantly greater this weekend. New England is better coached, has more talent and will have the Dallas tape to work through of Gase’s offense with Darnold under center. We are going to learn a ton about just how far along Darnold is on Monday night. If he has a rough outing, it doesn’t mean he is a bust or is going to enter a Baker like sophomore slump but it does mean he may not be *quite* as far along as we all want him to be.
3 – Gregg-Isms I was skeptical of the Gregg Williams hire and thought he was being slightly overrated by most fans but he has done a flat out great job so far this year. The Jets have been without CJ Mosley since week 1, have a weak collection of corners and some underachievers upfront but the unit has hung tough. They haven’t been perfect but it is impossible not to be impressed with how competitive and physical they’ve been week to week. The defense’s worst stretch this year was probably the first half against New England back in week 3, where they basically let the Patriots walk up and down the field for a 20-0 lead that quickly put the game away. Gregg has a great opportunity to bounce back from that and hopefully take advantage of a somewhat hobbled and somewhat disappointing New England offense. If the Jets can keep the Patriots in the low 20s, they have a real shot to steal this game.