TOJ’s Know Your Opponent: Week 2 v New England Patriots

We all know this team.  We all hate this team.  But this team is not Tom Brady’s Patriots anymore.

Coaching- Bill Bellicheck has been at the top of  the game for 20 years. He still runs the defense for the Pats and that unit is always well coached and aggressive. Josh McDaniels runs the offense and, while he has the reputation for being a good offensive mind, his non-Tom Brady offenses have not been good at all.

Offense: Mac Jones was efficient in his debut and is an accurate QB, but he is still a rookie making his first road start.  The Patriots OL is excellent: Isaiah Wynn is one of the better LTs in the game and both Shaq Mason and Michael Onwenhu are ass-kickers at guard.  Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith are good tight ends and Damien Harris is a solid running back, but this offense really lacks the playmakers to make explosive plays.

Defense: Even without Stephon Gilmore, this defense is very good.  After opting out of 2020 Dont’a Hightower is back and he is still one of the best linebackers in the game.  The Patriots have the most edge talent  they have had in years  with a solid veteran in Matt Judon and exciting ascending players like Josh Uche and Chase Winnovich.  JC Jackson is a ball hawking corner who Zach Wilson should avoid targeting as much as possible.

Weaknesses- Due to the Stephon Gilmore injury, Jalen Mills has to start and he is terrible.  Zach Wilson’s favorite target should be whoever Mills has to cover on the given play.  Mac Jones is a rookie making his first road start so he is going to make mistakes. With Trent Brown out, the Jets’ DL has the ability to really pressure Mac and force a couple of turnovers.

Matchup- Seeing how bad the Jets OL played in week 1 this Pats defense should scare you, especially with no Mekhi Becton.  Belicheck is the best in the league at designing creeper pressures and stunts and that can really destroy an OL who has massive communication issues.  The Jets corners were frisky week 1 and I do not think the Pats have the WRs or the QB who can really take advantage of this inexperienced group. The Pats want to run the ball and that plays into the Jets strength with their DL.  Bill Belicheck has a great record against rookie QB’s at 21-6 but he is only 8-6 vs. them on the road  so I think if Zach continues his play from last week this team can score points.

Prediction: Patriots 20 Jets 16. I do not think the Patriots offense can make explosive plays and can blow teams out.  I think the Jets keep it close but ultimately the OL lets them down again and the Pats win a close back and forth game.