Following their Week 11 bye, the Patriots head to New Jersey to take on their hated rival, the New York Jets (3-7). The Pats hope to regain their momentum and keep pace with the Chiefs and Steelers with a win tomorrow.
Here are a few things to consider entering tomorrow’s game.
1. The offense needs a pick-me-up performance
Tom Brady and the offense did not have a great performance during their last outing, as they were utterly stifled by the intense pass rush of the Tennessee Titans, which resulted in a mere 10 points. In order to be successful against the Jets, the Pats will need to rely on a steady balance between their passing and rushing attacks, in order to ensure that an already banged-up Brady is able to stay up right and have a great performance (the return of Shaq Mason should help in this regard). Getting Rob Gronkowski back after 2 games (and the bye week) will help elevate the passing game, as it will allow weapons such as Julian Edelman and Josh Gordon to have more separation. Rex Burkhead will also be returning (he has been on the injured reserve since Week 1), which will definitely boost the offense and reduce the burden on the primary duo of James White and Sony Michel.
Having a good performance against the Jets will be helpful in helping the Patriots turn the corner as the season comes to an end.
2. Defensive rebound?
Just like the offense, the Pats’ defense was miserable against Tennessee, as they gave up 34 points, and could not come up with a crucial stop when it mattered. Luckily enough for them, the Jets will be playing without their rookie quarterback, Sam Darnold, and will have Josh McCown under center. The Pats will need a constant and reliable performance from their defensive line in order to ensure that they can dictate the pace of the game and force New York to play from behind. The secondary should be elevated by the debuts of rookie cornerback Duke Dawson Jr. (drafted in the second round out of Florida) and recently-signed safety Obi Melifonwu, who will help to provide some much-needed youth and speed in the backend of the field.
With games against the likes of Minnesota and Pittsburgh coming up, the Patriots’ defense needs to drastically improve to give the team a good chance of winning.
- Dwayne Allen (knee) – Out
- Tom Brady (knee/illness) – Questionable
- Nate Ebner (knee) – Questionable
- Rob Gronkowski (ankle/back) – Questionable
- Shaq Mason (calf) – Questionable
- Sony Michel (knee) – Questionable
- Sam Darnold (foot) – Out
- Marcus Maye (shoulder/thumb) – Doubtful
- James Carpenter (shoulder) – Doubtful
- Brandon Copeland (elbow) – Questionable
- Robby Anderson (ankle) – Questionable
Prediction: Patriots 24, Jets 13
Here are my picks for the rest of the NFL’s Week 12 contests (excluding their slate of games on Thanksgiving)
Last week: 9-3
Browns at Bengals: Bengals
49ers at Buccaneers: Buccaneers
Jaguars at Bills: Jaguars
Raiders at Ravens: Ravens
Seahawks at Panthers: Panthers
Giants at Eagles: Eagles
Cardinals at Chargers: Chargers
Dolphins at Colts: Colts
Steelers at Broncos: Steelers
Packers at Vikings: Vikings
Titans at Texans: Texans