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Predicting the Patriots’ coverage strategy in rematch with NY Jets

Elijah Moore, Mac Jones
Elijah Moore, Mac Jones, New York Jets, New England Patriots, Jet X Graphic, Getty Images

How the New England Patriots cover the New York Jets weapons will matter a lot in Week 7

Following a bye week that went about as well as it could have, the New York Jets are set for a second showdown with the New England Patriots.

The first matchup was a massive disappointment for the Jets, resulting in a 25-6 loss. Rookie quarterback Zach Wilson threw interceptions on his first two pass attempts and tossed two more before the day was over. The team couldn’t overcome the early turnovers and the game was basically over before halftime.

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick has a reputation for playing with rookie signal-callers like Silly Putty; but surprisingly, he didn’t use any advanced coverages against the Jets in their first game.

Rather, he played it safe and trusted his secondary to win, betting on the Jets to expect a blitz-heavy attack.

Wilson and play-caller Mike LaFleur took the bait, leading Wilson to lose trust in his eyes and fall apart. The Patriots are anything but predictable, but would they change a game-plan that worked so well before?

The likely answer is no because the Pats didn’t avoid blitzing to just out-smart the Jets, they did it out of fear as well.

Against the Panthers a week prior, Wilson showed an impressive knack for avoiding sacks and making plays out of the pocket, including his first career touchdown to Corey Davis. Belichick didn’t want Wilson to escape the pocket, where he had been at his best in college and the week before. Instead, he forced Wilson to beat him with his brain, and not his raw talent.

The Patriots will of course have their change-ups, but the Jets should expect a similar game-plan to their first matchup. Knowing this, the Jets should take advantage of the softer coverage by establishing the run and hitting quick passes.

The run game actually had a great day against the Pats the first time, totaling 152 yards for the game. The Jets should stick to the run early on and force New England to load the box, setting up one-on-ones for the receivers. On top of that, they should feed their playmakers, like Elijah Moore, on quick throws underneath. Screens, swing passes, and quick-outs are easy ways to move the chains and exploit the Pats backing off their coverage. Moore has yet to explode like he was expected to, but this could be the week he breaks out.

The Oklahoma Drill Podcast is back to preview the Jets’ week seven game in Foxborough. Listen in to the full episode as the crew breaks down the entire game-plan for a much-needed win after the bye.

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