Zach Wilson, Mac Jones
Zach Wilson, Mac Jones, New York Jets, New England Patriots, Jet X Graphic, Getty Images

Zach Wilson and the New York Jets get back to work against Bill Belichick’s New England Patriots in Foxborough.

A rematch? Already? Once the dust settles on Week 7, the New York Jets and New England Patriots will have met twice in the 2021 season.

The first matchup wasn’t just a Jets loss, it also represented a tremendous letdown in the season’s home-opener. Zach Wilson‘s four interceptions headlined New York’s disappointing 25-6 loss.

Bill Belichick’s savvy man coverage did a number on the BYU product, as Mike LaFleur’s offense simply could not get anything going. On the other side of the ball, fellow rookie Mac Jones nickeled and dimed his way to an efficient afternoon.

This time around, Robert Saleh’s group is coming off its only bye week of the year, and it most likely came at the right time.

Jets at Patriots game info

  • New York Jets (1-4)
  • New England Patriots (2-4)
  • NFL, Week 7, Sunday, Oct. 24, 2021, 1 p.m. ET, CBS
  • Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, MA
New York Jets, New England Patriots, 2021, Week 7 Preview
New York Jets, New England Patriots, 2021, Week 7 Preview, Jet X Graphic, Getty Images

Woody Johnson first announced the Jets would be wearing their white top and green pants. Interestingly, however, the Jets’ chairman performed a 180 after fans offered up their unsolicited opinion.

Suddenly, Jets fans feel a lot more comfortable heading into this one.

Jets at Patriots history

  • Patriots lead the all-time series 70-54-1

The Jets and the Patriots’ history was a tight one. That was until a certain man named Mr. Brady entered the picture.

Tom Brady’s arrival (as a starting quarterback) in 2001 coincided with a dominant Patriots stretch. After the fateful Mo Lewis hit on Drew Bledsoe (Sept. 3, 2001), New England has won 33 of the last 41 matchups (33-8 record).

The Pats have also taken the last 11 games and 14 of the last 15.

Jets at Patriots odds (FanDuel Sportsbook)

  • Spread: Jets +7 (-114), Patriots -7 (-106)
  • Moneyline: Jets +260, Patriots -320
  • Over/Under: 42.5 (O: -110, U: -110)

The Jets have officially entered “prove it” territory. No longer can anybody expect a Jets victory until they first prove it on the field.

FanDuel Sportsbook is currently giving the Jets seven points on the road.

Jets at Patriots injury report

New York Jets, Atlanta Falcons, 2021, Week 7, Injury Report, Friday
New York Jets, Atlanta Falcons, 2021, Week 7, Injury Report, Friday, New York Jets Communications

New York Jets

  • Tyler Kroft (back): Out
  • C.J. Mosley (hamstring): Doubtful
  • Tevin Coleman (hamstring): Questionable

Starting tight end Tyler Kroft has officially been ruled out with a back injury. Although safety Marcus Maye returns from a three-game injury absence, Jeff Ulbrich’s unit will most likely be shorthanded in a big way.

Veteran C.J. Mosley is currently listed as doubtful with a hamstring. If he cannot go, rookie Jamien Sherwood will fill in at the Mike.

New England Patriots

  • Jonathan Jones (shoulder): Out
  • Shaun Wade (concussion): Out
  • Christian Barmore (shoulder): Questionable
  • Ja’Whaun (rips): Questionable
  • Brandon Bolden (thigh): Questionable
  • Kyle Dugger (knee): Questionable
  • Nick Folk (knee): Questionable
  • Davon Godchaux (finger): Questionable
  • Dont’a Hightower (elbow/ankle): Questionable
  • Brandon King (thigh): Questionable
  • Shaq Mason (abdomen): Questionable
  • Jalen Mills (hamstring): Questionable
  • Adrian Phillips (back): Questionable
  • Josh Uche (shoulder): Questionable
  • Kyle Van Noy (groin): Questionable
  • Deatrich Wise Jr. (knee): Questionable

Incredibly, Belichick’s squad enters the game much more banged up than Saleh’s (perhaps even when considering the IR slots).

Cornerbacks Jonathan Jones and Shaun Wade will both miss the contest, while former Jet Nick Folk, Dont’a Hightower, Shaq Mason, Adrian Phillips and Kyle Van Noy are all listed as questionable.

New York Jets’ keys to victory

An early Zach attack (confidence booster)

Belichick interestingly played an extremely conservative defense in Week 2. Daring the Jets to rush the ball on early downs, he played either a 2-deep or single-high lagged-man coverage with an emphasis on certain routes and/or concepts that befuddled Wilson.

This came after Carolina’s defense played an extremely aggressive brand of ball against New York in the season-opener. So, while it makes sense Belichick would want to change things up, in theory, his Week 2 blueprint started a trend. Other defenses have played conservatively against Wilson and the Jets offense.

LaFleur should expect more of the same from Belichick, which means the opportunity is great to get the kid going early. Whether it comes in the form of short passes (meshes, high-lows, spots, etc.), the Jets’ top goal has to be related to getting Wilson confidence early.

Pressure Mac Jones

Defensively, the good news is that the Patriots’ rushing attack hasn’t done much yet this season. Currently ranked 25th in the league in yards per carry (3.8), New England’s three-step passing attack has often served as a substitute.

In the 25-6 loss, Saleh and Ulbrich played a bend-but-don’t-break coverage on the back-end while also deploying a more elaborate front-four strategy (stunts, games, etc.).

Pressuring Jones early and often will loom large in keeping New England’s offensive output down.

Jets at Patriots prediction

  • New York Jets 24, New England Patriots 34

I’ll give the Jets a mini-offensive breakout, but it won’t be enough in the end. What Josh McDaniels has asked Mac Jones to do since Week 2 has expanded, which means Ulbrich and Saleh will have to be much more careful on the back-end.

The Patriots could rush the ball for well over 100 yards and provide their rookie quarterback a much better chance to take chunks downfield.

Expect Zach Wilson to throw an interception, but maybe Mike LaFleur can get him on the right track in this one with some short designs early.

Hopefully, it’ll be the first step in correcting the kid’s current on-field ills.

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Robby Sabo is a co-founder, CEO and credentialed New York Jets content creator for Jets X-Factor - Jet X, which includes Sabo's Sessions (in-depth film breakdowns) and Sabo with the Jets. Host: Sabo Radio. Member: Pro Football Writers of America. Host: Underdog Jets Podcast with Wayne Chrebet. Coach: Port Jervis (NY) High School. Washed up strong safety and 400M runner. SEO: XL Media. Founder/Consultant: Elite Sports NY - ESNY. Email: robby.sabo@jetsxfactor.com

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