Tue, 07 Dec 2021

Jets-Patriots Game Preview | Fast Start Needed After Bye

New York Jets
23 Oct 2021, 17:56 GMT+10

QB Zach Wilson Excited for Rematch; C.J. Mosley Battling Hamstring Injury Eric Allen

After their bye week, the restless Jets and rookie QB Zach Wilson will look for their first division win of the season on Sunday in New England against the Patriots. Wilson, who took to Twitter last Sunday and declared that he would be ready to get after it in Week 8, was told by HC Robert Saleh to get some rest away before returning to the NFL grind.

But Wilson is stubborn and oftentimes the young aren't interested in sleep.

"I don't think he listened," Saleh said with a laugh during his weekly appearance on "Jets Gameday with Robert Saleh" that appears on CBS-2 Sundays at 11:30 a.m. "No, he's a sharp young man and this game is very important to him. That's why we love him so much. I mean he eats and breathes and sleeps - everything is football.

"But that's one of the things that we love about him and that is his relentless pursuit to be great and to figure out how he can get better every single day. He came back from the bye, looked like he was fresh and now it's just a matter of stacking it up and going out Sunday and having a great day."

Wilson didn't have a great day when he faced the Patriots in Week 2, throwing four interceptions in a 25-6 loss at MetLife Stadium. Three of those turnovers came in the first half and the Jets headed into the bye with 13 points in first half play and no points in the first quarter.

"I don't think we have to do anything different, we have to get in a rhythm," Wilson said. "One thing is we just haven't had many plays and that's kind of been daunting on us a little bit. We just have to keep focusing on execution just like we do the whole game. I don't think the focus of the very first drive needs to be different than the rest of the game."

While Wilson will start his sixth NFL game against the Patriots, the status of the Jets' defensive signal-caller is in question. Mike linebacker C.J. Mosley, who leads the team with 45 tackles, tweaked his hamstring against the Falcons in London and didn't practice Wednesday or Thursday.

The Jets held the Patriots and their rookie quarterback Mac Jones to just 260 total yards in the teams' first meeting as New England converted 3 of 12 on third down and was 1 of 3 in the red zone. Mosley's 10 tackles led the club, but the Jets will have to depend on rookie 'backer Jamien Sherwood and waiver find Quincy Williams in addition to Blake Cashman with Noah Dawkins being a potential practice squad-call up if No. 57 can't go.

"You have to be very disciplined with your eyes," Mosley said of the Patriots. "They do a lot of things with their formations, moving guys around and putting guys in different positions to try to mess with your eyes. They make you think you are seeing something, but really it's the same formation, just different personnel."

As the Jets look for faster starts, the Patriots are focused on their finishing kick. The Pats might be 2-4, but they are a few plays away from being 5-1. In Week 1, RB Damien Harris lost a fumble deep in Dolphins' territory in the closing minutes and Miami escaped with a 17-16 win at Gillette Stadium. Then in Week 4, former Jets K Nick Folk hit the upright from 56 yards out in the final seconds and Tom Brady and Tampa Bay squeaked out a 19-17 triumph. Last Sunday, the Pats couldn't hold onto a 29-26 advantage in the final seconds as Dallas converted on fourth-and-4 play, nailed a game-tying field goal and then won a thriller in OT on a Dak Prescott 29-yard scoring pass to CeeDee Lamb.

A win over the Patriots would move the Jets into second place in the AFC East regardless of the Miami-Atlanta outcome. They'll face a Patriots team that is 0-4 at home for the first time since 1993. The Pats have won 11 straight games in the series, but Saleh and Wilson and many other Jets have only faced New England once.

"If you make it bigger than it needs to be, then that's exactly what it will become," Saleh said. "It's another opportunity to own your moment. It's another championship opportunity, no different than the championship opportunity to take practice to its fullest. Yes, New England has done a lot of winning over the last 20 years and obviously they've got a Hall of Fame coach, they've had Hall of Fame players and a lot of respect for the organization, but they are another team that is in the way of us trying to be our absolute best. That's the main focus."

The Jets-Patriots series has a different feel nowadays with both teams in transition, but the Green & White still Can't Waitfor their next opportunity. Every game for this young team has great significance no matter whom they lien up against.

"I wouldn't just say this because it's the Patriots, but I'm super excited for this week," Wilson said. "Just a chance for us to get better, for me to get better, to apply the things that I've been working on. I think that's what makes football so fun. I can't wait to get back out there and play these guys. I think it's going to be a blast."

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