After a long rollercoaster-like season, the ending is finally here. The last game the New York Jets will play until 2018 when they hopefully have their shiny new franchise quarterback. This season has had its highs, like the dominating win over the Buffalo Bills on national television, and it surely had its share of lows.
What will be left after it’s all said and done on Sunday will be a young team with a strong base at different skill positions and an uncertain future at both head coach and quarterback. However, for now, it’s time to look ahead to Sunday, where the Jets will travel to Foxborough to try and spoil the New England Patriots hope of clinching home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.
Will they be able to do it? Probably not, as the Patriots are clearly one of the top teams in the conference if not the entire NFL, but this Jets team has surprised people before. If they want to pull off the mega upset, here is how they’ll have to do it.
Week 17 New York Jets Keys to Victory
Don’t Beat Yourself
It’s very hard to recall the last time the Patriots lost because they were outcoached or made too many mistakes. Head coach Bill Belichick always comprises the perfect game plan and makes sure his team is ready to play. Now it’s up to Jets head coach Todd Bowles to do the same. That means no stupid penalties on third down, no turnovers in crucial moments and most importantly being incredibly efficient in the red zone. These aspects are crucial to any team trying to beat the Patriots and can’t be understated. Belichick is in the conversation for greatest coach of all time and for good reason. Bowles has to rise to the occasion and somehow match him.
Keep Tom Brady Off the Field
As fans and analysts saw three weeks ago, a strong run game is very dangerous to what the Patriots like to do. First off, the run game helps control the clock. Every second your offense is on the field means that Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski aren’t. Being able to run the ball also sets up play action, which will desperately be needed to help the ailing Bryce Petty. Petty had struggled in every aspect of his short career and there is no better aid to a struggling quarterback than an efficient rushing attack. Lastly, we have seen teams have success rushing the ball against New England. New York will have to use each back’s skill set to maximize what the offense is able to produce.
Many fans threw tantrums over the Jets signing of veteran Josh McCown last offseason but he proved, even with his faults, to be a serviceable quarterback. Petty has shown the exact opposite. Sunday will most likely be his last game suiting up for Gang Green and he will have to make the most of his opportunity if he wants to continue to be employed by an NFL franchise. What is the best way to do that? Put on a serviceable performance which includes zero turnovers. The Patriots are deadly at turning turnovers into points and if the Jets have more giveaways than their division rivals they will certainly lose the game. It’s a big burden that falls on the former fourth-round pick, but it’s the job he signed up for.