Two of the NFL’s old­est quar­ter­backs do bat­tle in a key matchup when the Jets play host to the Pa­tri­ots on Sun­day

The Globe and Mail (BC Edition) - - GLOBE SPORTS - DEN­NIS WASZAK JR.

New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles fig­ures he’ll have to con­tinue draw­ing up game plans to de­fend against Tom Brady for years to come.

For­get the fact that the New Eng­land Pa­tri­ots quar­ter­back is al­ready 40. Brady is still per­form­ing as if he’s a spry young­ster.

“Brady will prob­a­bly be play­ing af­ter I’m long re­tired at the rate he’s go­ing right now,” Bowles said with a smile.

Brady is off to a ter­rific start sta­tis­ti­cally, lead­ing the NFL with 1,702 yards pass­ing while rank­ing sec­ond with a 112.0 passer rat­ing. He also has the league’s two best pass­ing yardage games of the sea­son, throw­ing for 447 yards against New Or­leans on Sept. 17 and 378 against Hous­ton a week later.

“Ev­ery­body knows what he can do,” Jets de­fen­sive end Muham­mad Wilk­er­son said. “You can never doubt him or count him out.”

Brady and the top-ranked of­fence of the Pa­tri­ots (3-2) head to MetLife Sta­dium to take on the Jets (3-2) on Sun­day for early-sea­son supremacy in the AFC East.

On the other side­line, Brady will see a quar­ter­back who’s just two years younger in New York’s Josh McCown.

Play­ing against a sig­nal caller who’s ac­tu­ally older than him will be some­thing rare th­ese days for McCown, who has faced Buf­falo’s Ty­rod Tay­lor (28), Oakland’s Derek Carr (26), Jack­son- ville’s Blake Bor­tles (25) and Cleve­land’s DeShone Kizer (21) and Kevin Ho­gan (24). At least his op­po­nent in Week 3, Mi­ami’s Jay Cut­ler (34), is in his 30s.

“It’ll be nice for once and hope­fully it will hap­pen again later this year,” McCown said of fac­ing an older QB. “Ob­vi­ously, Tom has set a stan­dard and a mark for quar­ter­backs in our league. What he’s been able to do is noth­ing short of re­mark­able and, to a de­gree, it’s spe­cial to go against him be­cause he’s widely re­garded as the best to ever play. In my opin­ion, prob­a­bly right­fully so.”

With a vic­tory, Brady would break a tie with Brett Favre and Pey­ton Man­ning for the most reg­u­lar-sea­son wins by a start­ing quar­ter­back in NFL his­tory with 187. Brady’s 211 com­bined ca­reer wins, in­clud­ing reg­u­lar sea­son and play­offs, are al­ready a league record.

“To get to play against him and to get go against him, it’s part of it that when you’re done with your ca­reer, it’s a cool thing to look back on,” McCown said. “But my fo­cus will be on do­ing the best I can to move the foot­ball against their de­fence.”

Here are some things to know head­ing into this bat­tle of the aged:

Brady was on the in­jury re­port for the first time this sea­son with a left shoul­der in­jury. The quar­ter­back hasn’t missed a reg­u­lar-sea­son start due to in­jury since 2008, and he played down the sig­nif­i­cance of this one.

“I’ll be there Sun­day,” he said. “Don’t worry about that. I’ll be there.”

While Brady’s pass­ing num­bers have been sound, he’s get­ting sacked a high rate. He’s al­ready been taken down 16 times af­ter go­ing down just 15 times in 12 reg­u­lar-sea­son games last sea­son.

Mean­while, Wilk­er­son and fel­low de­fen­sive line­man Leonard Wil­liams are look­ing to get their first sacks. Wilk­er­son has been deal­ing with a sprained shoul­der and now also has a toe ail­ment. He hasn’t used the in­juries as an excuse, but he has just one quar­ter­back hit this sea­son.

Wil­liams, who made the Pro Bowl last sea­son af­ter hav­ing seven sacks, at least has a team­lead­ing six quar­ter­back pres­sures.

CHRIS O'MEARA/THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

New Eng­land Pa­tri­ots quar­ter­back Tom Brady at­tempts a pass against the Tampa Bay Buc­ca­neers on Oct. 5, in Tampa. At 40, Brady leads the NFL in pass­ing yards through five weeks.

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