PATRIOTS (3-2) VS. JETS (3-2)
SUNDAY, 1 P.M. ET, METLIFE STADIUM, EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. uTV: CBS, DIRECTV 706
Announcers: Ian Eagle, Dan Fouts, Evan Washburn
About the Patriots: New England’s defense redeemed itself during an Oct. 5 victory against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. After yielding an average of 32 points per game in their first four games, the Patriots shored some things up, especially in the secondary, limiting the Bucs to 14 points and making a last-minute stand to preserve the victory. “You can build off this,” said S “This was a step in the right direction.” Beleaguered CB had a bounceback game, limiting Pro Bowl WR Mike Evans to five catches for 49 yards. Although QB
had another big game (303 passing yards, 94.1 passer rating), the Patriots struggled to score. TE is expected back after missing the game because of a thigh contusion, so that should help.
About the Jets: For the first time in his 15-season NFL career, QB has guided a team to three consecutive wins. The journeyman threw two fourth-quarter touchdown passes as the Jets came back to edge the winless Cleveland Browns 17-14. LB
was stellar against his former team with two sacks and four quarterback hits, one of which resulted in a Jets interception. Rookie safeties and continue to be precocious. Adams made nine tackles, while Maye made his first interception on a third-down play from the Jets’ 4-yard line. For the first time since 2008, the Jets made three stops in the red zone without allowing points. A week after winning a game with an overtime field goal, K
booted a franchise-record 57-yarder.
Matchup to watch: Jets defensive linemen Leonard Williams and Muhammad Wilkerson vs. Pats tackles Nate Solder and Marcus Cannon. Williams and Wilkerson are still looking for their first sacks. Meanwhile, Solder and Cannon have struggled to protect Brady, who was hit six times by the Bucs. Brady has been hit 32 times and sacked 16 times. Last season, he was sacked 15 times in 12 regular-season games.
WHO WILL WIN AND WHY
After missing the last game and eight games in 2016, Gronk is hankering to get back on the field. Despite his durability questions, he remains a dynamic, game-changing performer. He’s averaging nearly 16 yards per reception and will play a pivotal role as Brady acclimates to life without injured WR Julian Edelman.
Recep- tions and targets by Jets WR Nine of his catches have resulted in first downs.
KEYS TO THE GAME
1. Stay grounded: A week after Jets running backs Bilal Powell and combined for 256 yards on 31 carries, they were limited to 25 yards on 13 carries. The Patriots are yielding 124 rushing yards per game and gave up 140 vs. Tampa Bay, so there might be opportunities.
2. Road warriors: The Patriots have won both of their road games this season, continuing their trend last season, when they went 8-0 in away games.
3. Protect the franchise: Brady is on pace to be hit 102 times and sacked 51 times. New England’s offensive line has to do a better job keeping defenders away from its 40-yearold quarterback.
4. Getting their kicks: Catanzaro is redeeming himself after making just 75% of his field goals and missing four extra point attempts last year with the Arizona Cardinals. Jets P has a punt of 60 yards or longer in each of his last three games.
Devin McCourty. Josh McCown