Tom Brady will try to lead the Pats to a fifth straight win. Image courtesy of boston.com
Based on 2011 records, New England had the easiest draw in the league coming in to this season. It looked anything but a comfortable ride, though, when the Patriots slipped to 3-3 after losses to Arizona, Baltimore and Seattle. Normal services resumed in Week 7 with an overtime win against this week’s opponents, the New York Jets , with the Pats now on a four-game winning streak.
Tom Brady has his offence purring, as evidenced by the 59-24 demolition of Indianapolis last start. They’ve averaged 42.5 points per game over their winning run, but Brady will be without one of his favourite targets, tight end Rob Gronkowski, who broke his forearm against the Colts. Brady will be hoping TE Aaron Hernandez returns sooner rather than later.
Gronkowski has 53 receptions so far this season, second only to Wes Welker with 73, so Brady will have to make some adjustments. It could mean more carries for exciting second-year running back Stevan Ridley , who has exploded this season with seven touchdowns and an average of 4.6 yards per run.
The Jets managed to snap a three-game skid last week with a 27-13 win away to St Louis. Quarterback Mark Sanchez had a rare turnover-free day, and, coincidentally, backup QB Tim Tebow took just three snaps throughout the game, allowing the former to find his rhythm. Running back Bilal Powell crossed for the first two touchdowns of his career, giving Jets fans hope they may be able to salvage something from what has been an up and down season so far.
The Patriots have won the last three against their AFC East rival, including a 37-16 victory at MetLife Stadium last year. All three encounters have finished with more than 50 points scored between the teams.
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