Patriots Look To Lengthen Division Domination

Image courtesy of Wickerham/Getty Images
Tom Brady has a great record against the Jets. Image courtesy of Wickerham/Getty Images
In week two of the 2010 season, New England took on a New York Jets side with a rookie quarterback in the form of Mark Sanchez, and went down 28-14 in a massive shock. Four years on and the Patriots find themselves in the same position. This time they’ll be taking on second round draft pick Geno Smith , who displaced Sanchez as the Jets’ starting quarterback during the pre-season.

Smith will do well if he goes even close to emulating Sanchez’s performance that season, where he took New York to the AFC title game, but he kicked things off on the right foot last week leading his team to an 18-17 win over Tampa Bay. The mobile QB scrambled for 47 yards on six carries, but more concerning for the Jets was the fact its backfield of Bilal Powell and Chris Ivory combined for a total of just 44 yards on 22 rushes.

While the Jets couldn’t get their ground game going, at least their defence stopped the Buccaneers from progressing downfield. Tampa Bay was held to just 250 total yards and gun rusher Doug Martin amassed just 65 yards and a TD on 24 carries. The Bucs managed just three points in the second half.

Much like New York, New England also had a tight one, with both teams requiring a last-minute field goal to seal the deal. The Patriots struggled to put away Buffalo in an AFC East match-up before prevailing 34-31 . It was the Pats’ 11th straight win over a divisional rival and they have won 12 in a row at home against their fellow AFC East teams.

Tom Brady had some issues connecting with his receivers and injury concerns have a couple of his offensive weapons in doubt. Danny Amendola latched on to 10 receptions for 104 yards but has a groin injury, while running back Shane Vereen – who rushed for 101 yards on 14 carries against the Bills – will miss the next two months after breaking a bone in his left wrist. Given Wes Welker’s departure and the fact former tight end Aaron Hernandez is behind bars after being indicted on a murder charge, Brady needs as many fit, experienced troops on the park as possible. Tight end Rob Gronkowski is unlikely to suit up after surgery on his back and forearm.

The Patriots have won six consecutive regular season games against the Jets. Last season they required overtime to get the job done 29-26 at Gillette Stadium, but they embarrassed New York a few weeks later in the Big Apple on Thanksgiving Day winning 49-19.

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