The New York Jets are on fire right now at 5-2, while the New England Patriots have had an up and down start to the season at 3-4. With this being the Patriots’ most important game of the season thus far, they will need to do a few things to ensure they cruise to victory on the road.
Unlike last week, the team isn’t stumbling towards kick-off with questions of who will start at quarterback. Coach Bill Belichick has already named Mac Jones as the starter for the game, which should quell all of the Bailey Zappe noise in the lead-up.
With the starting quarterback situation finally decided, these are the keys to victory for the Patriots to get back to .500 win percentage.
This one is pretty simple for anyone who wishes to win football games, but for the Patriots, particularly when Mac Jones has been under center, they have not kept the ball out of the other team’s hands. It’s pretty much impossible to get into a good rhythm offensively when the Patriots are handing the ball to the other team in good field position.
If the Patriots can play turnover-free football, they’re one of the harder teams to beat with Bill Belichick at the helm. But as of now, Jones and the offense is not ready to play from behind just yet. Quarterbacks take time to develop, but it is time for the Patriots to find a way to get Jones back on track.
Special teams needs to have themselves a game
It has been a while since the Patriots special teams has had themselves a good full game of football, and right now, the team needs any help it can get.
If the special teams can force a turnover or keep Jets quarterback Zach Wilson in tough field positions, the defense will have a much better time at defending and allowing the Patriots to create packages the way they see fit, rather than playing from midfield immediately.
That obviously goes both ways, particularly with the offense struggling to consistently put points on the board. Winning the battle of field position would give Jones and company a shorter distance on drives.
Convert in the red zone
Even when they play turnover-free football, the Patriots have had a tough time turning red zone trips into touchdowns. That is something they will need to do against a tough Jets team that will always find a way back into games.
Red zone efficiency is exactly the type of medicine to turn things around this week for the Patriots, and Jones needs to deliver.
Granted, the players around him also have to step up and make plays. Will it be Hunter Henry, Tyquan Thornton or DeVante Parker? Someone has to step up as a reliable target for Jones to finish drives with touchdowns.