5 keys for the Patriots to beat the Jets in Week 2

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The New England Patriots have a chance to get their season back on track in Week 2 against the developing and rebuilding New York Jets. Both the Patriots and the Jets drafted quarterbacks in 2021 and both quarterbacks (Mac Jones and Zach Wilson) will start this week.

Anytime a team takes a quarterback, it’s a signal they are rebuilding. But New England is further along, with coach Bill Belichick spending big in the offseason to help accelerate the turnaround after a disappointing 7-9 season. Jones has a stronger supporting cast than Wilson, which is why the Patriots should win this game. Here’s how they can come away with a victory.

Trust QB Mac Jones to do more than in Week 1

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As the season opener wore on, the Patriots began to take the training wheels off their rookie quarterback, with a higher percentage of passing plays. New England finished the first half with five throws and 10 rushes. By the end of the game, the Patriots had thrown the ball 39 times and rushed the ball 30 times. The idea was clearly to ease Jones into the spotlight. The problem was that, ultimately, they needed more from the offense after 60 minutes, with the Patriots losing, 17-16. Jones proved he can be a point guard at the center of an offense to highlight his pass-catchers, like Jonnu Smith, Nelson Agholor, Hunter Henry, Jakobi Meyers, Kendrick Bourne and James White. Running back Damien Harris will remain important as they establish the run. But it's OK for the Patriots to call passing plays early -- and encourage Jones to push the ball downfield more often. This Jets secondary isn't intimidating.

Keep QB Zach Wilson from improvising and using his special arm strength

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The only quarterback who took more hits than Jones in Week 1 was -- who else? -- Wilson (10). The Jets offensive line looked like a mess against the Panthers in Week 1. That's actually what led to Wilson making so many big plays. As the pocket broke down, he was forced to improvise, which sprung free receivers for 40-, 35- and 25-yard plays. If the Patriots can rush Wilson inside the pocket, they will contain his big-play abilities and force him to read the defense. He may not be ready to do that yet, particularly when Belichick has a history of confusing young quarterbacks, particularly rookies.

Eliminate WR Corey Davis from the game with CB J.C. Jackson

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Maybe this goal is too lofty after Davis torched the Panthers secondary for five catches, 97 yards and two touchdowns. But if New England can limit or erase Davis from the game, it will force the rest of the Jets' skill players to make plays. And it's not totally clear if anyone can. The running back group had issues finding room between the offensive linemen, where there are upgrades needed. Pass-catchers Braxton Berrios, Denzel Mims, Jamison Crowder and Tyler Kroft aren't likely to burn the Patriots. If Jackson can lock down Davis, it would go a long way in slowing the Jets offense.

Clean up the costly negative plays that sunk New England in Week 1

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New England had four fumbles against the Dolphins, two of which were lost. They also committed eight penalties for 84 yards. Their red zone scoring efficiency was a pathetic 1 for 4. Even though New England possessed the ball for 36:43 and Jones completed 74.3% of his passes, the team lost. The mental mistakes are the clear reason why.

Don't sleep on DT Quinnen Williams

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Williams had a quiet debut in Week 1 with three tackles, two quarterback hits and a PFF grade of 46.9. But considering how much Jones saw pressure in Week 1, Williams might feast on New England's interior offensive line. That's a surprising statement, considering how much veteran talent there is. But that didn't save the Patriots against an extremely aggressive Dolphins team, which managed nine hits on Jones. Williams will be a key cog if the Jets want to get pressure on Jones -- even if the DT is simply eating up blockers to free the rushers on the edge.

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