Neither of the two teams has had a season they’d like to remember, but any time the Jets face off with the New England Patriots, there’s guaranteed to be some intrigue, and as the cliché goes, you can throw away the records.
That’s exactly the way that Patriots head coach Bill Belichick is looking at Sunday’s matchup.
Despite the Jets’ 2-13 record, Belichick has seen plenty of good from the team in their back-to-back wins, and he was very complementary of Adam Gase and the team overall during his Tuesday morning conference call.
“The Jets are playing well. They’re playing good, complementary football,” Belichick said. “They’ve certainly generated a good pass rush and pressure on the passer. Again, they’re scoring points offensively, playing good, complementary football, playing from ahead. They could have easily won our game, they could have easily beaten [Las Vegas], so they’ve been very competitive in a lot of games.”
The Patriots just narrowly edged out the Jets back in Week 9 with a 30-27 victory that came down to a last-second, 51-yard field goal by Nick Folk. But it was a game the Jets let get away, as they led 27-17 after three quarters.
That divisional loss was one of a handful of games that the Jets have had in their grasp but ultimately couldn’t finish out. And while Gase has drawn plenty of criticism this season, Belichick has taken notice to the things Jets head coach has done well in his second season at the reins with Gang Green.
“I think Adam’s done a great job this year of continuing to improve the team with coaching, and as usual, his excellent game-planning and play-calling are problems for the defense,” Belichick said. “This is a team that’s gotten better. How many guys are on some kind of injured list? It must be 20. It’s a long list, but they continue to plug guys in there and play very competitively in all three phases of the game. They’ve gotten a good level of play here in the second half of the season from a lot of guys defensively, especially along the front seven, and they’ve been productive offensively, running the ball, throwing the ball with different quarterbacks, with Joe [Flacco] and with Sam [Darnold]. They’ve both played well, and again, this offense is well-designed and well-called.
“Fundamentally, you can see the improvements that they’re making steadily through the course of the season. I think Coach Gase and his staff have done an outstanding job and, like I said, the players individually have gotten better and collectively they’ve performed better. I think they’ve done a good job there.”
After an 0-13 start, Gase and the Jets will look to finish out their season with a third-straight win as they take on the Pats in Foxboro, Mass. on Sunday at 1:00 p.m.