Instant analysis of Patriots’ miraculous 10-3 win over Jets

An ugly game of football between the AFC East rival New England Patriots and New York Jets got turned on its head with less than a minute left in the fourth quarter.

A punt returned by rookie third-round draft pick Marcus Jones was believed to be the play that would close things out and send the game into overtime. But like Jones had done so many times before at the University of Houston, he made a play with the ball in his hands.

He positioned himself perfectly behind his blockers up front, and then he was going, going, gone for a game-winning touchdown for the Patriots. It was a miraculous way to end what was a tough divisional matchup against the Jets.

Patriots quarterback Mac Jones had an efficient performance in a game where he went 23-of-27 passing for 246 yards, despite being under constant pressure from the Jets’ defensive front.

Both center David Andrews and left tackle Isaiah Wynn left the game early with injuries and never returned, and it showed in the struggles on the offensive line.

The Patriots looked better moving the ball down the field, but they continued to stall when the field shortened and failed to come away with touchdowns. It didn’t help matters that Nick Folk missed two field goals on a windy day that was not ideal for kicking conditions.

In the end, it was once again all about the Patriots defense ruining Zach Wilson’s afternoon in the pocket. The Jets quarterback struggled to make plays under pressure, and the team was shockingly held to only six first-down conversions and 103 total offensive yards.

Patriots star linebacker Matthew Judon pushed his league-leading sack total up to 13.5, while Ja’Whaun Bentley led the way with a team-high nine tackles.

New England needed this victory in a big way to ensure they stayed in the hunt for a playoff spot. Things are getting crowded in an AFC East division where all four teams have winning records. It’s also a time when the Patriots are embarking on the murderer’s row portion of their schedule.

Obviously, the win against the Jets wasn’t a pretty performance by any stretch of the imagination, but the Patriots did their job at home and got a huge victory over a division rival.

Who cares about the how when New England is sitting at 6-4 with a legitimate shot at winning their division and earning a spot in the playoffs?

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Ranking the difficulty of the remaining games on Patriots' schedule

Story originally appeared on Patriots Wire