1. Bruise and Batter Brady
In spite of dropping three of the past four contests, the Jets pass-rush has come to life in recent weeks. Defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson is finally living up to the hype with the former first round pick has amassed three forced fumbles, two sacks and a fumble return for a touchdown over the past five games. New York will need Wilkerson to lead the charge and disrupt Tom Brady’s rhythm in the pocket if they hope of pulling the upset.
2. Where’s Welker?
With tight end Ron Gronkowski out of the starting lineup, Brady’s favorite target Wes Welker has been a thorn in the Jets’ side over the course of his career. Following their Week 10 loss to the Seattle Seahawks, Gang Green placed cornerback Isaiah Trufant on the injured reserve list, a diminutive defensive back who stymied Welker in the team’s prior meeting up in Foxborough. Rex Ryan will need to mix up his coverage scheme and limit Welker’s space to work in the open field.
3. Riddling Ridley
The Patriots are the NFL’s No. 5 rushing offense averaging less than 143 yards per contest. While the Jets struggled in the early season to stop the run, Ryan’s defensive front has made great strides of late. While Brady’s vaunted passing attack will capture the attention of New York’s coaching staff, New England’s running game can wreak havoc and become a major factor in the outcome of the game.