The New England Patriots and New York Jets have been two of the NFL’s best teams in the early part of the season, and they are finally set to meet in Week 7. The two teams square off at Gillette Stadium on Sunday afternoon in a battle for first place in the AFC East.
Coming off their Super Bowl victory, New England continues to look like the best team in football, going 5-0 to start the season and winning by an average of 16 points per game. New York has just one blemish on their record, going 4-1 with each win coming by at least 13 points.
Even though both teams have played so well, the Patriots are the biggest favorites in Week 7, according to vegasinsider.com. Las Vegas sportsbooks have set the betting line at nine points, and the over/under is 48 points.
Early Season MVP
There’s been a lot of talk about Andy Dalton and Cam Newton being potential MVP candidates, since they have led their teams to undefeated starts through six weeks. But Tom Brady has been in top form entering Week 7.
Brady leads all quarterbacks with a 118.4 passer rating. He’s tied for second with 14 touchdown passes, and he’s the only starting quarterback to have just one interception. The four-time Super Bowl champ is also second in yards per game (340) and first in completion percentage (70.6) among quarterbacks that have started at least four games.
The Patriots haven’t had much of a rushing attack, ranking 21st in rushing yards per game, but their passing attack has been so good that it hasn’t mattered. New England has the league’s best offense at 36.6 points per game, and they haven’t scored less than 28 points in any contest.
Football's Best Defense
It certainly won’t be easy for the Jets to slow down the Patriots’ offense, but New York has one of the few defenses that can do it. As good as New England has been on offense, that’s how good New York has been defensively.
The Jets rank second in total defense (269.2ypg) and first in scoring defense (15.0ppg). New York hasn’t allowed more than 24 points in one game, and that performance was largely a result of poor special teams and offensive play, as they gave up a punt return for a touchdown and only allowed 231 yards of total offense.
New York’s top offseason acquisition has been worth every penny, thus far. Darrelle Revis has intercepted three passes and recovered three fumbles, coming back to New York after winning a Super Bowl with the Patriots in February. Muhammad Wilkerson leads the team with four sacks, and David Harris has 38 tackles.
Playing The Pats Tough
New England has dominated the AFC East in the Brady-Belichick era, winning the division in every season since 2003 except for one. But the Jets usually give the Patriots a fight, and Sunday should be no different.
Even as the Jets went 4-12 last season, they nearly beat the Patriots twice, losing by just three total points to their bitter rivals. New York missed the playoffs in 2013, but they still managed to split the season series with New England, only losing to them by three points. The Jets are 10-1 against the spread in their last 11 games against the Patriots in October, via OddsShark.com.
While the Jets often make the Patriots sweat, it’s usually New England that comes away with the victory. New England has won seven of their last eight matchups with New York, and the Patriots are virtually unbeatable at home. After going 8-0 at Gillette Stadium in 2013, their only loss at home in 2014 came in Week 17 when the Patriots had already clinched home-field advantage and they benched Brady in the second half.
With the Patriots pitting the league’s top offense against the NFL’s No.1 defense, Sunday’s game could be close from start to finish. But New England’s offense is too good to be stopped for an entire game, and Ryan Fitzpatrick will have trouble keeping up with Brady and Co.
New England over New York, 24-20