"Monday Night Football" features the winless New York Jets hosting a struggling New England Patriots team. The Pats are 2-5, having lost four straight games, while the Jets have lost six games already by double-digits. Last year, New England dispatched their division rivals 30-14 at home and 33-0 on the road. The Jets have not won a game in this series since 2015 when they needed overtime to win 26-20.
The Patriots sorely miss Tom Brady, as Cam Newton's fumble cost them a chance to at least tie the Bills in Buffalo last week. The former Panther has just two touchdown passes (with six more on the ground) to seven interceptions and three fumbles (one lost). An injury to Julian Edelman exposed the true lack of depth at wide receiver, and the loss of Rob Gronkowski this offseason was not properly offset. The Pats have just 10 receptions from tight ends this season. Meanwhile, the defense was ravaged by opt outs before the year began and now are adding injuries on top of it.
Over the last two weeks, the Jets have flashed potential in the first halves of their losses to the Chiefs and Bills. Granted, they weren't going to beat Kansas City, but the offense moved the ball and nearly had four field goals if not for the last one being blocked entering halftime. The problems came in the second half, where they've been shut out for three straight weeks.
Somehow, the Jets were on MNF twice last year but lost both games to the Patriots and Browns. Their last victory on this prestigious night was in Week 1 of 2018 when they went into Detroit and crushed the Lions. Meanwhile, New England has won two straight and four of their last five MNF contests.
Monday Night Football: New England at New York
Kickoff: Monday, Nov. 9 at 8:15 p.m. ET
Spread: Patriots -7
Three Things to Watch
This is probably going to be relatively short and sweet. The Patriots have lost four in a row and can't afford to overlook any game. It's their second straight road game and fourth overall, with a home tilt against the Ravens up next. In a normal year when New England is steamrolling the rest of this division, I'd be worried about them looking ahead, but that's not the case here. As for the Jets, they have a bye week next, which is modestly concerning because some teams give major flat efforts before the week off. Will we actually know if that's the case, though, with this bad team?
2. Trevor Lawrence
Will the Clemson quarterback be watching this game on Monday and rooting for the team he most likely will be drafted by in the Jets? There are some in social media who have floated the possibility that Bill Belichick is somewhat "tanking" the season in order to get Lawrence in Foxboro. This theory was originally brought about when so many New England players opted out before the year began. Both of these teams could use an upgrade at quarterback, and Lawrence would quickly take care of that. I mentioned Newton's stats above, but Darnold has just three touchdowns to six interceptions. Good luck, Trevor.
3. Who will step up in the muddled New England backfield?
In the past, the Patriots were able to get away with not having a true No. 1 running back because Brady, Edelman, and Gronk were a tremendous trio. Now all three are gone, with Edelman out due to injury, and although no one player has stepped up, the unit as a whole has been productive. They're third in the NFL in attempts (31.6 per game) and yardage (159.7 per game). Sony Michel was able to return to practice after missing the last few weeks. He averaged just under seven yards per carry while he was in the lineup. Damien Harris was the "lead" back the last few weeks, his workload varied greatly as he averaged 5.7 ypc. You also have to add in Rex Burkhead and James White who are the pass catchers of the group. Oh yeah, Newton also has a team-high 59 rushes for 298 yards. Good luck trying to figure out the breakdown on Monday.
The Patriots are not playing good football right now, while the Jets haven't played good football for like 90 percent of the season. Someone has to win this game, and it'll probably be New England. I just don't have any faith in Adam Gase, who continues to run Frank Gore out there when there are younger options behind him who need a look. The Pats win and all is right in Foxboro for one week.
Prediction: Patriots 20, Jets 13
— Written by Matt Josephs, who is a part of the Athlon Sports Contributor Network. Follow him on Twitter @MidMajorMatt.