Skip to main content

New England vs. New York Jets Prediction: Change in the Air for this AFC East Rivalry?

Jets look to maintain momentum by ending 12-game losing skid to Patriots.

Over the last seven seasons, the New England Patriots' rivalry against the New York Jets has been one-sided.

But this year's contest could be a bit different.

New York (5-2) comes into Sunday's matchup against New England on a four-game winning streak. That includes a 16-9 victory on the road against the Denver Broncos last weekend.

New England (3-4) will come to MetLife Stadium on a short week, losers its last time out as it lost at home to the Chicago Bears 33-14.

Related: Expert Picks for Every Week 8 NFL Game

The Patriots lead the all-time series against the Jets 69-53-1. New England has won the last 12 meetings between the two teams dating back to 2015.

New England (3-4) at New York (5-2)

Kickoff: Sunday, Oct. 30 at 1 p.m. ET
TV: CBS
Live Stream: fuboTV (Start your free trial)
Spread: Patriots -2.5
Tickets: As low as $85 on SITickets.com

Three Things to Watch

1. Patriot Games at quarterback
After being evasive about his starting quarterback for Sunday's game, head coach Bill Belichick finally announced Mac Jones would be under center against the Jets.

Last week, Jones returned from an ankle injury that kept him out for three weeks. But he was benched before halftime in favor of Bailey Zappe, who started for Jones while he was recovering from his injury.

While Zappe led the Patriots to two consecutive touchdowns, the team was shut out in the second half.

"He's ready to play," Belichick said about Jones. "He was ready to play last week, just didn't feel it was the full game.

"This week, it's a different situation. That's it. We'll take it from there."

Jones has struggled in four games this season, totaling just 799 yards, two touchdowns, and six interceptions. The Patriots have relied a lot on their rushing attack, no matter who's been the starting quarterback, as they rank 12th in the league in yards per game on the ground (122.6) led by Rhamondre Stevenson and Damien Harris.

2. Jets' defense
With Jones' struggles this season, the Jets' defense is going to have plenty of opportunities for turnovers on Sunday. But it's going to be up to the defensive line to get pressure on Jones and stop the Patriots' rushing attack.

Quinnen Williams has been one of the best defensive tackles in football during the first seven weeks. He has 26 tackles, five sacks, and four tackles for a loss.

Williams, Carl Lawson, John Franklin-Myers, and Jermaine Johnson II, who's returning from an ankle injury, could play pivotal roles defensively. If the Jets are to generate consistent pressure throughout the game, cornerbacks Sauce Gardner and D.J. Reed will be waiting for their chance to get an interception or two.

3. Addition of James Robinson
After the crushing, season-ending injury to Breece Hall, the Jets added a running back before this weekend's game.

The Jaguars traded Robinson to the Jets for a conditional sixth-round pick. Hall tore his ACL in the victory against the Broncos, so New York needed another back pair with Michael Carter.

Robinson began the season as Jacksonville's starting running back. But the recent emergence of Travis Etienne Jr. allowed the Jaguars to move on from Robinson.

Robinson has 340 rushing yards and three touchdowns in seven games, although he played sparingly last week (no carries, one target) due to what the team called knee soreness. Assuming Robinson is healthy (the Jags could have been engaging in some gamesmanship knowing that they were intending to trade him), adding a player of his caliber allows the Jets to continue to be a run-heavy offense while second-year quarterback Zach Wilson finds his rhythm as a passer.

It will be interesting to see how much Robinson plays on Sunday.

Final Analysis

The Jets aren't giving the Patriots any motivation this week, but they're highly driven to end their 12-game losing streak to New England. The players who were on the team last year remember when the Patriots ran up the score in a Week 7 54-13 rout at Gillette Stadium.

It appears the Jets have the better team a year later. New York has been winning games by running the football, with its defense, and strong special teams play. That will be the same formula head coach Robert Saleh will try to use on Sunday.

Expect the Jets to come after Jones to try and force him into a mistake or two. The offense will then take advantage of the short fields and finally put an end to their losing skid against the Patriots.

Prediction: Jets 27, Patriots 17

— Written by Antwan Staley, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and has extensive experience covering Florida sports teams. Staley has written for Bleacher Report, Pro Player Insiders, and is a reporter for Sports Talk Florida. Follow him on Twitter @antwanstaley.

*Price as of publication.