EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

November 21, 2012

Sizing 'em up: Patriots vs. Jets

By Hector Longo
hlongo@eagletribune.com

---- — PATRIOTS (7-3) vs. JETS (4-6)

Thursday, 8:25 p.m., at MetLife Stadium East Rutherford, N.J.

TV: Ch. 7 (Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth, Michelle Tafoya

Radio: 98.5 FM The Sports Hub (Gil Santos and Scott Zolak)

The series: Patriots lead 54-52-1; Each team has swept the season series 14 times, with the Pats going for No. 15. Previous meeting: Patriots 29, Jets 26 in overtime; October 21, 2012, at Gillette Stadium, Foxboro

Las Vegas line: Patriots -6.5; Over-under total: 48

2012 STATISTICAL BREAKDOWN

Patriots Jets

7-3 Record 4-6

1st, AFC East Standings Tie 2nd, AFC East

431.9 (1) Offense 301.3 (30)

142.9 (5) Rushing 108.6 (15)

289.0 (4) Passing 192.7 (29)

338.7 (28) Defense 342.0 (14)

99.0 (10) Rushing 141.9 (30)

289.7 (30) Passing 200.1 (4)

+20 Turnover margin +1

BY THE NUMBERS

Patriots

18 – Straight wins in the second-half of the season by the Patriots, who last dropped a second-half of the year game in the 2009 season finale vs. Houston, on Jan. 3, 2010.

51 – Over that 18-game win streak, the Patriots have forced an amazing 51 turnovers. Even more impressive is the fact that in those 18 wins, New England has only turned it over four times.

42,955 – Tom Brady’s career passing yardage. With 85 more passing yards in this one, he’ll blow past for San Diego great Dan Fouts.

Jets

9 – Mark Sanchez fumbles this fall, four of which were lost. The New England Patriots have 8 fumbles as a team this fall, four which they have lost. In all the Jets have fumbled the football 24 times.

.857 – Tim Tebow’s completion percentage this season. He is 6 for 7 for 39 yards with a 5.57 yards per attempt ratio.

637 – Plays run by the Jets’ offense this year, compared to the Patriots, who have run 741 plays on offense this year.

Keys to a Patriots victory

1. Be on the Mark – Keep the ball in Mark Sanchez’ hands and sooner or later, he will deliver defeat to the Jets. Don’t let Shonn Greene or Joe McKnight beat you. Be sure to stifle the run and make Sanchez beat you.

2. Instead of Gronk – Time to run the football with Stevan Ridley. Hopefully, a Logan Mankins or Shane Vereen can move the football down the field, hopefully keeping the Jets out of blitz packages that might be exotic of confusing.

3. Another Brady gem – Look, I’ve said it before, Tom Brady is the offensive MVP of this conference in 2012. He has his offense running at such high efficiency, keep it up. And don’t let the Mrs. Have the baby this week.

Hector Longo’s prediction: Jets 31, Patriots 30 (7-3 straight up; 3-7 vs. the spread)

Analysis: Red-zone woes and the turnover battle will cost the Pats in the short week, not to mention the injury bug. The Jets are playing for their season. One more loss and it’s over. Too much to overcome on the road, Pats put up a great battle and fall.