With a three-way tie atop the AFC East entering Sunday, the night game between the Jets and the Patriots is sure to have critical playoff implications. The Jets have won three straight to draw themselves even with New the Patriots, who have lost two straight and limp into the Meadowlands. New England won the first meeting between these two teams with a 30-21 decision in Foxborough on Oct. 9. If the Jets win, they'll be a game up and in good shape as far as tiebreakers go. If they lose, they'll be a game back and will not have the head-to-head tiebreaker. Buffalo, the other team tied for first place, plays at Dallas on Sunday afternoon.
The Patriots' biggest weakness is their pass defense, which doesn't play into the Jets' recent strategy of running the ball more. But Mark Sanchez and his weapons will be able to test a depleted Patriots secondary, which struggled at the end of last week's loss to the Giants even without facing Hakeem Nicks.
The Patriots' offense usually relies on its pass attack, but Bill Belichick turned to the ground game in the Oct. 9 win. A Darrelle Revis-led secondary can neutralize any passing attack, but the Jets will have to wonder if the Patriots will try to catch them napping on the ground. If Mark Sanchez makes his throws and the defense plays as it has of late, the Jets will be in a prime position to take command of the AFC East.