Game Overview ::
By hilow >>
- Not a ton of moving pieces on the Patriots injury report, which is saying something considering Bill Belichick’s free utilization of the term “questionable.”
- Jets nose tackle Sheldon Rankins and wide receiver Corey Davis were the big names to miss practice on Wednesday, each of whom has been a key contributor to this team when healthy.
- Mac Jones and Zach Wilson are the bottom two quarterbacks in the league when under pressure this season, which spells trouble for each of these teams as the Patriots are now number one in pressure rate while the Jets sit fourth overall.
- The eventual game environment contains a tight range of outcomes with the game likeliest to be dictated by each respective defense.
- The Jets have shown the ability and propensity to pick up the pace and pass rates when required this season, but the team clearly does not want Zach Wilson chucking the ball around unless there are no other options.
How new york Will Try To Win ::
New York’s game plan this season has started with their defense and has attempted to hide a quarterback not yet fully ready for the NFL game. Zach Wilson’s pass attempts have swung wildly as the starter this season, ranging from 18 to 41 attempts. Wilson has thrown multiple picks (five total between two games) in each of the two games in which he attempted 36 passes or more this season and has been one of the worst quarterbacks in the league when under pressure over his short career, not a great trait to have against the defense generating the highest rate of pressure in the backfield this season. Knowing head coach Robert Saleh and offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur to be of the new-age, forward-leaning variety, we should expect the Jets to tailor their game plan to their opponent here. That is likeliest to lead to increased rush rates while within striking distance, more emphasis on 12-personnel, and routes designed to counterbalance the increased blitz rates exhibited by the Patriots thus far. I would expect increased utilization of screens, pre-snap motions, and quick hits as the team fights through those heavy blitz rates. While the Patriots now hold the league’s highest rate of pressure in the backfield, they’ve had to achieve it through an elevated rate of unique blitz packages, designed to trick and bait opposing quarterbacks into mistakes. This should all lead to a relatively conservative offensive approach throughout the first half, while the ultimate approach to end the game is highly likely to be driven by the game flow.
The Jets started incorporating recent signee James Robinson more their last time out, who managed 15 running back opportunities on a solid-for-a-RB2 40% snap rate. The Jets clearly don’t want Michael Carter playing anything more than a 1A role as they have held him to 61% or fewer of the offensive snaps in every game this season outside the game where Breece Hall got injured. A standard expectation for the split in usage for the two is likeliest to leave Carter in the 14-16 running back opportunity range and Robinson in the 12-14 running back opportunity range, with a likely increased emphasis on utilizing the two through the air. The pure rushing matchup yields a slightly above average 4.45 net-adjusted line yards metric against a Patriots defense holding opposing backfields to just 17.7 DK points per game this season (second fewest to only the 49ers).
The absence of Corey Davis and the presence of Elijah Moore on the coaching staff’s poo-poo caca list has left the primary pass-catchers as rookie wide receiver Garrett Wilson, perennially failed experiment Denzel Mims, and tight end Tyler Conklin, leaving Moore, slot-man turned gadget-man Braxton Berrios, Jeff Smith, and blocking tight end C.J. Uzomah to fight for the leftovers. Wilson has been a revelation for these Jets this season, ranking 19th in the league in targets per route run rate at a healthy 27.5%. Wilson also has been moved around the formation and is the player likeliest to see an increased rate of schemed touches against the blitz-heavy Patriots, which serves to elevate his expected volume here (somewhat required on a modest 8.5 aDOT and weak 64.2 average air yards per game). In all likelihood, the players who are likeliest to benefit the most from increased pass game involvement are the running backs, particularly when you consider the Jets already target the position at the seventh highest rate and now find themselves playing the defense generating the most pressure in the backfield this season. The problem (at least for fantasy purposes) is twofold – the backfield is expected to be a tight split amongst Michael Carter and James Robinson and any upside from the pass game is likeliest to come through the highly variant acts of busted plays and touchdowns.