The New England Patriots blew out the New York Jets 41-3 in their most recent game, week 16 of 2016. The Patriots forced four turnovers and held the Jets to 239 total yards en route to building up a 41-0 lead, before coasting in the fourth quarter.
Patriots head coach Bill Belichick is not expecting a repeat performance on Sunday.
“With the exception of the second game last year, which I think is one that we’re certainly throwing out, it’s always been very competitive against the Jets,” Belichick said. “We’ve had a hard time down there, played a couple of overtime games, got beat two years ago. We know what it’s like to play the Jets in New York and we’ll have to be at our best, be ready for their good players and their schemes. They’re a tough team to prepare for. We’ve got a lot of work to do, so we’ll kind of grind it out here this week and see where we can get to.”
Before that week 16 game, the Patriots and Jets played seven straight games decided by 7 or fewer points, with two going to overtime and four decided by a field goal or less.
It didn’t matter that the Patriots went 50-14 with two Super Bowl titles over those four seasons, or that the Jets went 27-37 and finished 4th in the AFC East twice during that same time. Those games were going to be close. How come the Jets always find a way to close the talent gap?
“I mean, you just see everybody playing very hard,” Belichick said about the Jets. “You see all of the guys with the ball in their hands fighting and competing for an extra yard or two. You see guys in the kicking game and defensively hustling to the ball, giving a lot of effort to get to the runner. Even though they’re 30 or 40 yards away from the play they are running hard to get there, so I think they’re playing with, a lot of effort, a lot of extra effort. Linemen – guys hustling down field, making a block after a catch, things like that. They’re playing with a high energy level and a lot of extra effort.”
So while the Patriots are double-digit favorites over the Jets, this game is probably going to be closer than expected.