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Week 12 Patriots vs Jets advanced stats: New England’s defense should bounce back against a bad New York offense

A look at the stats ahead of Sunday’s meeting between the Patriots and Jets.

New England Patriots v New York Jets Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images

On Sunday, the New England Patriots will return off their bye week to play their third division game of the season. The team will travel to New York to take on a 3-7 Jets team that has not just struggled to win this year: Todd Bowles’ squad — currently on a four-game losing streak — has shown plenty of inconsistency on offense and was unable to make enough plays to bail the unit out on defense.

Let’s analyze the matchup by taking a look at some of the advanced stats heading into the game (courtesy of SB Nation’s Bill Connelly; for his methodology please click here).

Patriots offense vs Jets defense

Normal down and distance in the open field

Patriots offense (l.) vs Jets defense (r.)

The Patriots offense took a slight step back in open field statistics due to its performance in week 10 against the Tennessee Titans. However, the matchup against the Jets defense in this part of the field still favors the reigning AFC East champions in all but two categories — and one of them could very well play a big part in influencing the outcome of the game: New England needs to find ways to convert third downs.

Backed Up Situations Near the Goal Line

Patriots offense (l.) vs Jets defense (r.)

New England’s offensive success rate — gaining 50% of necessary yardage on first down, 70% on second down, and 100% on third and fourth down — when backed up is average, while the turnover percentage is still hurting from a tipped interception in week one. The Jets defense is not overwhelming in either category.

Red Zone

Patriots offense (l.) vs Jets defense (r.)

The Patriots’ red zone offense is among the league’s best when it comes to moving the football between the 11 and 30-yard lines. However, the unit is inconsistent the closer it gets to the goal line and ranks just 20th league-wide inside the 10. Getting Rob Gronkowski going in this part of the field has to be imperative for New England, especially considering that the Jets defense is one of the NFL’s better groups inside the 10-yard line.

Third Downs

Patriots offense (l.) vs Jets defense (r.)

Except for third-and-medium, the Patriots offense is solid but not spectacular when it comes to converting third downs. Overall, the unit ranks 14th in the league with a success percentage of 39.7%. The Jets defense, meanwhile, is one of the league’s better units no matter the distance it has to defend. All in all, the group allows just 28.8% of third downs to be converted.

Blitz Situations

Patriots offense (l.) vs Jets defense (r.)

On blitz downs, the Jets defense is slightly more productive than the Patriots offense — especially when it comes to overall success rate in obvious passing situations specified as first-and-18 or more, second-and-14 or more, and third-and-3 or more. Both teams’ units rank above average when it comes to sack rate in long-distance situations.

Patriots defense vs Jets offense

Normal down and distance in the open field

Patriots defense (l.) vs Jets offense (r.)

While New England’s defensive success rate in the open field improved during its game against the Titans, the team’s other rankings got worse. Despite that, however, the Patriots still rank better than New York’s offense in all but one category: big plays. Still, even when it comes to generating chunk-yardage plays the Jets are below average.

Backed Up Situations Near the Goal Line

Patriots defense (l.) vs Jets offense (r.)

The backed up statistics of New England’s defense compared to New York’s offense are similar to the ones involving the Patriots offense and Jets defense: neither group does particularly stand out in either area.

Red Zone

Patriots defense (l.) vs Jets offense (r.)

The 34-10 loss in Tennessee hurt New England’s defensive red zone statistics. However, the unit still has an edge over the Jets’ offense inside the 30-yard line even though New York tops the league when it comes to turnover rate inside the 10 and success rate near the goal line (defined as the area inside the 3-yard line). All in all, though, the Patriots’ red zone defense should be able to bounce back on Sunday.

Third Downs

Patriots defense (l.) vs Jets offense (r.)

The bad news: with the exception of third-and-longs, the Patriots defense is among the worst in the league when it comes to stopping third downs. The good news: the Jets offense might be even worse. If there ever comes a game to improve the statistics and gain some momentum heading into the regular season’s home stretch, Sunday’s is it.

Blitz Situations

Patriots defense (l.) vs Jets offense (r.)

Just like on third down, the battle between New England’s defense and New York’s offense in blitz situations can be described as “weakness against weakness”. Neither team is particularly good in unfavorable situations for the offense which should make for an interesting battle — maybe not a particularly well-executed one, though.


All in all, the Patriots have the upper hand against the Jets from a statistical perspective. That being said, divisional games — especially on the road — always tend to follow their own rules and the seemingly lopsided matchup could quickly turn into a hard-fought battle, especially if New England fails to convert on third down and allows the Jets offense to gain some momentum in the open field.