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Patriots expect Jets quarterback Zach Wilson ‘to be a different player’ this week

Related: Patriots need a ‘bully mentality’ to beat Jets a second time, says linebacker Jahlani Tavai

New England Patriots v New York Jets Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Zach Wilson had a forgettable game against the New England Patriots defense in Week 8. While the young quarterback, who was drafted second overall by the New York Jets a year ago, did throw for 355 yards and a pair of touchdowns, he also completed only 20 of his 41 pass attempts and had three interceptions.

His turnovers directly led to six New England points, with two of them being turned into successful Nick Folk field goal attempts. The Jets ended up losing the game with a final score of 22-17.

Heading into this week’s rematch, however, the Patriots know they cannot rely on Wilson to make those mistakes again.

“I don’t think he’s going to do that again,” said cornerback Jonathan Jones. “If you look at the Buffalo game, they kind of found the recipe of how they want to play and it’s completely opposite of how they played in our game. We definitely expect him to come out and be a different player.”

Wilson in general has had a rough time competing against the Patriots throughout his short career. In his first ever game against the Jets’ division rivals last season, he threw four interceptions. The next meeting a few weeks later ended with him leaving early due to a knee injury in the second quarter.

In total, Wilson has completed just 53.6 percent of his throws versus New England for 616 yards with two touchdowns and seven interceptions. He also has been sacked seven times.

That being said, the Patriots are well aware of his abilities — especially when it comes to his mobility.

“You definitely have to be ready for him to run,” said safeties coach Brian Belichick this week. “He’s an athletic guy. He probably more scrambles to throw than he scrambles to run but he just picked up a first down against Buffalo a couple of weeks ago. He can run for a first down if you give him enough room. Certainly something that’s a factor.”

Wilson extended several plays with his legs in Week 8, but two of those came back to bite him: both of his interceptions to safety Devin McCourty came on scramble drills; the quarterback threw ill-advised passes on both of those plays.

New England will be prepared for similar plays to happen on Sunday. As linebacker Ja’Whaun Bentley pointed out, though, the team needs to be ready to adjust if the Jets and their quarterback play a different game this time around.

“You train your eyes to see certain things so you kind of know at least what they’re trying to do or what you think they’re trying to do. At the end of the day, they can run something totally different. So, you have to be ready to adjust,” Bentley said.

“You can’t be fully bought in on what you saw, what you think you saw, what you think they’re trying to do. You have to be able to go out there and play a clean slate, and just be ready to handle whatever they bring to the table and just make sure we prepare and make it competitive for them as well; make sure we’re not showing them the same thing as well.”