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5 things you have to know about Jets

10.14.14 at 10:21 am ET
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Geno Smith and the Jets passing game have struggled this season. (Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)

Geno Smith and the Jets passing game have struggled this season. (Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)

Here are five things you have to know about the Jets, who will travel to Gillette for a Thursday night contest this week against the Patriots.

1. They have the least effective passing game in the league

Regardless of who is under center, the Jets have had almost no success when it comes to throwing the ball this season. New York is averaging 182.2 passing yards per game, the worst total in the league. Geno Smith and Michael Vick average a 55.5 completion rate, 31st in the league. The Jets’ passer rating is 67.4, also 31st. New York also averages the fewest yards per attempt (5.6) and the seven picks are tied for third-worst in the NFL. (They’re only one of three teams in the league to have more interceptions than touchdown passes.) When the Jets do throw the ball, the leading targets are new receiver Eric Decker (20 catches, 258 yards, 3 TDs), returnee Jeremy Kerley (20 catches, 172 yards, 1 TD) and rookie tight end Jace Amaro (24 catches, 212 yards, 1 TD). But it’s been a serious struggle to get it to them.

2. Their run game is middle-of-the-pack

As bad as the passing game is, the running game isn’t awful. Sure, free agent pickup Chris Johnson has been a disappointment (51 carries, 200 yards, 1 TD), but Chris Ivory has been a nice surprise (67 carries, 325 yards, 2 TDs, to go along with 8 catches for 85 yards). They won’t remind anyone of the ground-and-pound era New York teams, but an average of 121.2 rushing yards per game and 4.5 yards per carry has to be respected if you’re New England. The problem for the Jets is that the passing game is so weak, teams have been stacking the box with the primary focus on stopping the run. Figure on New England loading up along the defensive line with an eye toward making the Jets win by throwing the ball.

3. They have a very good front seven

The strength of the Jets lies with the defensive front. Their 3-4 scheme will be a challenge for New England’s offensive line, as defensive ends Muhammad Wilkerson and Sheldon Richardson and nose tackle Damon Harrison are a formidable grouping for any team, much less one that has suffered from offensive line issues over the first six games like the Patriots. The Jets are one of the better teams in the league when it comes to run defense, with an average of 92.2 yards per game allowed on the ground (ninth-best in the NFL) and 3.5 yards per carry (sixth-best in the league). They also do a good job getting after the quarterback, as their 19 sacks are tied for second-best in the league, and their 235 passing yards allowed is a middle-of-the-pack 15th overall. Wilkerson (four sacks), veteran linebacker Calvin Pace (3.5 sacks) and Richardson (three sacks) do most of the damage when it comes to the pass rush. Look for New England to load up with two tight end sets and a heavy dose of fullback James Develin when they try and run on Thursday night.

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Following the flags: Tracking Patriots penalties for 2014 season

10.14.14 at 8:00 am ET
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Through six games, the Patriots have been flagged for 54 penalties (second in the league) for a total of 526 yards (most in the NFL). To this point in the season, here’€™s a breakdown of the calls that have gone against the Patriots this year, not including penalties that were declined or offset:
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Geno Smith: Jace Amaro reminds me of Rob Gronkowski

10.14.14 at 7:00 am ET
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Jace Amaro is a rookie tight end with the Jets. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Jace Amaro is a rookie tight end with the Jets. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

FOXBORO — Jets quarterback Geno Smith gave rookie tight end Jace Amaro a big compliment Monday, saying that the Texas Tech product compares to Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski.

“I think he has big time potential,” Smith said of Amaro, who some believed would have been a good fit in New England. “We don’€™t like to talk about the guys on the other side, but when I think about Jace I think about [Rob Gronkowski] — two really big, bouldering guys who have physical statures, but are as nimble as some of the smaller guys who can run great routes and have great hands and can run after the catch.

“I think Jace can be a really good tight end if he continues to work at the pace that he’€™s been working. We expect big things from him in the future.”

Amaro, who has 24 catches for 212 yards and a touchdown, has become a sizable part of the New York passing game as a rookie. Meanwhile, ex-Patriots tight end Zach Sudfeld has also found a home as a tight end with the Jets. The 6-foot-7, 250-pound Sudfeld, a training camp star last summer with New England before being released, has apparently become good pals with Smith.

“Zach has been one of my best buddies on my team — I really like the way that he works,” Smith said of Sudfeld, who has one catch for 15 yards this season. “He has a great work ethic. He’€™s been in there every single day. He even comes into all-quarterback meetings we have with the offensive linemen and watches tape with us. He’€™s just continuing to gain experience and continuing to learn this offense.

“He’€™s a guy that we’€™ve used in multiple packages. He’€™s a big target, a guy who can stretch the field, and he’€™s got great hands. So, he’€™s a guy that we definitely should get the ball to a little bit more. But you always got to take what the defense gives you. He’€™s been great with that, not forcing the issue, but he’€™s always preparing and he’€™s always coming in to work, working to the best of his ability.”

Read More: Geno Smith, Jace Amaro, Zach Sudfeld,

Short week won’t get in the way of Patriots-Jets rivalry: ‘Everything goes out the window when you play these guys’

10.13.14 at 9:13 pm ET
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FOXBORO — With just three days in between games when playing on Thursday Night Football, it might be tough to get up for your next opponent.

Not this week for the Patriots and Jets, as the AFC East division rivals will meet for the first time this season Thursday night at Gillette Stadium.

“I think records go out the window when you play these guys,”€ special teams captain Matthew Slater said. “Everything goes out the window when you play these guys and you don’€™t have a problem getting up for them because of the history that is there. We will be ready as well.”

Even though the Jets come into the game 1-5 — losers of five straight — they are coming off a game Sunday where they were competitive right until the end with the Broncos, ultimately falling, 31-17. It is also their first division game of the season.

Having limited time to prepare, it does help facing a team you’€™re familiar with.

“Obviously every year teams are different,” Slater said. “We have new players, they have new players so there is still a sense of urgency when I comes to getting to know them, but it does help that we know some of their tendencies and we know their coach. We know kind of what to expect.”

After getting back from Buffalo late Sunday night, the biggest thing for the players is to try and get their bodies back to full strength after the beating they took Sunday afternoon, while also trying to become familiar with the game plan as quickly as possible with only two days until the game.

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Read More: Matthew Slater, New York Jets, Rob Ninkovich,

Patriots supporting Jerod Mayo following season-ending injury: ‘Hopefully we can play well for him’

10.13.14 at 7:57 pm ET
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FOXBORO — Sunday’€™s win over the Bills came with a big price.

The Patriots lost running back Stevan Ridley for the season with a torn ACL and MCL and also their leader on defense — captain Jerod Mayo to a ‘€œsevere lower right leg’€ injury, also reportedly ending his season.

It’€™s the second straight season Mayo has been lost for the year in Week 6 after he tore his pectoral last season and it gets no easier for his teammates, both coping with the injury as well as replacing him in the middle of the field at his middle linebacker position.

“With that happening yesterday, it was a blow,”€ fellow captain Matthew Slater said. “You can’€™t try and pretend it’€™s one of those things you can pick up and move on from because you feel for a guy like Jerod. I came in with Jerod, we were rookies together and to see him go down I know took a toll on me, but we have to do the best we can to bounce back.

“A lot of guys have to step up because a guy like that is hard to replace — not only what he does on the field, but who he is in this locker room. His leadership, the man that he is. A lot of guys can emulate and imitate because of who he is. Hopefully we can play well for him the rest of the year, but like I said there is no replacing him with one guy, it’€™s going to take a lot of guys stepping up.”

With all the season-ending injuries the defense had to deal with last season — including Mayo’s — defensive end/linebacker Rob Ninkovich was forced into playing much more than he was accustomed to and played quite well. Once again, it will take efforts like that to replace Mayo.

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Read More: Jerod Mayo, Matthew Slater, Rob Ninkovich,

Pressure Points: Which Patriots have done best job getting after QB?

10.13.14 at 7:27 pm ET
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Every week over the course of the 2014 season, we’€™ll provide a look at the Patriots pass rush numbers. Like all stats, the numbers have to be placed on context of game-situations and personnel. And while sacks can be overrated, when evaluated as part of a bigger picture that includes quarterback hits and quarterback pressures (the latter courtesy of Pro Football Focus), it should provide a good picture as to which defenders are consistently able to get after the quarterback. Currently, the Patriots are tied for 7th in the league in sacks with 15. Based on the official NFL game books and PFF, here’€™s a look at the pass-rush numbers for the Patriots after six games for the 2014 regular season:

Sacks (via gamebooks)
DE Rob Ninkovich: 4 (29 yards)
DE Chandler Jones: 3.5 (13 yards)
LB Dont’€™a Hightower: 2 (22 yards)
DL Chris Jones: 1.5 (12 yards)
LB Deontae Skinner: 1 (10 yards)
LB Jerod Mayo: 1 (9 yards)
DL Joe Vellano: 1 (4 yards)
DB Kyle Arrington: 1 (0 yards)

Quarterback Hits (via gamebooks)
DE Rob Ninkovich: 7
DE Chandler Jones: 6
LB Dont’€™a Hightower: 4
LB Jerod Mayo: 2
LB Jamie Collins: 2
DL Chris Jones: 1
DL Joe Vellano: 1
LB Deontae Skinner: 1

Quarterback Hurries (via PFF)
DE Chandler Jones: 9
LB/DE Rob Ninkovich: 9
LB Jerod Mayo: 5
LB Dont’€™a Hightower: 5
DL Vince Wilfork: 5
DL Chris Jones: 4
DL Sealver Siliga: 2
DL Joe Vellano: 2
DL Casey Walker: 2
DL Dominique Easley: 1
LB Jamie Collins: 1
CB Alfonzo Dennard: 1

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Report: Jerod Mayo is out for the year with a ‘bad’ right leg injury

10.13.14 at 6:27 pm ET
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Jerod Mayo is carted off the field during Sunday's game in Buffalo. (Mike Petraglia/

Jerod Mayo is carted off the field during Sunday’s game in Buffalo. (Mike Petraglia/

The worst fears have been realized for Jerod Mayo and the Patriots.

The veteran middle linebacker and Patriots defensive captain suffered a season-ending right leg injury in Sunday’s 37-22 win over the Bills, multiple sources tell ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Those sources tell Schefter that the injury is “bad,” leading to the assumption that he will require major corrective surgery. This comes one year to the month when he tore his pectoral muscle and missed the second half of the 2013 season.

Earlier in the day, Bill Belichick indicated that “no one guy” will be able to replace Mayo or do for the Patriots what the seven-year veteran out of Tennessee does in the middle of the New England defense.

Read More: Bill Belichick, Jerod Mayo, New England Patriots,
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