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Nuggetpalooza’s Pats-Jets preview!

01.14.11 at 9:14 am ET
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Patriots-Jets III is almost here. No more ridiculous trash talk. Tee it up and play football. This game has been analyzed every which way all week, so it was a challenge to find nuggets that are (hopefully) interesting AND new. But here you go:

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* – Over the last eight regular seasons, the Patriots have made 54-of-55 fourth quarter field goal attempts (98 percent). That includes 31-of-31 from 30 yards or more. Their only miss came in Week 2 of the 2006 season at the Jets in a 24-17 win.

You might want to read that one again. I had to.

Note this: During that same span, Patriots’ opponents are just 35-of-46 in the fourth quarter (76 percent), the second LOWEST percentage allowed in that span.

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* – Only three road teams since 1978 have won playoff games after being shut out at halftime: The 2009 Jets, the 2010 Jets, and the 1993 Chiefs. Last year, the Jets beat the Chargers in San Diego, 17-14, after trailing 7-0 at half. Last week in Indianapolis, the Jets again trailed 7-0 at half before rallying to beat the Colts, 17-16.

Last Saturday was just the fourth time since 1971 (including postseason) that the Jets have won a road game after being shut out through two quarters. They are now 4-37 in those games.

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* – New England allowed zero points in the last two minutes of the second half this season. Also, they allowed only one touchdown in the final two minutes of EITHER half, fewest in the league:

1 – Patriots
3 – Dolphins
3 – Redskins

What makes that even more impressive is that the Patriots’ opponent was almost always trying to catch up at the end of the second half. Miami and Washington, not so much.

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* – The Jets scored only one first quarter touchdown over their last 13 games this season (including last Saturday’s game). During those 13 games, they shut their opponent out in the opening period seven times and won all seven. In the other six, they allowed 57 first quarter points and went just 2-4, with both wins coming in overtime.

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* – Patriots’ running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis carried the ball 229 times this season without committing a fumble, the second most carries without a miscue in the NFL this season (Ray Rice, 307). It was easily the most carries in a fumble-free season ever by a Patriot:

229 – BenJarvus Green-Ellis, 2010
185 – Lawrence Maroney, 2007
85 – Sammy Morris, 2007

In his career, Green-Ellis now has 329 carries without a fumble, the second most carries in a fumble-free career since 1950:

364 – Scottie Graham (1992-1997)
329 – BenJarvus Green-Ellis (2008-2010)
227 – Chris Fuamatu-Ma’afala (1998-2004)

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* – Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis was “targeted” 56 times this season and allowed the catch to be made just 19 times, a 33.9 percent catch allowed rate, the lowest in the NFL (min. 50 targets):

33.9% – Revis, NYJ
39.4% – Routt, OAK
39.8% – Carr, KC

Just for reference’ sake, here are the catch allowed rates for other Jets’ defensive backs: Cromartie (43.9%), Wilson (51.2%), Coleman (56.3%), Lowery (57.5%).

And here are the Patriots: McCourty (55.1%), Meriweather (56.5%), Butler (57.1%), Chung (60.3%), Arrington (62.7%).

Note this as well: Among defensive backs targeted 40 or more times this season, Meriweather’s 18.9 yards per catch allowed ranked third highest in the NFL:

22.4 – Collins, GB
19.4 – Godfrey, CAR
18.9 – Meriweather, NE
18.8 – Peprah, GB

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* – New England’s defense registered a quarterback knockdown or “hurry” on just 17.5 percent of opponent pass plays this season, the second lowest percentage in the NFL and the third lowest since 2004:

17.4% – 2010 Buccaneers
17.5% – 2008 Chiefs
17.5% – 2010 Patriots

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* – Patriots’ passers (mostly Brady) intentionally “threw away” only 11 passes this season (2.2 percent), the third lowest percentage in the league:

0.6% – Colts
1.3% – Ravens
2.2% – Patriots
2.3% – Cowboys

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* – The Jets’ were penalized 201 yards for pass interference this season, third most in the league. New England racked up 182 yards in pass interference penalties, which ranked fifth most.

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* – The Patriots allowed their opponents to begin a drive on their side of the 50-yard-line just seven times this season, the fewest since they began tracking the stat in 1995. It’s worth noting, however, that they allowed an average of 4.43 points on those possessions (four touchdowns and one field goal), the second HIGHEST average in the league in 2010. Compare the Patriots’ season to the Jets, who allowed 22 such possessions.

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* – New England tried 31 rushing plays when they were pinned inside their own 20-yard-line and averaged just 2.52 yards per carry, second lowest in the league:

2.51 – Broncos
2.52 – Patriots
2.63 – Seahawks

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* – The Jets’ two minute offense served them well at the end of Saturday’s win over the Colts. During the regular season, they scored 27 points in 19 possessions that began inside of the final two minutes of a half, an average if 1.42 points per possession, sixth best.

Note this: New England’s defense allowed just six such points on 17 opponent possessions (0.35 average points), ranked third best.

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* – The Jets forced opponents to start 27.9 percent of their drives inside their own 20-yard-line, fourth highest in the league. And their defense made the most of them, allowing an average of 0.66 points on those drives (ranked third) and allowing a score of any kind a league low 12.5 percent of the time:

12.5% – Jets (7-of-56)
12.8% – Vikings (6-of-47)
12.8% – Eagles (6-of-47)
13.5% – 49ers (7-of-52)

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* – Only the Vikings (2) had fewer field goals from 38 yards or more than the Patriots (3).

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* – New England has averaged 23.8 first half points over their last five games, the sixth highest such average over five games in the NFL since 1997:

26.4 – Patriots, 2007 Weeks 8-12
26.0 – Patriots, 2009 Weeks 6-11
25.2 – Rams, 1999 Weeks 3-7
24.2 – Broncos, 1998 Weeks 1-5
24.0 – Colts, 2004 Weeks 10-14
23.8 – Patriots, 2010 Weeks 13-17

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* – Late in close games this season (fourth quarter and the score within seven points either way), the Patriots rushed for 5.11 yards per carry, the third best such average in the league. Their average on all other carries was 4.35, ranked 10th.

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* – The Jets were the league’s third best red zone rushing team, averaging 3.15 yards per carry inside their opponents’ 20-yard-line. The Patriots ranked fourth at 3.09.

New England’s 244 red zone rushing yards led the league, just ahead of Baltimore’s 243. It marked the fifth straight season that the Pats rushed for 200 or more yards in the red zone. The Chargers are the only other NFL team with even four such seasons in that span. Seven different teams have ZERO such seasons in the last five years.

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Got anything to say? I’d love to hear it! Leave a comment here, send me an email (gmarbry@weei.com), or call me out on

twitter (@nuggetpalooza).

Be sure to check back tomorrow for my preview of the other three playoff games this weekend. Enjoy your football weekend.

Only seven NFL games left!

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