EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (WPRI) — After a week off and the Thanksgiving holiday, the New England Patriots begin their final stretch of the 2018 season at MetLife Stadium to face the New York Jets on Sunday at 1 p.m.
Both the Patriots and the Jets are coming off of blowout losses, to the Tennessee Titans and to the Buffalo Bills, respectively, and are hungry to jump back in the win column.
Despite New England entering as the heavy favorite, the last five meetings between the teams in New Jersey have each been decided by just one possession.
With Jets quarterback Sam Darnold injured, Josh McCown is expected to play in his place against Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.
Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. and the game will be televised live on WPRI 12.
Eyewitness Sports reporter Morey Hershgordon is in New Jersey and will have live reports beginning on Eyewitness News at 6:30 p.m. on MyRI TV.
Here are some notes and quotes from Gillette Stadium this week that will set the table before kickoff:
If the Patriots win, it will ensure at least a .500 record for the season. That marks the 18th consecutive season the Patriots will finish .500 or better, the second longest streak in NFL history (Cowboys, 21 years; 1965-1985).
If Tom Brady throws three touchdown passes he will tie Payton Manning for most touchdown passes (regular and postseason) in NFL history (579).
If Tom Brady throws from 147 yards he will become the NFL’s all-time leader in passing yards (regular season and postseason).
Devin McCourty on if this game is chance to prove to the public that the Patriots can play well on the road: “Yeah, I think so. I think, for us, we have a good amount of road games left, so I think it’s a challenge and an opportunity to come out and change that. That’s going to be key as we go down the stretch and we talk about after Thanksgiving playing your best football with a good amount of those – I forgot the exact number – being on the road. We have to do that or it won’t matter after Thanksgiving if we don’t play well on the road. I think that’s something we’re all conscious about. We’ve got to go play well on the road to go play good football down this last stretch of the season. It comes down to getting off to a good start and playing sound football for 60 minutes. Obviously, we’ve talked about that every week and it hasn’t gotten done consistently, and I think that’s something we’ve focused on and that we need to really be concentrated on going forward.”
James White on the challenge of divisional road games: “It’s just a tough divisional road game regardless of whether it’s the Jets, Buffalo or Miami. Home or away, it’s always tough. It’s never decided in the first quarter. We’ve got to go out there and battle for 60 minutes. Like I said, both teams know each other, very familiar with all the players so we’ve just got to go out and beat them. Like I said, outwork your opponent.”
Bill Belichick on facing the upset-minded Jets: “It’s always tough down there with the Jets, and I’m sure it will be again this time. The last five times we’ve gone down there, they’ll all been hard-fought games, close games. The Jets do a good job – really good in all three phases of the game. It’s a team that’s really, I’d say, improved in all areas, certainly in the kicking game – the return game with [Andre] Roberts and they have [Jason] Myers. He’s had a really good year for them. Offensively, this is an explosive group – a lot of big plays in the running game, big plays with receivers, guys that are really good with the ball in their hands, hard to tackle. And, defensively, they’re always tough. Once again, [they] lead the league in third down, third-and-short, top of the league in red area, three-and-out drives – a lot of stats that they are hard to move the ball against and do a good job in the red area, so they don’t give up a lot of points. And strong front, pursues well, do a good job taking the ball away, especially if you’re not careful with it. So, we need to do a good job in every area and be ready to play good down there on the road. So, hopefully we can have a good week and be ready to do that.”