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National Football League
Preview
New England at N.Y. Jets
When: 1:00 PM ET, Sunday, December 21, 2014
Where: MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, New Jersey

One of the biggest challenges the New England Patriots received in the last 10 games came at home in a 27-25 victory over the New York Jets in Week 7. With the top seed in the AFC still on the line, the Patriots will try to put together a stronger showing when they visit the Jets on Sunday. New York is playing for nothing more than draft position at this point but would love a chance to knock rival New England out of the No. 1 seed.

“We've always had some pretty interesting games against them,” Patriots quarterback Tom Brady said of the Jets. “A lot of them have come down to the wire, especially recently. They've got a real good defense.” That defense was on display last week when New York snapped a three-game slide with a 16-11 victory at Tennessee in which it did not allow a touchdown. The Jets defense will be going up against a Patriots offense that is averaging 36.4 points in the seven games since last facing New York.

TV: 1 p.m. ET, CBS. LINE: Patriots -10.5. O/U: 47.

ABOUT THE PATRIOTS (11-3): New England topped out at 23 points in back-to-back road games before returning home last week and putting up 24 points in the third quarter alone in a 41-13 win over the Miami Dolphins that clinched the AFC East. Several of those big plays in the third quarter came from tight end Rob Gronkowski, who went over 1,000 yards on the season for the second time in his career last week. “His football IQ and understanding of what it takes to be a professional and consistently and dependably be that type of player for our offense that he's become, has been fun to see,” Brady told reporters. “He's got the size advantage, the speed advantage, and he's really becoming so aware out there of different coverages and things they're trying to do to stop him.”

ABOUT THE JETS (3-11): Another season without a playoff spot has head coach Rex Ryan on the hot seat, though Ryan insists the team is not fractured. "Anything that's swirling around inside our team, I'm proud of this team,” Ryan told reporters. “We've got nothing (in terms of issues). Some guys' reports are probably as far off as any I've ever seen. This team is tight. Our record is the only thing that stinks. We have a great group of guys that care, that prepare, practice hard. It's obviously unfortunate that our record is what it is.” The Jets did managed to knock off the Patriots at home last season, 30-27 in overtime.

EXTRA POINTS


1. The Patriots placed rookie DT Dominique Easley on IR with a knee injury.

2. New York DE Muhammad Wilkerson (turf toe) has missed the last three games and is questionable for Sunday.

3. New England can clinch the top seed in the AFC with a win and a loss by the Denver Broncos.

PREDICTION: Patriots 28, Jets 17
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W/L Strk PF PA Home Away Grass Turf OT Div Conf
New England 11-3 W2 31.6 20.0 7-0 4-3 1-3 10-0 0-0 3-1 8-2
N.Y. Jets 3-11 W1 16.4 25.7 2-5 1-5 1-3 2-8 0-1 0-4 3-7
Last Meeting
New England N.Y. Jets
Date Away Home Tot Rus Pas Tot Rus Pas
10/16/14 NYJ 25 NE 27 323 63 260 423 218 205
Player Stats
Previous Matchup
Passing Player COMP % YDS TD INT
New England T. Brady 54.1 261 3 0
N.Y. Jets G. Smith 58.8 226 1 0
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
New England S. Vereen 11 43 3.9 0
N.Y. Jets C. Ivory 21 107 5.1 1
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
New England S. Vereen 5 71 14.2 2
N.Y. Jets E. Decker 4 65 16.2 0
Touchdowns Player TD
New England S. Vereen 2
N.Y. Jets J. Cumberland 1
Season
Passing Player COMP % YDS TD INT
New England T. Brady 64.4 3847 32 8
N.Y. Jets G. Smith 57.8 1957 9 12
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
New England J. Gray 83 407 4.9 4
N.Y. Jets C. Ivory 174 738 4.2 6
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
New England R. Gronkowski 76 1093 14.4 11
N.Y. Jets E. Decker 62 720 11.6 4
Touchdowns Player TD
New England R. Gronkowski 11
N.Y. Jets C. Ivory 6