New England Patriots vs New York Jets is the big Thursday Night Football game on the NFL's Thanksgiving Day calendar, in a game that will see the Patriots attempt to take one step closer to a 10th AFC East title in just 12 years. The game is scheduled to start at 8.20 p.m. ET and can be watched online through free live stream (details below).
This All-AFC East clash will see first place play second place in a division where the Patriots are way out in the lead. The Patriots come into this game with a record of 7-3, with the New York Jets trailing in second with a 4-6 record. Buffalo and Miami take the third and fourth spots also on 4-6.
In the previous meeting between these two teams earlier in the season the Patriots claimed the win by a field goal, and many were impressed at that time how close the Jets ran New England.
However, since then the Patriots have found their groove, and last week they made a big statement with their huge win over the Indianapolis Colts, racking up 59 points. However, the Jets will have noticed that the Patriots lost star tight end Rob Gronkowski in that game and he will miss today's clash through injury. That means Tom Brady will potentially be moved out of his comfort zone and will have to find a new favorite target man in the red zone.
Gronkowski will be out for the next four to six weeks, and Brady told WEEI-FM on Monday morning, "I knew he got injured, but I obviously didn't know the extent. He's such a great player. It sucks that he gets hurt, but it's part of the game, so he's got to do his best to get back as soon as possible. We've got to go out there and win some games without him."
The Jets meanwhile have renewed confidence coming out of a torrid patch where their on the field woes were amplified by the off the field media coverage of the team. Last week against the St Louis Rams, quarterback Mark Sanchez produced arguably his best performance of the season, and finally looked a man in charge of the offensive line.
Jets' fans will be hoping that Sanchez can build on that performance tonight, and New England will need him to be in his best form if they are to overcome Tom Brady and the Patriots.
Sanchez has completed 168 throws from 314 attempts this season, producing 11 touchdowns and 2038 yards. In comparison Tom Brady has completed 256 from 393 for 2976 yards and an impressive 21 touchdowns.
The Jets will have to get to grips with Brady if they are to stand any chance. Gronkowski and his 10 touchdowns this season so far will be sorely missed by the Patriots, meaning other players on the Patriots' roster might have to step forward to fill the void. Other names include Visanthe Shiancoe, Daniel Fells, Aaron Hernandez, and Michael Hoomanawanui.
As an example of how important it is for the Jets to stop Brady, the Patriots have scored an immense 35.8 points per game on average this season, compared to just 20.2 for the Jets. The Patriots also are recording 431.9 total yards per game, compared to just 301.3 for the Jets. In passing yards in offense the Patriots have an average of 289.0 yards per game, compared to the Jets' 192.7 yards per game. It cannot be understated the importance of the Jets closing up Brady and stopping him moving the Patriots forward freely.
New England Patriots vs New York Jets is scheduled to start at 8.20 p.m. ET and can be watched online through free live stream by clicking here.