The New York Jets take the short trip up I-95 to visit the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium for Thursday Night Football. The last time the Jets and Patriots linked up on Thursday Night Football, Mark Sanchez committed the most befuddling play in NFL History -- running into Jets guard Brandon Moore’s backside, fumbling the ball and Patriots defensive back Steve Gregory returning it for a touchdown.
The play was forever immortalized as the “Butt Fumble”, the 40-time “Worst of the Worst Champion” on ESPN’s Not Top 10 plays of the week -- being retired prior to 2013’s start of the regular season without a serious competitor.
Unlike Sanchez’s buttfumble, Sanchez had a serious competitor at the quarterback position, thirty-ninth overall pick Geno Smith. Smith won the starting job out of training camp over Sanchez and rallied the Jets to a miraculous 18-17 home victory against Darrelle Revis and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Left for dead by NFL pundits and experts around the nation, the Jets are set out to prove that last season’s debauchery was last season. A win against the rivaled Patriots, affectionately named “That Team Up North” by former special teams coach Mike Westhoff, will go a long way in proving their doubters wrong
The Patriots earned their first victory of the season against rookie quarterback E.J. Manuel and the Buffalo Bills, but it came with a cost. Already without tight ends Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez as well as wide receiver Wes Welker, the Pats lost running back Shane Vereen (the only running back to register 100+ rushing yards Week 1) to a broken wrist and are likely to be without Welker’s replacement Danny Amendola due to a nagging groin injury.These aren’t your older brother’s Patriots, but nonetheless, they still have Bill Belichick and Tom Brady controlling the reins and boast an up-and-coming defense that will look to carry the load as the offense transitions to a younger core.
Here are five players worth watching in tonight’s AFC East matchup.