Through six weeks, no opposing quarterback has really found success against the New England Patriots. But in Week 7, New York Jets/a> quarterback Sam Darnold may finally be able to solve the Patriots secondary.
In his return from mono last week, Darnold threw for 338 yards and two touchdowns against the Dallas defense, spreading the wealth among Robby Anderson, Jamison Crowder, and former Patriots Demaryius Thomas.
New England has allowed over 200 yards passing just twice this season. One came in the season opener against Pittsburgh when most of Ben Roethlisberger’s 276 yards came in the late minutes. The other was against Buffalo when backup Matt Barkley went 9 for 16 for 127 yards to push the team total up to 280 for the game.
The Jets haven’t had much success prior to last week in the passing game this season, partially because Darnold had missed significant time. But with the arsenal of receivers, the Jets have, even against New England’s secondary, it might be a big day for the Jets quarterback.
How Sam Darnold Matches up vs Patriots
Before looking at Darnold’s individual numbers, how about checking out the Patriots secondary first. New England ranks second in the NFL allowing 161 yards passing per game and leads the league with 14 interceptions — five more than the next closest team (Carolina has nine).
Additionally, the Patriots have come up with 25 sacks on defense as well, second-most in the league. While the Patriots apply pressure on the quarterback up front, it’s even more difficult to find open receivers downfield.
But Darnold has always exhibited a strong ability to extend plays with his legs and avoid pressure. The Jets’ offensive line hasn’t been as strong as advertised, forcing Darnold to take six sacks. And although he doesn’t run well, Darnold can roll out exceptionally well and has good vision to look off receivers.
The Patriots have lucked out in recent weeks. The Giants were without a few of their top targets last week, the Redskins and Jets played backup quarterbacks in the weeks prior. But with Darnold back and all the Jets receivers healthy, it might present a challenge for the Patriots.
Should You Start Darnold vs Patriots?
This is a tough decision.
Will Darnold throw for big yards? Potentially. Will he throw for a touchdown? Possibly. But just how effective will he be against the dominant Patriots defense?
That’s the million-dollar question for this week. The Patriots aren’t the same as the Dallas defense when it comes to stopping the pass. But New England also hasn’t faced a fully healthy offense in a few weeks, especially when they faced the Jets for the first time.
In Darnold’s only other meeting with the Patriots, he passed for 167 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions. He also didn’t have the same receiving corps he does now for that meaningless Week 17 game last season.
If you’re looking for a quarterback to make an impact, Darnold might not be the best choice on your fantasy team this week.