The Complicated Game of Yin vs. Yang Will Decide Pats, Jets

New York Jets New England Patriots

Getty New York Jets vs New England Patriots in a scrum for a loose football.

New York Jets head coach Robert Saleh called New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, “one of the best chess players in the world.”

It’s funny he used that analogy because that’s how this Week 2 matchup is going to play out at MetLife Stadium.

Every decision will have a major ripple effect on the game both positively and negatively.

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Decisions, Decisions Ahead of Home Opener

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One of the biggest decisions will be what do the Jets choose to do on the defensive side of the ball?

Saleh and defensive coordinator Jeff Ulbrich operate a 4-3 defense that plays with a zone. They could choose to play it safe and back things up and allow Patriots quarterback Mac Jones to eat things underneath.

This would force the youngster to dink-and-dunk and orchestrate long methodical drives to earn every single point they put on the board.

That’s a similar strategy that the Miami Dolphins employed in Week 1 vs New England, although they blitzed a bunch as well and forced underneath action.

Jones ended up going 19-of-23 for 153 yards when facing the blitz, with an 83 percent completion rate, but his yards per attempt (6.4) were incredibly underwhelming and ultimately decided the game.

Although the negative with this strategy is the 5 to 10-yard chunks on a per-play basis could be a razor blade and lemon juice strategy. A slow gradual death that eats a ton of time off the clock and allows New England to move down the field at will with relative ease.

Risk It to Get the Biscuit

The other side of the coin is the “explosives” as coach Saleh likes to call them.

This term is another word for big plays. The specific definition under the Jets’ umbrella is any pass play over 16 yards and any run play over 12 yards fits in their “explosive” category.

According to the team media reporters, the Jets allowed eight such plays in Week 1 vs the Carolina Panthers.

“When offenses can generate an explosive play in a drive, their percentages of scoring are astronomical,” Saleh said to the media on Friday. “It’s almost guaranteed that they’re going to get three points. Two explosives in a drive, you might as well just put seven on the board and kick the ball off. So, the objective is to make them go earn it. This game is too precise, it’s too good. … But at the same time, you don’t want to be so conscientious of taking away their deep ball that they do just dink and dunk for five, 10 yards a pop. We do have this thing called the kill zone. It’s inside five yards and that’s where we’re trying to keep the ball. So, the challenge is, can you eliminate explosives while keeping the ball inside four yards or less.”

In other words, the Jets don’t want to give away any cheap points with a blown assignment or straight up getting beat on a play and hand points on a silver platter to the Patriots.

Certainly, on the Gang Green side of the table, every point they score on that veteran New England defense will have to be earned. Nothing is going to come easy in that matchup. Which makes the Patriots’ offense vs the Jets’ defense matchup that much more paramount.

Due to all the injuries on the defensive side of the ball, the Jets may be tempted to pin their ears back and throw some more exotic blitz packages (like they did in the second half of the Panthers game). If they do get aggressive that could open up the door for the Patriots to get some explosive plays on the backend of the defense.

It’ll be an incredible chess match between a seasoned coach in Belichick (Josh McDaniels) vs a young high-energy guy in Saleh. New England has dominated things recently and if the Jets want to shake things up, this battle of yin vs yang will be the key to the contest.

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