Someone will have to suffer some embarrassment at MetLife Stadium on Sunday.
Bill Belichick hasn’t fallen to 0-3 since his first season with the New England Patriots in 2000.
The last team he will want to break that streak is the New York Jets — a franchise he has now defeated 14 consecutive seasons.
Meanwhile, the last thing the Jets need is for that steak to continue.
Two more-than-capable defenses will have to carry their side’s weight to compensate for offenses that are both ranked toward the bottom of the league.
This will be a stubborn game.
The Jets and Patriots have hit the under in three of four meetings between Belichick and Robert Saleh.
With this narrative in mind, as well as Sunday’s game looking to have a torrential forecast, we’re looking at a conspicuously low point total.
Patriots vs. Jets pick
When Zach Wilson last faced the Pats, he threw for 77 yards with a 50.8 rating and the Jets lost a game that the defense served up for him on a silver platter with six sacks.
Since taking over the helm four snaps into Week 1, he’s looked like more of the same Zach Wilson. The third-year quarterback was stable enough to allow the defense to seize Week 1 against the Bills, but was exposed in Week 2 against Dallas.
Wilson threw three interceptions and was left out to dry by the offensive line being sacked three times. The Jets went 1-for-10 on third downs and Wilson owns a 53.3 passer rating since stepping in for Aaron Rodgers — an NFL-worst.
You might think the Jets can rely on their deep backfield platoon, but Dalvin Cook has been invisible with 2.4 YPC in only 17 carries.
The Jets have still started the year better than the Pats in rushing efficiency at 118 YPG to 82.
But that’s mostly inflated from Breece Hall’s excellent 127-yard performance against Buffalo. He had four carries for nine yards last Sunday.
Rhamondre Stevenson has been equally underwhelming at 2.8 YPC.
His receiving acumen was on display the last time he visited New Jersey with 72 yards for a total of 143.
But New England has also had offensive line issues to start the season.
Trent Brown, who missed Week 2 with a concussion, is leading an injury-ridden line with needs that weren’t met in the offseason.
And it’s shown.
New England has allowed an average of three sacks a game, which is a number they share with the Jets.
Falling behind early has been a problem for New England as they have had to play catch-up late in both games against Philadelphia and Miami before losing by one possession.
Mac Jones has played just fine, completing 68.8% of his passes and is in fact leading an offense that ranks first in 33 completions a game.
But there’s been no true x-factor around him and as a game managing quarterback, that makes life difficult in moving the chains.
Jones spreads the ball around generously with six players at nine or more targets. Kendrick Bourne has 20 and caught two for touchdowns against the Eagles.
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But he hasn’t been super productive, ranking at 111th among receivers with 3.1 yards after catch per reception.
Sauce Gardner will surely have a favorable matchup against this receiving corps. He’s still fishing for his first interception of the season.
Both Jones and Wilson will have to find ways to get the ball out of their hands facing two blitz-heavy defenses.
As two top-seven units in pressure rate last season, the Jets (25.4%) and Patriot (24.1%) defenses have more to prove than what their respective Week 2 losses displayed.
The biggest offensive mistake will cost this run-heavy, battle-of-the-defenses game. Add the inclement weather into the mix and we may have ourselves a lacrosse score.
New England Patriots vs. New York Jets pick: Under 36.5
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