The New England Patriots defeated the New York Jets 10-3 in a crucial Week 11 AFC East clash. The Patriots emerged victorious in Foxborough on Sunday after rookie Marcus Jones’ 84-yard punt return in the final seconds of the fourth quarter sealed the Patriots vital win against their division rivals. Now sitting at 6-4 on the season New England has moved out of the bottom spot of the AFC East standings to third while the Jets find themselves last. Let’s break down how the defensive battle transpired.
The Patriots Have The Best Defense In The NFL
SI.com’s Conor Orr claims that the New England Patriots have the best defense in the NFL and after their performance against the Jets on Sunday, many would tend to agree. The Patriots held the Jets to only three points on a cold, windy day in Foxborough. After only allowing 103 yards, New England added four sacks to their dominant defensive display.
Matthew Judon keeps making his case for the Defensive Player of the Year award after another brilliant performance. Judon tallied three solo tackles, two assisted tackles, and 1.5 sacks, adding to his NFL-leading 13-sack total. The veteran edge rusher has already surpassed his career-high for sacks in a regular season and is proving to be a force to be reckoned with for opposing offenses.
Connor Orr adds that New England’s defense is especially dominant in the second half of games, allowing “fewer than 10 points” per matchup after halftime which is one of the best in the league. As the offensive struggles have persisted throughout the season for the Patriots, they have been able to rely on an elite defense that has led New England to a three-game winning streak.
New England’s Offense Constrained By The Jets
Mac Jones and the Patriots’ offense were limited to only three points by a very solid Jets’ defense. If not for Marcus Jones’ 84-yard game-winning punt return at the end of the fourth quarter, the outcome of the AFC East battle could have easily gone to the Jets.
New England’s quarterback didn’t have a terrible game on paper. Jones completed 23 of his 27 passing attempts for 246 yards and posted a season-best QB Rating of 104.6. However, it was the constant pressure on Mac Jones that was the story of the day for New England’s offensive struggles.
Jones was sacked six times and was without his starting veteran center David Andrews for most of the game after he was forced to exit with 2:33 left in the first quarter with a thigh injury. NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport initially reported that the injury could be season-ending for Andrews, but Scott Zolak of 98.5 The Sports Hub claims that he will be “back quicker than most people think,” and could even suit up against the Vikings on Thursday. If the Patriots can avoid losing one of their best offensive linemen for the year they will feel much more confident on the offensive side of the ball heading down the stretch of the regular season.
New England Move Up In AFC East Standings
For the first time all season, the New England Patriots are no longer last in the AFC East standings. After over two decades of dominating the AFC East, the Patriots have found themselves in the most competitive division in the NFL this season. That is what makes winning both of their matchups against the Jets even more important because every divisional game the rest of the season is vital for New England’s playoff chances.
Entering Week 11, every AFC East team would have made the playoffs if the season were to have ended. After the Patriots defeated the Jets on Sunday, here is an updated look at the AFC East standings:
1: Miami Dolphins (7-3) (Week 11 Bye)
2: Buffalo Bills (7-3) (31-23 victory over Browns)
3: New England Patriots (6-4) (10-3 victory over Jets)
4: New York Jets (6-4) (10-3 loss to Patriots)
New England will face the Bills twice and the Dolphins once, meaning the AFC East standings could change dramatically by the end of the season. The Patriots will look to improve to 7-4 when they travel to Minnesota to face the 8-2 Vikings in a Thanksgiving Night battle.
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