The Jets’ confidence is soaring heading into their Monday night matchup with New England and the game suddenly has a little more juice.
They’re coming off an inspiring win and victorious return for Sam Darnold. Now middle linebacker C.J. Mosley will play for the first time since Week 1. The Jets are confident that they’re on the rise and they’re ready to prove it against the defending Super Bowl-champion Patriots at MetLife Stadium.
“We have a great opportunity to really kind of shock the world in a sense,” running back Le’Veon Bell said.
“They’re not unbeatable,” Darnold said.
No, but the Patriots haven’t been beaten this season.
Six games, six victories, and by a total margin of 142 points. Teams have scored just 48 points against New England, and only three offensive touchdowns. New England has Bill Belichick and Tom Brady and they have ruled the AFC East and ruined many game days for the Jets and their fans.
But the Jets (1-4) believe last week’s two-point victory over Dallas was the start of something and they can make up ground in the AFC standings.
“We understand what’s at stake,” safety Jamal Adams said. “We understand this is a must-win for us. That’s how we’re going about it. It’s honestly like a playoff game. That’s how we’re treating it. It’s a big game but we’re not going to make anything bigger than what it is.”
Darnold, who many believe will eventually replace Brady as the best QB in the division, led the Jets on four scoring drives against Dallas. The offense had three all year before that. Darnold said the Jets could be “unstoppable as an offense” when tight end Chris Herndon returns, which could be next week.
Now add Mosley to the mix of what has been a more-than decent defense, The Jets’ on-field defensive play caller missed four games because of a groin injury. Their record might be different had Mosley not gotten hurt in the season-opening one-point loss to Buffalo.
Mosley had two takeaways in his Jets debut, one he returned for a touchdown. The Bills scored 14 unanswered points after Mosley left.
“It’s like getting that quarterback back on defense,” Adam Gase said. “We saw it for a half. He scored more points than the offense for a few games. If he’s back out there, that’s a big deal for us.”
When the Jets played in New England four weeks ago, the Patriots scored the first 30 points of the game and won, 30-14. The 14 points came on a defensive touchdown and a special teams score. Luke Falk was the quarterback and Belichick completely took Bell out of the game.
Bell carried the ball 18 times for 35 yards (1.9 yards per carry) and caught four passes for 28 yards. The rest of the skill players totaled 10 touches and 71 yards. The Jets’ offense never got the ball past the New England 35-yard line.
But the Jets didn’t have Darnold or Mosley that game. They also didn’t have Jordan Jenkins or Quinnen Williams. Their offensive line looked much different, too, and Darnold’s mobility is taking some heat off the front five.
The Jets are getting better as they get healthier, and they feel there is enough talent on the team and plenty of season left, and their schedule eases up after this game.
“I feel like we’re moving in the right direction,” Bell said. “I’ve been talking about getting the ship sailing in the right direction. We’re starting to slowly turn that ship. I remember three or four weeks ago, everybody was saying I was crazy when I made that tweet. Everybody’s starting to see it a little bit. It’s going to be fun.”