Winless Jets head to Gillette Stadium for showdown

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(Sports Network) - The try to break into the win column Sunday when they travel to New England for the home opener at Gillette Stadium. After being shutout in its season opener, New England scored an impressive win at Philadelphia, while the continued their struggles running the ball and stopping the run in a Week 2 home loss to Miami. Both teams also lost key players on defense last week. linebacker injured his hip and will miss Sunday's showdown with New York. cornerback injured his shoulder and will be out eight weeks.

Overcoming those injuries will be critical in determining which team avoids an 0-2 start within the AFC East. The loser will be two games behind the winner of Sunday night's Miami-Buffalo game and will have almost no chance to win the division.

The come in with an 0-2 record and that's more than fine with quarterback . In only his second full season as a starter, Brady is fully immersed in this longstanding rivalry.

"I think there is hatred on both sides," Brady said. "We don't care ever to see the win games, and they don't care to see us win games. When we come together, something has to give. Hopefully it is their side."

Though the dropped their first two games coach Bill Belichick says his team has a healthy respect for the and knows a win this week is important.

"I don't care what they did against anybody else," Belichick said. "I don't care what anybody else did against them. I know what they did against us, and they beat us [last year in Foxboro] and they deserved to win that night. That is why they ended up ahead of us [in the AFC East standings].

"It's a division game; we need to get back to .500 in the division. This is a game that we really need to put a lot of focus and concentration on this week. They were the champs of this division last year. We know they are tough."

The spent the offseason focusing on avoiding another bad start. Too late for that. They come in last in the league in rushing offense and 30th in rushing defense. Running the ball and stopping the run are two age-old staples for success in the NFL.

"This is the most frustration I've felt in the four or five years since I've been here," center said.

SERIES HISTORY: The hold a 47-37-1 advantage in the series and have won six of the past eight games with New England, including three straight in Foxboro.

The teams last met on December 22, 2002. The beat the 30-17 in Foxboro and damaged New England's playoff hopes.

head coach Herman Edwards is 2-2 against the . Belichick has coached eight games against the and has won three.


has tormented his former team, rushing for almost 1,000 yards against the since leaving New England. Through two games this season, Martin and the rest of the runners have only tormented fans. Martin has gained just 80 yards in the season's opening weeks, averaging 3.2 yards per carry. Backup RB and WR have the only other carries this year and have combined to lose two yards on eight attempts.

What's wrong with Curtis is a topic that's been heavily debated on sports-talk radio and television in New York this week. Is he finished or is he still hampered by the two sprained ankles he played on last year? Martin believes the answer is C -- he said his production is down because he has not been given enough carries to get in any kind of rhythm. In two games he's had just 25 carries. During the week he pointed out that Miami's , who ran wild on the in Week 2, was able to do so because the kept feeding him the ball. Coach Edwards believes Martin is right.

"I think that now he is feeling good, he's feeling fresh," Edwards said of Martin. "He's over his ankle injury that he had last year. We've just got to get more plays on offense so we can get him going, so we can get him running. I think our inability not to get enough plays offensively has really hurt his ability to run the football. The last game it was tough, the first half we had 18 plays and 12 of them were on our first drive. From there we were down 18 and in a catch-up mode, so we're not trying to run the ball. We're trying to catch-up."

The added mammoth DT late in the preseason to shore up their new 3-4 defense, but the could not ask for a better opponent to try and establish the run against. New England could not stop anyone from running the ball last year and they face the without two starting linebackers (Colvin and ) and safety , who was released before the season opener.

Colvin, the marquee free-agent addition for New England, injured his hip when he recovered a fumble in the second quarter last week and will miss at least Sunday's contest against the . New England had already lost Johnson to a broken foot.

The injuries have hurt the ' depth at linebacker. had two sacks after replacing Colvin last week and moves into the starting lineup. He and will take Colvin's snaps and veteran plays a lot more in Johnson's absence.

Rookie DB played some safety last week as the attempt to find a consistent replacement for Milloy. Belichick said the move is not permanent though, and several players could see time at the spot against the .

showed he could still throw the ball last week passing for 373 yards. Testaverde has led the to only two touchdowns on 19 drives this season. He should be able to improve that percentage this week.

Moss had a career game last week with 142 yards receiving. The will get him the ball again. is still a top cover cornerback, but the should find favorable matchups against rookie and . Neither has the speed to stay with Moss.

Offensive coordinator Paul Hackett finally went with Testaverde's strengths when the fell behind last week. New York moved the ball easily in its three receiver package and will likely try to spread the field again. If the can avoid falling into a double-digit deficit early, Testaverde should be able to throw enough to open up the run for Martin. Martin should get a real workout if the can get a second-half lead. While Edwards endorsed the pass last week with the down big, he is always leery of Testaverde throwing an interception and knows that while Samuel and Wilson are inexperienced, they both have excellent hands.

The did get seven sacks against the without Colvin in Week 2, but that was a product of a huge lead and Philadelphia being forced to throw on every down.


Slow starts are nothing new for the under Edwards. They started 1-2 in his first season and 1-4 last year. In both seasons the defense has hemorrhaged rushing yards at the beginning of the year and made great improvements to get the team into the playoffs both seasons.

Again the Jet defense has started a season by treating opposing rushers as if they are carrying the plague instead of a football. The have yielded 347 yards on the ground in the first two weeks and have earned the wrath of normally mild mannered defensive coordinator Ted Cottrell, who lit into the defense at halftime of the Miami game.

"I can't repeat what I said to the guys at halftime," Cottrell said. "I really don't know everything I said. I just know it was a very emotional speech. It was just one of those things. It wasn't the calls. It wasn't the preparation. We weren't doing what we were supposed to do, and I had just seen enough of it. I don't think this crew ever had seen me like that. I was just so fed up."

Cottrell was steaming because the coaches called out "bootleg" on Miami quarterback 's nine-yard touchdown run only to see DE bite on a fake and fail to contain the edge. On ' 18-yard run on a third-and-16, Cottrell also thought he had the perfect defense called, but CB blew an assignment and the eventually scored a touchdown on the drive.

Cottrell says those few, but important very correctable mistakes have been the problem this year as opposed to all-around poor play at the start of last season.

"The guys know how good they can be because they demonstrated that in the second half of each game," Cottrell said. "We have given up a total of three points in the second half after two games. And we really could have shutout the in the second half."

After reading the defense the riot act they allowed just 100 yards to the in the second half. They need to play like that the entire game to have a chance to stop Brady on Sunday. The New England quarterback bounced back from a four-interception performance in Week 1 to pass for 255 yards and three touchdowns last week in Philadelphia.

When Brady drops back to pass this week, he'll be facing a secondary minus its best cover corner in , whom Edwards believed was primed for a breakout season.

The 5-foot-8 Mickens, a good corner in the nickel, moves into the starting lineup. He'll move back inside when New England goes to its three-receiver sets and the 6-foot-2 will play corner.

Mickens was burned on a 39-yard pass last week when receiver used his size to make the catch over the diminutive Mickens. That should not be a problem against the New England receivers. Rookie is the tallest Patriot wideout at 5-foot-11.

The best help the can give Mickens is a strong pass rush. has played very well in both games this year. has the ability to take over the game, too. The are not strong at tackle and cannot double both Jet ends. New England center is the ' best lineman, but he missed last week's game. He is expected to start on Sunday.

The are the kings of the screen pass, running them for backs, receivers and even on occasion for a tight end. They will likely try to exhaust their supply of screens this week against an old and slow linebacking corps. Running back will be a frequent target for Brady as will fullback . Former top back should get plenty of carries with Faulk this week. He has struggled even more than Martin, averaging a paltry 1.8 yards per carry, but Brady's passing should open up the run.

Brady will look for his tight ends in the red zone. He found for a pair of touchdowns last week and has a good rapport going with the veteran.

"Christian, when he gets those one-on one matchups, he does a great job of getting open. He always catches the ball," Brady said. "Those catches that he makes are not easy and a lot of times I make it tough for him."

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