Pats-Jets: Five things to watch

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Sep. 19—Here are five quick takes heading into today's Pats-Jets game:

1. Wilson's start

The Patriots rarely start a game defensively with pressure. Bill Belichick likes to feel out the offense and make his moves in the second quarter. That means Jets rookie QB Zach Wilson, who has a penchant for the big play, will be offered the underneath "stuff" early. Does he take it? It's hard when you are make-plays mode. Pats will test Wilson's patience early.

2. Turnover battle

Everything being equal, on paper, this game is over. The Patriots win, probably by 7 to 10 points. There are extenuating circumstances, though, real life, which renders paper meaningless. If the Patriots commit the same egregious turnovers they did a week ago, they will be in position to lose. The Jets probably need to take the ball away at least two more times, but it's not out of the question with a rookie QB and newbies at all of the skill positions in New England.

3. Mac Jones on road

Jones had a better "first" game than Tom Brady did back in 2001. There was one difference. The Pats won Brady's game. Brady's second tilt as a starter was one of his worst, a four-interception afternoon in Miami, his first road game. While Jones should beat that performance, too, playing your first game on the road will not be easy for Mac Jones. The Jets will be gunning for him and the strength of their team is its defense.

4. Judon's play outduels mouth

Patriots defensive end Matt Judon has said the right things about being a Patriot, the defense, Belichick, etc. Well, the Patriots need his play, which was OK last week, to speak for itself. Judon needs to a bother more plays than he bothered last week, maybe create a turnover be it a fumble or pressure. He is arguably the best player on the field today. Leadership is needed in that defensive room and it usually comes from the best player.

5. Harris rebound

Damien Harris had good-looking numbers last Sunday — 23 carries, 100 yards. Those are what you want to see in our "RB1." But let's be frank, his fumble ruined what would've been a very rewarding early evening. Was he tired? Probably a little, but it's no excuse. It was a mental error as the Dolphins were ball-hawking all game. He is the Patriots top running back and he will get the rock probably closer to 15 times. How does he respond? Does he have a big afternoon? Honestly, he had better. The Pats need to have a good day controlling the line of scrimmage and clock and it starts with Harris.

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