A week ago, no one would have thought that Week 7's Pats/Jets match-up would feature teams with identical records. With a four-way tie for 1st place in the AFC East, how big is today's game and how do you see it playing out?
Raj: I believe this is a must-win for New England unless they wanna grab the either two wild card spots and be content with playing on the road all the way to the Super Bowl (unless they finish 5th and play the 6th seed). That being said, with a 4-way tie, this matchup could not have come at a better time. The winner will have a clear advantage in the step towards clinching this division while the loser will have to do some praying and math. I expect the Patriots to fill in some of the errors they committed against Seattle, such as allowing deep 40-50 yard passes to work every time. They'll be playing with rage from that tragic defeat. Brady will be a smarter QB as well so there's no reason why the Patriots should not win this game.
Stephen: This is the most important game to date because it is a statement game. The Jets are New England's most hated rival, and the Patriots need to come out roaring after a disappointing Week 6 loss in Seattle. Expect New England to pound the ball against New York's poor run defense and then mix in the Boston TE Party. Defensively, the Pats will probably gear up to stop the run and make Mark Sanchez do something he's been unsuccessful at against them: beat the Pats with his arm. I expect this one to be a decisive victory for New England.
Jason: You know that scene in The Avengers where the Hulk grabs the bad guy by the feet and thrashes him around like a line cook trying to put out a grease fire with a towel? That's pretty much how I expect this one to go, except in my version, the guys in green will be getting beat up.
Derek: Unlike Raj, I don't see today's game as a must-win if the Patriots are going to take the AFC East crown. Even if the Jets, by some miraculous circumstance, do come out of Foxboro with a W, they will only be a game up on the Patriots. Do you really believe that over the next nine games, the Jets are going to outplay the Patriots and maintain that lead? Neither do I. Today's game is about putting the team back on a winning track and swatting the annoying mosquito that's been buzzing around our ear. It is only a must-win in the sense that it would be extremely, extremely difficult for the Pats to wrap up a bye week if they drop this game.
For that reason, I also disagree with Stephen that today's game is the most important of the season so far. That was Week 3 against the Ravens. The two biggest games on the schedule this season are @ Baltimore and Vs. Houston, with Vs. Denver coming as a close third. Those are your three other division winners and the teams that New England will by jockey with for playoff positioning. The Pats and the Jets may both be 3-3, but they are on completely different planets. One team overachieved their way to 3-3, while the other underachieved. The Jets lost by over 8x times the amount of points in their one loss to San Francisco than the Patriots have lost by in their three losses this season combined. I think that's all you need to know.