Sports

2012 NFL Thanksgiving Day Preview: New England Patriots vs. New York Jets

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On Sunday, Mark Sanchez and the Jets saved Sanchez’s job, on Thanksgiving night; they’ll look to save their season.       

At 4-6, the Jets already have a long ways to go to get them back in the forefront of the postseason picture. One thing is for sure though, they cannot afford to lose AGAIN at home and fall to 4-7.         

The Patriots on the other hand are on a roll. They are coming off 3 games where their average score was 47-20. Even more encouraging is their +20 turnover margin and the fact that their new cornerback, Aqib Talib, had an interception in his first game as a Patriot.

What to watch for:

For the Patriots, it will be the health of Aaron Hernandez. With Rob Gronkowski out, the Patriots obviously want to get Aaron Hernandez involved as much as possible. However, it remains to be seen if he is fully healthy, or if he is just playing hurt because the Pats need him. How much of the ‘Gronk’ hole will Hernandez be able to fill?          

On the other side of the field, which Jets defense will show up? The one that shut down the Rams for the last 3 quarters, giving up only 7 points total? Or the one that gave up 28, 30, and 29 the previous three weeks?          

Also, will Mark Sanchez be able to play mistake free football for the second week in a row? Seeing as the Patriots defense has helped give them the best turnover margin in the league (+20), taking care of the football will be critical for Sanchez, who had two crucial turnovers the last time these two teams met.

Prediction: 

If Mark Sanchez manages to play mistake free football, this could be a very dangerous game for the Patriots. With that being said, nothing so far this season leads me to believe that will happen. Against the Rams, the opposing team was not even threatening on offense for most of the game, which made it easier on the Jets offense to be conservative. The Patriots on the other hand lead the league in almost every offensive category and will probably force Sanchez and the Jets offense to press the issue a little bit more. Which should lead to more mistakes. Pats by 4.

Note to Mark Sanchez:    

See how easy it is? Have ONE decent game/win a game and everybody shuts up about your backup. Think about it: A whole preview without even mentioning his name? I think I deserve an award.  

For more articles and updates follow Cole Stevenson on twitter: @Cole_Stevenson