The New England Patriots visit the New York Jets in Week 6 of the 2017 NFL season. PFF previews the top player matchups of the game.
Coverage by: Andrew Fleischer
Matchup: New England Patriots offense vs. New York Jets defense
- WR Brandin Cooks vs. CB Morris Claiborne – Tom Brady’s on pace to throw more 20-plus yard passes in 2017 than in any previous season, and the primary target for these passes is Brandin Cooks. Deep passes account for 221 of Cooks’ 379 receiving yards, and his catch rate of 54.5 is 11th best out of 57 wide receivers with at least four deep targets. He’ll be lining up against cornerback Morris Claiborne, whose play has earned him a 75.5 overall grade on the season. His 13.7 cover snaps per reception allowed is the 16th most among 78 cornerbacks with at least 106 snaps in coverage.
- HB Mike Gillislee vs. LB Darron Lee – Gillislee’s 80.7 overall grade, 10th best among eligible running backs, shows that he’s run well in this young season. He has yet to surpass 18 carries or 69 yards in a game, but this matchup could provide him the opportunity for an expanded role. Shaq Mason and Marcus Cannon are a formidable run-blocking duo on the right side of the formation, and when he lines up at left inside linebacker, Darron Lee will be tasked with defending Gillislee’s runs past the line. Lee’s 32.2 overall grade is the second lowest among 87 eligible linebackers, while his 7.5 run-stop percentage ranks 20th. Gillislee’s elusive rating stands at 22.8, 43rd among 49 eligible running backs, but this game has the potential for Gillislee to improve on those numbers.
- QB Tom Brady vs. Edge Jordan Jenkins – Tom Brady enters Week 5 as PFF’s highest rated quarterback at 91.1. He’s performed extremely well under pressure; his 72.9 accuracy percentage under pressure is sixth highest number among quarterbacks, but so are the 16 sacks he’s taken thus far. With Nate Solder and Joe Thuney both struggling in pass protection, he’ll look to avoid Jordan Jenkins’ pass-rush from the defensive right side. Jenkins has spent 62.7 percent of his pass-rushing snaps from the right side, and has a pass-rushing productivity rating of 9.6 from there, far higher than his 2.7 pass-rushing productivity from the left.
Coverage by: Cyrus Geller
- T Brandon Shell vs. Edge Deatrich Wise – Shell has struggled this year, as he currently is tied for 32nd out of 69 qualified offensive tackles in pass-blocking efficiency at 94.5. He will be matched up with Deatrich Wise quite a bit in this game, and he will have his hands full. Wise’s pass-rushing productivity rating of 13.6 is tied for the sixth highest among 59 qualified 4-3 defensive ends, as he has been the Patriots most productive pass-rusher in 2017.
- WR Jermaine Kearse vs. CB Malcolm Butler – Kearse has been very good in his debut season with New York, as he ranks tied for 11th out of 89 qualified receivers in wide receiver rating at 120.2, and he is coming off a game against Cleveland in which Josh McCown had a passer rating of 145.8 when targeting him. Malcolm Butler has had a bit of an up and down season, as his overall grade of 77.1 is tied for 39th out of 109 qualified cornerbacks. He had a tough battle with DeSean Jackson last week, as Jackson caught three of the six balls thrown his way when Butler was covering him for 76 yards.
- TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins vs. LB Kyle Van Noy – Seferian-Jenkins hasn’t been tremendously productive this year, ranking tied for 22nd out of 37 tight ends in yards per route run at 1.38. However, he has yet to drop a ball on the 18 targets he has had, which is tied for the best in the league. There will be opportunities to catch the ball against Kyle Van Noy, as he has given up the second most receiving yards among 27 qualified 4-3 outside linebackers this year with 210. Look for the Jets to try to exploit this matchup in the middle of the field.