Jets vs. Patriots -- Week 12
Where: MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ (artificial turf, outdoors)
When: Thursday, 8:20 p.m. ET, NBC
Spread: Patriots by 7
Forecast: Mostly sunny. Temperature in the low-mid 50s.
Records: Jets (Overall: 4-6, AFC East: 2-2); Patriots (Overall: 7-3, AFC East: 3-0)
Past results: Two most recent meetings -- October 21, 2012 Jets 26, Patriots 29 (OT); November 13, 2011 Jets 16, Patriots 37. Series record: Patriots 54-52-1
What matters: The Jets are finally getting healthy. LB Bryan Thomas has dealt with a hamstring injury he suffered early in the season. He missed one game, but played through it for weeks and is now close to 100 percent. LB Bart Scott has suffered with a turf toe for more than a month and missed one game. While it's not fully healed, he is starting to return to form. RB Bilal Powell missed two games with a shoulder injury, but is now back to 100 percent. RB Joe McKnight has battled an ankle sprain for a month, missing one game. He now feels almost back to normal. NT Sione Po'uha has had a lingering lower back injury since training camp and missed four games, but has returned. WR Clyde Gates missed two games with a shoulder injury; he's now healthy. The only major issues that linger are NT Kenrick Ellis (knee) and WR Jeremy Kerley (heel/hamstring). They are a little thin at cornerback with Isaiah Trufant (knee) now on IR and Aaron Berry dealing with a quad injury suffered against the Rams. However, this improvement should continue to help them, not just against the Patriots but through the end of the season.
Who matters: The running backs. Now that the Jets have all three healthy (Shonn Greene, McKnight and Powell), they have to be able to find holes in the very stout Patriots defense. They were able to do it against the Rams (with 33 rushing attempts and 120 yards among them), but the Patriots run defense -- ranked 10th overall in the NFL, and with something always up their sleeve -- isn't the Rams.
Key matchups: The front seven vs. Patriots QB Tom Brady. When the Jets are able to pressure Brady and make him uncomfortable in the pocket, they are able to have some amount of success. That was their recipe in the first meeting this year in Week 7, and the Jets were able to take the Patriots to overtime. While the Jets ultimately lost that game, the effort paid off through the first four quarters. But controlling Brady who coach Rex Ryan calls a “machine,” is never an easy task and the Jets will have their hands full.
Injuries of note: After missing three games with a sprained MCL, NT Kenrick Ellis reinjured his knee against the Rams.
Inside stuff: The Jets waived WR Jason Hill and now have only four receivers on the roster: Stephen Hill, Kerley, Chaz Schilens and Clyde Gates. TE Dustin Keller hasn't been used a lot in OC Tony Sparano's offense, but they may need to get him more involved, especially since in QB Mark Sanchez's first three years, Keller was his go-to guy and Hill has been struggling with drops.
Connections: Jets FB Lex Hilliard was with the Patriots for the first two games this season. Patriots S Marquice Cole was with the Jets from 2009-2011.
Stat you should know: The Patriots are ranked first in the league in total offense, but are 28th in total defense. The Jets are 29th in total offense, but 14th in total defense.
Looking ahead: The Jets are now 4-6 overall and 2-2 in the AFC East. A win against the Patriots would keep their playoff hopes alive. A loss will likely finish them off.
Prediction: Patriots 31, Jets 23
Stay dialed in on the New York Jets by following correspondent Lisa Zimmerman on Twitter @CBSJets and @LisaZimmerman.