Both the New England Patriots and the New York Jets trotted out their first-round rookie quarterbacks in Week 1, but each signal-caller is still looking for his first career win. No. 2 overall pick Zack Wilson got the nod for the Jets against the Panthers and completed 20 of his 37 passes for 258 yards, two touchdowns, and an interception. Wilson's connection with free-agent addition Corey Davis was a noticeable development in the opener as he was on the receiving end of both his touchdown throws while catching five of his seven targets for a game-high 97 yards. Meanwhile, Mac Jones looked the part in his regular-season debut with New England. In the loss to Miami, he finished with 281 yards and a touchdown with a 74.4 completion percentage.
Now that each quarterback has a game under their belt, they'll be looking to get into the win column when these division rivals go toe-to-toe from MetLife Stadium. This will also be the first-ever rookie quarterback matchup in the 125th meeting between these two clubs. Below, you'll find our preview for this AFC East matchup.
How to watch
Keys to the game
Zack Wilson vs. Bill Belichick
Rookie quarterbacks have famously struggled against Bill Belichick's Patriots over the years. They are a combined 6-26 overall with 27 touchdowns and 46 interceptions, which means it could be a slog for Wilson as he faces New England for the first time on Sunday. It also doesn't help that he won't have left tackle Mekhi Becton as he's been sidelined due to a knee injury he suffered in the opener. The Patriots will be looking to improve their pass rusher after a so-so Week 1 performance. While they were largely able to keep the Dolphins in check, New England struggled to get after the quarterback, totaling one sack and seven pressures (tied for fourth-fewest of any team in Week 1).
Patriots red zone success rate
The major Achilles heel for the Patriots in their opening loss to the Dolphins was their inability to cash in solid drives with touchdowns. Five New England drives made to the Miami 25-yard line and only produced 16 points (one touchdown, three field goals). The final drive that deep in Dolphins territory resulted in a Damien Harris inside the 10-yard line, which effectively ended the game. New England put the ball on the ground four times (lost two) as they fell to Miami. That will also need to be corrected as they move into Week 2.
Bill Belichick's record against rookie quarterbacks is almost immaculate and I expect that to continue heading into this head-to-head with Wilson. Jones showed tremendous poise in his debut and I expect the defense to play much better after an average performance in Week 1. That said, New England is getting a heavy amount of points as a road favorite, which could give some bettors pause as they're giving up a full six points. However, the Patriots are 5-2 ATS in their last seven meetings.
Pick: Patriots 23, Jets 17
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