The New England Patriots find themselves with an 0-2 start to the 2023 season, but if anything I am more encouraged about them than when the season began. Their losses have been close against juggernaut teams, one being the reigning NFC Champions and the other being a very healthy Miami Dolphins team. As I said in my week two takeaways, Mac Jones has played very well to start the season and is the least of the problems for the New England Patriots. With the team set to visit the New York Jets, is this the week they finally get a win?
Every week this season I have brought up the offensive line issues for the New England Patriots as their line has been a combination of injuries and poor play. That trend continues as we see multiple starters on the injury report again. Trent Brown, Cole Strange, and Mike Owenu were all limited participants in Wednesday’s practice. Multiple defensive linemen were on the injury report as well with Davon Godchaux not practicing on Wednesday without an injury designation and Christian Barmore being limited with a knee injury.
The Jets had a few impact players miss practice on Wednesday with offensive tackle Duane Brown battling a shoulder and hip injury, defensive linemen John Franklin-Myers battling a hip injury and kicker Greg Zuerlein dealing with a groin injury. Offensive tackle Mekhi Becton and running back Breece Hall are both been battling knee injuries.
This week is going to the be week when the Bill Belichick effect on defense has a huge impact. Zach Wilson has struggled with keeping the ball safe in his NFL career, especially against the New England Patrioits. The upside that was there in college has not translated yet, and likely never will. In four games against New England, Wilson has 693 yards, two touchdowns, seven interceptions, and a 50.6 passer rating along four big time throws and eight turnover-worthy plays, and has not won against Belichick. New England’s defensive line is set to have a great day against a very poor New York offensive line that will potentially be playing two backup tackles or two injured tackles.
From a weapons standpoint, it’s Garrett Wilson and friends for New York. With the great play of Christian Gonzalez and solid play from the rest of New England’s secondary, it should be a quiet game through the air. The trench battle should go New England’s way as well as Alijah Vera-Tucker is the only offensive linemen who’s been good. New England’s offensive line is banged up as well and have played poorly when healthy. Jones will likely be under a good amount of pressure against this game, but he’s played well throughout the season so far.
Prediction: 28-20 New England
I am picking the Patriots to win their first game of the season against the lost Jets. I also have chosen them in a survivor pool, so it’s all in on New England. If they fall to 0-3, a serious conversation about Bill Belichick’s future should be had. However, I don’t think it comes to that yet. New England will find themselves back on track.
2023 Prediction Record: 2-0