Patriots preparing for new-look Jets

Patriots preparing for new-look Jets
October 15, 2013, 4:45 pm
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After four weeks of working through AFC North and NFC South opponents, the Patriots are finally back in their division.

New England will travel to East Rutherford, New Jersey this weekend to take on the Jets. Offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels talked Tuesday about how familiarity with the personnel and playing style of AFC East teams can jumpstart preparations.

"I think one of the things you always do at the beginning of each week is try to familiarize yourself with who is playing on each team that you are playing against, how they use their people, what style of defense they have, how does the coordinator call the game," McDaniels explained.

"When you play your division opponents, certainly the second time at least, you definitely have that already in your corner, and that goes both ways. They know us, we know them and if it is a situation where the staffs have been together for quite some time, then there is even more carryover to it."

The Patriots won, 13-10, when the teams first clashed this season, September 12. Though all 32 teams in the NFL do roster shuffling throughout the year, it's amazing to note the changes New England and the Jets have had to work around since their first meeting.

Starting nose tackle Vince Wilfork is out for the year with an Achilles tear. Sub safety Tavon Wilson has missed the last two games because of a bad hamstring. Another starting d-lineman, Tommy Kelly, suffered a knee injury and was not active last Sunday.

Linebacker Jerod Mayo (arm), cornerback Aqib Talib (hip), receiver Danny Amendola (head), and Dan Connolly (head) were taken out of last weekend's win over the Saints.

The additions to this upcoming Patriots-Jets game book are far fewer: Running back Brandon Bolden, receiver Austin Collie, offensive lineman Will Svitek, and maybe -- just maybe -- Rob Gronkowski. Rookies Joe Vellano and Chris Jones are filling in on the defensive line.

New York will have receiver Jeremy Kerley to work with. It's a solid gain, considering Kerley has a penchant for punishing the Patriots; he had 14 catches for 206 yards against New England last season.

But the team may be without running back Bilal Powell, who has injured his shoulder. Two other starters, receiver Santonio Holmes and cornerback Dee Milliner, couldn't go last weekend against Pittsburgh.

Has it really only been four weeks?

"Certainly each game is different, each game plays out differently," McDaniels said. "Which players were inactive the first time versus the second time? [Is it] a home game versus a road game? There are a lot of different qualities to each game when you play them twice, so there are a lot of differences certainly in terms of that kind of preparation."