FOXBORO -- The New York Jets are within a touchdown of the lead after a first half at Gillette in which they seemed overmatched.
With the score 16-10, New England at the break, the Patriots can once again look at the little things and see why they are in a too-tight contest.
On the Jets only touchdown drive, the Patriots allowed a 26-yard completion on third-and-7, were called for defensive holding (Ras-I Dowling) on a third-and-8, allowed Tim Tebow 3 yards on third-and-2 and had just 10 defenders on the field for Shonn Greene's 1-yard TD run.
The Patriots first drive was chugging along until Brandon Lloyd slid to catch a Tom Brady bullet and took it in the chest for an incompletion.
The Patriots failed to come up with a fumble when they had Shonn Greene surrounded with 4 players after he caught a swing pass at his 48 late in the first.
When the Patriots got the ball after that Jets drive, they got out to the 50 before a hold on Donald Thomas squelched the drive.
After forcing a safety, the Patriots went four-and-out after receiving the free kick.
They picked off Mark Sanchez at the goal line on the drive following that but this time stalled at the Jets 48 even after a dunderheaded Jets penalty on a punt extended the drive for New England.
In short, the Patriots are in a spot where they can either close the Jets out the way people have wanted to see them or burp up a lead and cause strife in the region.