By A. Sherrod Blakely
CSNNE.com Celtics Insider
FOXBORO After a humbling 34-17 beatdown at the hands of the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday, the usually boisterous New York Jets coach Rex Ryan proclaimed that changes would be made heading into Sunday's game against the New England Patriots.
The Jets would return to their ground-and-pound, rushing attack ways.
Regardless of the loss suffered by the Jets, New England defensive tackle Vince Wilfork wouldn't expect the Jets to play the Pats any other way.
"One thing we're not doing is looking at the games and saying, 'They're gonna do this. They're gonna do that.' We know the Jets better than that," Wilfork said. "They're going to come out and try and establish the running game."
Against the Patriots, can you blame them?
New England is giving up a league-high 477.5 yards per game.
And the Pats run defense, ranked 18th in the NFL, is giving up 108.8 yards this season.
But the Jets surprisingly have been among the NFL's worst rushing teams this season.
Their 71 yards rushing per game ranks 30th (out of 32 teams) this season, a far cry from Rex Ryan's first two Jets teams which ranked first and fourth in the NFL in rushing in 2009 and 2010, respectively.
That's what makes Sunday's game so intriguing for both teams.
New York is trying to get its ground attack off and running, while the Patriots are still trying to figure out how to become an effective team defensively.
"Inconsistency at times, has cost us," Wilfork said. "A handful of plays in each game really cost this defense from being a pretty good defense. We understand that. We have to keep striving for it, keep moving forward and keep getting better."
And like success, struggles can't be pinned on one player or unit.
The defensive line and linebackers aren't getting nearly enough pressure on quarterbacks, which makes the job of the defensive backs a lot tougher.
And when the pressure is there, the defensive backs aren't doing their part to make plays.
"They do what they do," Ryan said of the Patriots defense. "They force take-aways. They never ranked way up there (defensively); it's not like they're one or two in the league in defense. They're effective. They make you make mistakes. They do a great job playing the run, and they don't have the ball shot over their heads."
Under Bill Belichick, the Patriots defense has finished among the NFL's top-10 five times (2003, 2004, 2006, 2007 and 2008), but no higher than fourth which came in 2007 when the Pats went undefeated in the regular season before losing in Super Bowl XLII to the New York Giants.
"We still have work to do," Wilfork said. "We've done things well; we've done some things not so well. What we've done well, we have to continue to get better. The things that we have to get better at, we have to do a good job of going out and correcting them."
That mentality should serve the Patriots well this week against a Jets team that hasn't played up to their Super Bowl-or-bust mentality.
"We'll get their best shot," Wilfork said. "The same guys over there, the same guys that played us last year. The same guys that beat us three of the five times we played them. This (Jets) team is definitely a good football team. Let's not get that wrong."