I’m from New Jersey, and I’m proud about it. I love the Garden State. So begins the unofficial state song of my home state, which I sang with my third grade class at a school concert and have remembered, if faintly, since. It’s catchy, actually.
The New York Jets are also from New Jersey. Perhaps you forgot. No, they didn’t truly originate there, playing their first few decades at the Polo Grounds and Shea Stadium. All the same, I think my favorite thing about New Jersey in the last several years has been how Tom Brady’s New England Patriots have been just slightly less dominant when playing the Jets there.
I often tell football fans around me that “the Jets always play the Patriots tougher at home,” so on the run-up to the upcoming Week 6 collision at MetLife Stadium, I wanted quantify how right (or wrong) I was.
Turns out, I was partly right and partly wrong. For starters, what do you think is the Jets’ record in their last eight home meetings with the Patriots? Would you be surprised to learn it’s… 4-4?
The Jets won in 2015 (26-20 in overtime, the Matthew Slater coin toss game), 2013 (30-27), 2010 (28-14) and 2009 (16-9). Although blowout losses in 2011 and 2012 skew the average margin of victory in these eight games, and 2012’s butt fumble did indeed happen in N.J., the Jets kept it competitive in their home losses to New England in 2014 (17-16) and 2016 (22-17). Due to horrendous quarterback and secondary play, the Jets arguably had a worse team in the middle of the 2016 season, yet no blowout took place.
Conversely, the Jets haven’t won a regular season game at New England since 2008 (but did win their playoff showdown in the 2010 playoffs, in the “Feels Great, Can’t Wait” Bart Scott game).
However, few trips the Jets take to Foxborough have resulted in beatdowns. Last year’s score was a pathetic but expected 41-3. Before that, the Patriots’ margins of victory dating back to 2011 went like this: seven, two, three, three, nine. So I was wrong about one thing: Even in New England, the Jets frequently play their hated rivals tough.
The 2017 NFL season has been all about expecting the unexpected. I’m not saying I’m picking New York to win Sunday’s matchup – I didn’t pick them on this week’s Jet Fuel Podcast – but if you think the Pats are going to trash the Jets, I urge you to think again.