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Sunday’s Patriots-Jets meeting is a ‘get-right’ game — for both teams

The Patriots were all over Zach Wilson in two wins last season, and they have a 14-game winning streak vs. the Jets.Jim Davis/Globe Staff

FOXBOROUGH — As glum as things may feel in the Patriots locker room at 0-2, there is a silver lining: At least they get the Jets this Sunday.

And as glum as things may feel in the Jets locker room with Aaron Rodgers lost for the season, there is a silver lining: At least they get to face the Patriots.

Sunday’s Patriots-Jets matchup at MetLife Stadium is, strangely enough, a get-right opportunity for both teams. And a must-win. It’s probably both teams’ best chance at a victory in the next few weeks.

For the Patriots, it’s an opportunity to feast once again on quarterback Zach Wilson and a Jets team they have beaten 14 straight times. The Patriots play at mighty Dallas in Week 4, so if they want to remain competitive in the AFC and avoid an 0-4 start, they’d better beat the Jets.


“We’re hungry, man,” receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster said Wednesday. “We put in so much hard work these past two weeks, and now we’re close. It’s kind of getting annoying. We want to actually put good stuff on film and actually go out there and perform and get a win.”

For the 1-1 Jets, this is a chance to make a statement that they’re not going to go down quietly without Rodgers. After already defeating Josh Allen and the Bills at home with their defense and special teams, the Jets surely believe they can do the same against Mac Jones and the Patriots’ 22nd-ranked scoring offense.

The Jets, who got blown out by the Cowboys last week, had better beat the Patriots, because their season could slip away in a hurry. They next host the Chiefs on “Sunday Night Football,” followed by a road game in Denver and a home date with the Eagles.


“We have to get back on track this week against the Patriots,” defensive end Solomon Thomas said. “Get your body back and be present in the moment and understand that we have everything we want in front of us.”

The game may have more touchdowns scored by the defenses and special teams than by either offense. The Jets are 27th in points (16.0 per game) and the Patriots are 22nd (18.5). Both teams feature excellent defenses — particularly the Jets, who have the deepest defensive line in the NFL, an elite linebacker in C.J. Mosley, and the reigning Rookie of the Year in cornerback Sauce Gardner.

The Jets also have electric returners on special teams, with rookie Xavier Gipson defeating the Bills in Week 1 with a 65-yard punt-return touchdown in overtime.

The Patriots may have beaten the Jets twice last year, but they scored just one offensive touchdown and kicked six field goals in the two games. In Week 11 in Foxborough, each team managed only a field goal on offense, as the Patriots won, 10-3, on an 84-yard punt-return touchdown by Marcus Jones as time expired.

“They’re relentless,” Mac Jones said of the Jets. “Powerful up front, linebackers play with a lot of range. C.J.’s amazing. He’s a great player, always has been in this league. Definitely, he’s the bell cow, but you can tell they all have their own unique things they can do.”

The Patriots changed offensive coordinators to Bill O’Brien but have gotten off to another slow start. Jones ranks 29th out of 32 quarterbacks in yards per attempt (5.7), the run game averages just 3.5 yards per attempt (22nd), and the Patriots have been outscored, 19-0, in the first quarter. Jones has yet to throw a pass with the lead; he has thrown four passes while tied, and 92 while trailing.


“They don’t really have a complex offense,” Gardner said. “It’s pretty simple for the quarterback to get. The gap scheme, everything is really simple. But they excel at it. What they try to do is get other people to mess up and make mistakes. They just do everything right.”

The Jets offense, though, is barely functional under Wilson. Since he entered the league in 2021, his 69.6 passer rating ranks last out of 38 qualifying quarterbacks. This year has been more of the same as he learns under new offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett: 155 passing yards per game, a 54 completion percentage, two touchdown passes, four interceptions, and a league-low 53.3 rating. Last week’s 30-10 loss to the Cowboys was noncompetitive.

Some of Wilson’s worst performances have come against the Patriots. He is 0-4 against New England, with two touchdown passes, seven interceptions, a 50.9 completion percentage, and a 50.6 passer rating. The average score of the four losses has been 28-10.

But Wilson has fared slightly better against the Patriots at MetLife Stadium, throwing for 210 yards in a 25-6 loss in 2021, and throwing for 355 yards in a 22-17 loss last year.


Wilson also has a terrific weapon in receiver Garrett Wilson, who had a highlight-reel touchdown catch against the Bills and raced 68 yards through the Cowboys defense for another touchdown.

If Zach Wilson can just avoid the crippling mistakes — obviously a big “if” — the Jets have the defense and special teams to pull off a victory and finally end their losing streak to the Patriots.

“I still think we’ve got a very damn good football team,” Jets coach Robert Saleh said. “Yes, it’s New England and it’s a division game and the past is the past, but all our focus is on today, trying to be our best version of ourselves, so we can find a way to get this one on Sunday.”

Ben Volin can be reached at ben.volin@globe.com.