That is how many times the New York Jets have beaten the Patriots since the start of the 2011 season.
But, five of those eight games have been decided by three or fewer points. The last four have been decided by an average of 2.25 points, with the Patriots going 3-1 in those meetings.
This offseason, the Jets fired coach Rex Ryan, hired Todd Bowles from the Arizona Cardinals, re-signed cornerback Darrelle Revis, and saw their quarterback’s jaw get broken in a preseason locker room fight.
Now, with journeyman Ryan Fitzpatrick and running back Chris Ivory leading the offense and Sheldon Richardson back from suspension to further bolster the league’s top defense, it seems the Jets have as good of a chance as ever to land a gut punch on the Patriots and mar their 5-0 record.
“The Patriots are still king — not only of our division, but the league,” offensive lineman Willie Colon said this week. “We’ve played those guys enough to know what type of football they play. If we’re not on our p’s and q’s, we’re going to get embarrassed.”
Here is a closer look at the Jets this season:
How they got here
The Jets are off to their best five-game start since they won five of their first six in 2010.
They have beaten the Cleveland Browns, Indianapolis Colts, Miami Dolphins, and Washington Redskins by a combined score of 112-51. They have a plus-7 turnover margin in those games and averaged 170.6 yards on the ground.
Their lone loss came against the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 3. Though the defense held the Eagles to 231 yards in the 24-14 loss, the offense turned the ball over four times and mustered just 47 yards on the ground, mainly due to the absence of Chris Ivory, who missed the game with quadriceps injury.
The Jets have outscored opponents 58-21 in the second half and have blanked opponents in the third quarter while putting up 34 points themselves.
|Player||Position||vs. CLE||at IND||vs. PHI||at MIA||vs. WAS|
|Dion Bailey||S||W/ SEA||W/ SEA||W/ SEA||XXX||XXX|
|Wes Saxton||TE||P. SQUAD||P. SQUAD||P. SQUAD||XXX||P. SQUAD|
|Deon Simon||DT||INACTIVE||INACTIVE||INACTIVE||P. SQUAD||P. SQUAD|
|K. Thompkins**||WR||W/ NE||W/ NE||W/ NE||P. SQUAD||P. SQUAD|
Sunday’s game pits one of the league’s most productive offenses against its stoutest defense. Here is a look at each team’s stats on both sides of the ball:
|Points per game||36.6||1||25.8||7|
|Margin of victory||16||1||10.8||3|
|Yards per game||422.4||2||379.8||8|
|Yards per play||6.4||T-2||5.7||8|
|Rush yards per game||97.2||21||146||1|
|Pass yards per game||325.2||2||233.8||21|
|Third-down conversion percentage||51||1||43||8|
|Time of possession||29:22:00||24||32:24:00||6|
|Turnover margin||plus 4||3||plus 5||2|
|Points per game||20.6||10||15||1|
|Yards per game||355.8||17||269.2||1|
|Yards per play||5.4||T-7||4.3||T-1|
|Rush yards per game||241.6||16||186.6||2|
|Pass yards per game||114.2||22||82.6||2|
|Third-down conversion percentage||40||T-20||32||T-2|
Three former Patriots will be on the opposing sideline Sunday.
Cornerback Darrelle Revis, running back Stevan Ridley, and receiver Kenbrell Thompkins all landed in New York this offseason, though each under vastly different circumstances.
Revis signed with his former team for five years, $70 million total and $39 million guaranteed.
Of the Jets’ eight interceptions, Revis has three. He also leads the defense with three fumble recoveries.
Ridley agreed to a one-year deal with New York, though he has spent the first five games of the season on the physically unable to perform list after tearing his ACL and MCL last season while with the Patriots. He is eligible to be added to the active roster this week, though Bowles did not commit one way or the other.
Kenbrell Thompkins spent all of the 2013 season and half of 2014 with the Patriots before the team released him last October. Soon after, he landed with the Oakland Raiders before they cut him in September. The Patriots re-signed him to the practice squad before cutting him a second time at the end of September. The Jets signed him to their practice squad Oct. 2 and promoted him to the active roster Monday after receiver Quincy Enunwa was suspended for four games.
Journeyman lands in New York
Ryan Fitzpatrick is with his sixth team in his 11 years in the league and his third team in three seasons after spending four years in Buffalo.
He wasn’t supposed to be the Jets’ starter, but after Geno Smith’s jaw was broken in a training camp locker room fight, Fitzpatrick got the nod.
He has posted a 83.4 rating, 17th among quarterbacks who have completed at least 100 passes this season, higher than Peyton Manning’s (72.5) and Cam Newton’s (83.2), both of whom are leading undefeated squads into Week 7.
“He’s a really smart player. They put a lot on him in terms of running the offense,” Patriots coach Bill Belichick said Wednesday. “He throws into some tight coverage situations, but he’s got big receivers like [Brandon] Marshall and [Eric] Decker and is giving them a chance to make plays on the ball, and they’re making them.
“You’re not really going to fool this guy too much. We have to do a good job of executing what we do, in the running game and the passing game. He’s hurt teams scrambling, so we’re going to have to handle all that.”
His longest, and perhaps gutsiest, play of the season came in the third quarter against Washington in Week 6. On first and 10, one play after a Revis interception set the Jets up on the Redskins’ 18-yard line, the play broke down and Fitzpatrick powered his way into the end zone, showing off those scrambling skills.
“So on plays, designed or improvised, that demand his running expertise, Fitzpatrick tucks the ball into his armpit, lowers his shoulder and girds himself for contact,” The New York Times’s Ben Shpigel wrote of Fitzpatrick this week. “The way he dives headfirst, it sort of looks as if he is trying to break down a door at knee level.”
But Fitzpatrick is 1-6 in his career against the Patriots with 13 touchdown passes and 17 interceptions.
|Ryan Fitzpatrick||League rank|
|Yards per game||235.4||26|
New year, new coach
It did not take long for the Jets to clean house last December.
The Jets had been on the decline and fell to 4-12 in 2014.
So owner Woody Johnson fired general manager John Idzik and head coach Rex Ryan, who was revered by players despite his 46-50 record in six seasons. He has just one winning season in that time period.
Two weeks later, new GM Mike Maccagnan hired Todd Bowles as the Jets head coach. Bowles spent two seasons as the Arizona Cardinals’ defensive coordinator, and New York gave Bowles his first head coaching gig, signing him to a four-year deal.
“We have to teach them our culture,” Bowles said at his introductory news conference. “Not that the other culture was bad, but they didn’t win. So our culture is going to be to try to instill different things in them from a winning organization, from a different point of view, to make us go forward and get to the playoffs.”
Bowles hasn’t made any guarantees, unlike his predecessor, and has remained calm during some rather frustrating offseason and preseason incidents.
“Bowles does not seem to have an act,” The New York Times’s William C. Rhoden wrote after the Jets’ lone loss. “Whether responding to a player’s off-the-field trouble, a starting quarterback having his jaw broken by a teammate, mounting injuries or a loss like Sunday’s, Bowles’s demeanor remains the same. The message is also the same. The season is a journey filled with wins and losses.”