The Jets’ pass rush harassed Patriots quarterback Mac Jones on Oct. 30 at MetLife Stadium. They sacked him six times, including a strip-sack, and pressured him into two interceptions, though one was overturned by a roughing penalty.
That domination became an afterthought, though, when the Patriots escaped with a 22-17 win in Week 8 because Jets quarterback Zach Wilson was intercepted three times.
Three weeks later, the Jets’ defensive line will again try to wreak havoc on New England’s second-year quarterback.
“Our expectation is to do that against all teams, and we have the talent in the room to do that,” defensive end Carl Lawson said after practice Friday and before the Jets will face their chief rivals in Foxborough on Sunday.
The Jets have he third-lowest percentage of blitzes (14.9) in the NFL, but have knocked down opposing quarterbacks 42 times, the second-most in the league. A strong front four and excellent cornerback play has allowed the Jets to routinely make things difficult on opposing quarterbacks without sending extra rushers.
The pressure routinely got to Jones, who threw what looked like a devastating pick-six in the waning minutes of the second quarter. John Franklin-Myers, however, was flagged for hitting Jones late, erasing that play.
The Jets will be without defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins (elbow) on Sunday, and the Patriots are expected to welcome back center David Andrews (concussion), who missed the first matchup. Without Andrews, Jones was sacked 10 times in two games.
The task will grow harder for the Jets’ pass rush, which generated sacks from Lawson, Franklin-Myers, Quinnen Williams, Micheal Clemons, Nathan Shepherd and Jacob Martin in the first face-off.
“Every week we want to be able to get to the quarterback,” Lawson said. “That’s something we try to pride ourselves in.”
If the Jets win, they would be in first place in the AFC East. Head coach Robert Saleh said he would not focus on the standings as part of his motivation.
“Whether we win or lose, first place, last place, there’s still seven games left,” Saleh said. “It doesn’t matter. You’ve got to focus on the moment. It’s like Kenny Rogers — you don’t count them at the table.”
Corey Davis, who did not practice again Friday, will miss his third straight game with a knee sprain. Saleh said the team is “really confident” the receiver can return next week.
Offensive linemen Nate Herbig (shin) and Duane Brown (shoulder) were limited in practice. Saleh said they both would be questionable, but “should be ready to roll.”