For what felt like an eternity, the New England Patriots ruled the AFC East. That meant that teams like the New York Jets, for the most part, had to endure two ugly defeats each year, plus the inability to come anywhere near a division title.
With Tom Brady out of the picture, though, the Pats slipped down the standings. And with Aaron Rodgers on the Jets’ roster, it looked like Gang Green had a chance to get some revenge.
But when the two teams meet in Week 3, Rodgers won’t be on the field. Instead, it will be Zach Wilson under center.
How will that affect this Sunday’s game? And, at the most basic level, how can you watch the game?
Let’s break it down.
How to Watch Patriots vs. Jets
When the NFL schedule makers sat down to sketch out the season, they probably had New England’s trip to New York circled on the calendar. And while a major injury has changed the circumstances of the game, it’s still sitting in prime broadcast position.
When the AFC East rivals take the field at 1 p.m. ET, CBS will carry the action. The network’s top duo, Jim Nantz and Tony Romo, will be on the call, speaking to the hype Rodgers brought to this matchup.
And if you want to tune in, even with No. 8 sidelined, there are still a variety of options. Those outside of the CBS markets can stream the game through NFL+, FuboTV or YouTube TV’s NFL Sunday Ticket. In-market fans can find the action on Paramount+.
Can Patriots Win a Game Against Easier Foe?
Since the turn of the new millennium, the New England Patriots have stood tall as one of the NFL’s top franchises. These days, though, fortunes are a bit different.
The club hasn’t appeared in the playoffs since 2021, and the 2023 campaign started with two losses. And while there are some mitigating factors—the Eagles and the Dolphins are both tough opponents, and New England didn’t play too badly in either game—the standings still read 0-2.
It would be extremely naive to suggest that Pats coach Bill Belichick’s job is on the line, but the way the campaign unfolds will still shape the club’s future. The franchise isn’t in dynasty mode anymore. Is this a team that, with a few improvements, can push for a playoff berth? Or is it finally time to tear things down and start to rebuild?
One game against the Jets won’t singlehandedly provide that answer, but it could start to connect the dots. New York’s defense will test Pats quarterback Mac Jones’ ability to handle the heat, not to mention his grasp of Pats offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien’s principles. And, given a Rodgers-less Jets offense, we’ll see if the Pats’ defense can be a true game changer.
The answers to those questions will tell us where this team is as of now. And that, in turn, will help illuminate the path forward.
Can Wilson and the Jets’ Offense Perform?
At this point, we know that New York’s defense can take care of business. Ultimately, though, you have to score points to win football games.
That’s where Zach Wilson comes in.
You can excuse the QB’s iffy outing during Week 1. He couldn’t have expected that Rodgers would go down, and jumping into an emotional affair isn’t easy. His Week 2 outing—12-of-27 passing for 170 yards, with one touchdown and three interceptions—wasn’t much better, but the Cowboys’ defense did blank the Giants a week earlier.
Now, Wilson will face the Patriots. Their defensive unit is tough, but New England has still surrendered 49 points through the first two games of the season.
To that end, the New York offense simply has to find ways to move the ball and put points on the board. The defense can carry the water, but ultimately Wilson and his peers have to take care of business.
A rivalry game against a sturdy, but human, Patriots defense is the perfect time to prove they can do just that. If they can’t, Rodgers’ absence will loom larger and larger.
Patriots vs. Jets Betting Line, Over/Under
When you consider a Mac Jones vs. Zach Wilson quarterback matchup, the Week 3 game seems both underwhelming and evenly matched. The oddsmakers, it seems, agree with the second part of that equation.
As of Tuesday, FanDuel Sportsbook lists the Patriots as a narrow 2.5-point favorite. The over/under is set at 37 points, suggesting that this one is expected to be a defensive struggle rather than a shootout.