The 2003 AFC East Champions travel to the Meadowlands this week to face the New York Jets with playoff positioning at stake. New England brings a franchise-record 10-game winning streak and an NFL-best 12-2 record into the game, matching up against a Jets team that has won three of its last four games and each of its last three home games. New England has clinched the division title and is assured of a home playoff game, but still has a hefty amount of work to do as it tries to secure an ever-important first-round bye.
This week against the Jets, the Patriots will bid for their first season sweep of New York since 1996. The New England defense will have its hands full with a multi-dimensional New York offense featuring the rushing exploits of Curtis Martin (4.1 yards per carry) and the aerial prowess of quarterback Chad Pennington and his favorite target, Santana Moss (10 touchdowns). The New England run stuffing unit is ranked third in the NFL and will hope to stifle Martin's effectiveness, while the Patriots secondary has been a force all season (22 interceptions) and will try to prey on Pennington when he ventures downfield.
The New England offense has felt at home on the road recently, averaging 30.3 points in its last three road contests, including a 38-point outburst the last time the Patriots ventured out of Gillette Stadium on Nov. 30. Tom Brady is 23-4 in his career in games played after Nov. 1, and will try to improve his career record to 3-0 at the Meadowlands.
This week's game will be televised by ESPN. The game can be seen locally on WCVB-TV Channel 5 in Boston. Mike Patrick will handle the play-by-play duties, while Paul Maguire and Joe Theismann will provide analysis. Suzy Kolber will deliver reports from the sidelines throughout the game. Immediately following the game, the Fifth Quarter postgame show can be seen on WSBK-TV Channel 38 in Boston.
WBCN 104.1 FM is the flagship station for the Patriots Rock Radio Network. Play-by-play broadcaster Gil Santos is in his 27th season as the voice of the Patriots and calls the action along with Patriots Hall of Famer Gino Cappelletti. In 2003, Santos and Cappelletti celebrate their 20th season as a broadcast tandem.
SETTING THE MARK
In 2003, the Patriots have experienced the most regular-season success in team history. The 2003 squad is the first team in franchise history to win 12 regular-season games, besting the previous club mark of 11 wins (accomplished six times, most recently in 2001). New England has established the best 14-game record in franchise history with a 12-2 start to the 2003 season. The Patriots' previous best 14-game start was in 1976 when they finished the 14-game regular season with an 11-3 record.
TEN TAKES THE RECORD
The Patriots have won 10 games in a row, setting a franchise record for consecutive regular-season victories. New England's run of victories began with a 38-30 win over Tennessee at Gillette Stadium on Oct. 5, and is the longest winning streak in the NFL this season.
The AFC East Champions are assured of hosting a playoff game and control their playoff positioning with two games remaining. New England can clinch a first-round bye this week if Denver beats Indianapolis on Sunday night. If the Patriots win their next two games, they will be assured of the top seed in the AFC and home field advantage throughout the playoffs.
The Patriots can clinch a first-round bye this week with—
2.NE win or tie IND tie
The Patriots and Jets will meet for the 88th time since the series between the AFC East rivals began in 1960. The Patriots have won three of the last four games between the teams, with two of the three victories coming at the Meadowlands. The Jets hold an overall edge in the series, but the Patriots lead the series 10-9 since Robert Kraft purchased the Patriots in 1994. New England defeated the Jets 23-16 at Gillette Stadium in their first meeting this season, breaking a five-game home losing streak to the Jets. The teams have split the season series each of the past two years, with all games being won by the visiting team in both 2001 and 2002. Last season, the teams split their two games, with the Patriots taking a 44-7 win away from the Meadowlands on Sept. 14 and the Jets posting a 30-17 victory at Gillette Stadium on Dec. 22. The Patriots have won three of their last four games against the Jets at the Meadowlands.
NEW YORK 47, NEW ENGLAND 39 (1 TIE)
TALE OF THE TAPE
|2003 Regular Season||New England||New York|
|Total Yards Gained||4,447||4,345|
|Total Offense (Rank)||317.6 (18)||310.4 (20)|
|Rush Offense||95.9 (27)||102.3 (24)|
|Pass Offense||221.7 (9)||208.1 (15)|
|Points Per Game||21.1||17.6|
|Total Yards Allowed||4,089||4,651|
|Total Defense||292.1 (7)||332.2 (T-21)|
|Rush Defense||88.8 (3)||148.6 (31)|
|Pass Defense||203.3 (17)||183.6 (6)|
|Sacks Allowed/Yards Lost||30/205||23/161|
PATRIOTS – JETS QUICK HITS
- The Patriots have six former Jets on their roster (Rick Lyle, Anthony Pleasant, Roman Phifer, Bobby Hamilton, Dedric Ward and Fred Baxter).
- Five Patriots coaches have also coached for the Jets (Bill Belichick, Romeo Crennel, Charlie Weis, Brad Seely, Eric Mangini).
- Tom Brady is 3-1 as a starter against the Jets.
- The Patriots have a 13-5 record against the AFC East since the beginning of the 2001 season. It's the best record among AFC East teams over that span.
THE LAST TIME
Patriots 23, Jets 16 – September 21, 2003
The Patriots scored a pair of second-half touchdowns to pull ahead of the Jets and win the 2003 Gillette Stadium opener by a 23-16 score. Running backs Kevin Faulk and Antowain Smith combined for 134 yards on 30 carries (4.5 avg.) for New England to grind out yards and consistently move the ball on offense. Tom Brady completed 15 of 25 passes for 181 yards and ran for a touchdown. The defense supplied the day's other touchdown, courtesy of a 55-yard interception return by rookie cornerback Asante Samuel.
The teams traded three field goals in the first two-and-a-half quarters to leave the game in a 9-9 deadlock with time ticking down in the third quarter. Then, Brady got the Patriots into the end zone not with his arm but with his feet, as he ran the ball in from one yard out to give the Patriots a 16-9 lead. On the Jets' possession after Brady's touchdown, Samuel continued the Patriots' push by picking off a Vinny Testaverde pass on the first play of the fourth quarter and returning it 55 yards for a touchdown and a 23-9 Patriots lead with 14:49 left in the game. But the Jets did not go down without a fight, needing just four plays after Samuel's touchdown to come up with a score of their own on a 29-yard touchdown pass from Testaverde to Wayne Chrebet to cut New England's lead to 23-16. The Patriots defense answered the call as the game wound down, forcing the Jets to miss a field goal, then allowing them just one first down on their final two drives to preserve the divisional win and improve to 2-1 on the season.