The Patriots will wrap up the 2023 season on Sunday in an AFC East showdown with the Jets, as both teams look to finish their campaigns on a high note. Earlier in the year, the Patriots knocked off the Jets for a 15th-straight victory over their divisional rivals and will now try to extend the streak to 16 in what's projected to be snowy conditions. Here's what the writers from Patriots Unfiltered will be watching while offering an early glimpse into what might be in store for the team this offseason.
With snow in the forecast, Trevor Siemian starting for the Jets and really only draft slot status on the line, what kind of game are you expecting Sunday?
The players hear the rumors circulating. It's Bill Belichick, the GOAT of coaches. It's the last game of the season. IT'S THE JETS. Snow be damned. 50-0 Patriots. -Fred Kirsch
I'm expecting something similar to every other Patriots game this season – low scoring with turnovers mixed in. Since the Jets turn it over more than anybody in the league, I'm expecting most of the mistakes to be made by the visitors. -Paul Perillo
I anticipate a few turnovers and a lot of running the ball from both teams. -Alexandra Francisco
I'm expecting a Patriots team playing for pride and possibly their head coach as well. Although it doesn't absolve them of the bigger picture, this Patriots team has competed hard down the stretch, and I expect them to play for fun and each other in one last Belichick butt kicking of the Jets. I really see the Patriots winning big in this spot. -Evan Lazar
I think the Patriots will go out with another strong effort as they play for their leaders, their coach and pride. That should be enough for them to get a season-capping win in a low-scoring affair. -Mike Dussault
Name one Patriot on offense and defense that could set a positive tone for 2024 with a performance vs. New York to build off.
Let's go with Keion White on defense. A dominant performance for the rookie gets us that much more excited about the prospects of the defense going forward. Same reasoning behind Pop Douglas. Imagine packages with him and Marcus Jones on the field at the same time. -FK
The first guy I think about on offense is DeMario Douglas, but I feel like he's already established himself heading into 2024. So instead I'll go with Kevin Harris. Harris has shown flashes of ability the past two weeks and I'd like to see him emerge as a solid backup to Rhamondre Stevenson heading into next season. On defense Keion White is another player who shows flashes of athleticism. Maybe this is the week he puts those flashes together for a full game. -PP
I think DeMario Douglas is an easy answer after already securing more receptions than any other rookie receiver under Bill Belichick, but I would love to see a great game from Mike Onwenu that seals the deal on the team signing him for next year and showing they've learned from prior mistakes of letting offensive lineman walk. As for the defense, I'll go with Christian Barmore, a young star in the making who is still under contract for next season. -AF
Offensively, I'll go with the rookie linemen. Sidy Sow has been building on positive performances with more experience at right guard, and I liked what I saw in limited reps for Jake Andrews at left guard. I'd like to see those two have opportunities and good games against a great Jets front. On defense, day-two rookies Keion White and Marte Mapu have emerged as well. Hopefully, they're also building toward making the year-two leaps. -EL
Would love to see Kevin Harris get increased carries, I can't imagine trying to tackle that guy in snowy, slippery conditions. I think he's shown some promise in limited chances. On defense, give me more Marte Mapu! I continue to be intrigued by his length and anticipation and he seems to improve each time he takes the field. -MD
Outside of quarterback, what position would be your biggest offseason priority?
It's a toss-up between offensive tackle and wide receiver. Whoever is more highly rated at the time of the pick. -FK
Fixing the offensive line. There will be major changes up front, including both tackle spots, and that will be the top priority after quarterback. -PP
Offensive line. Sorry if I offend those prioritizing receivers but everything on offense starts and stops with the o-line. -AF
Offensive tackle. When you look around the league, the best teams now are winning the line of scrimmage: 49ers, Eagles, Lions, Ravens, etc. They all have great O-Lines. Not to mention, there's an argument to be made tackle has been this team's biggest issue for two straight seasons. At some point, you have to fix it. -EL
I'm with the group on the tackle spot. Until they have at least one answer on the edge of their offense I can't see them doing much to challenge defenses, no matter who their quarterback is. -MD
If you could only re-sign one of the below pending free agents who would your choice be?
- Kyle Dugger
- Michael Onwenu
- Josh Uche
- Hunter Henry
Onwenu. There's enough work to be done on the offensive line as it is without losing him. Ideally, tackle is addressed so Big Mike can move back to his more natural guard position. -FK
Based on my previous answer I'd go with Onwenu. Otherwise the Patriots will be looking for a minimum of three new starters along the offensive line. -PP
This one hurts to think about -- I really respect and appreciate all four of them. Gun to my head? Big Mike, who was a bright spot of an o-line that limited this team all year. -AF
Onwenu. Whether he's a guard or tackle, Onwenu is a rock solid offensive lineman that makes your line better. They can't make the same mistakes they did with Joe Thuney, Shaq Mason, and Ted Karras. Don't let good offensive lineman walk out the door. I'm giving Onwenu the bag regardless of where they view his position long term.-EL
I'm zagging here for another perspective and I'll go with Hunter Henry. A veteran tight end is a quarterback's best friend and Henry has been consistently productive in three years with the team. The cupboards are barren behind him and it's hard to choose another veteran tight end from free agency or a rookie and expect to get much of anything from the position. As much as it hurts, I think there are other players who can do a suitable job replacing the rest of the options. It would hurt to lose Onwenu, no question, but it might just have to be Sidy Sow there next year. -MD
The Patriots are going for 16-straight vs. the Jets this weekend, what is your most memorable Pats-Jets matchup?
Tuna Bowl I. Bill Parcells had just left to become head coach of the Jets. The first game for the Patriots against their former coach was on Sept. 14, 1997. It was an overtime thriller that had the atmosphere and intensity of a playoff match. The Patriots won, 27-24 in a game Robert Kraft told Pete Carroll, "You CAN NOT lose" (just kidding, maybe). -FK
I'd say the Monday night matchup back in 2010 when the teams met in a showdown for the AFC East crown. Tom Brady threw for about 8,000 yards and the Patriots blew out Rex Ryan's team 45-3. -PP
THE BUTT FUMBLE! I still remember exactly where I was and what I was doing when that play went down in infamy. Aside from that? A random December 21st win back in 2014. It was the first Pats-Jets game I attended. I got so harassed in my Brady jersey at MetLife it made me never want to go back ever again. I think it was a 1 p.m. game but I was still shivering at 10 p.m. -AF
Unfortunately, it's a bad memory despite the Patriots mostly dominating the Jets recently. To this day, I still can't believe they lost the 2010 playoff game. Besides the perfect season, it's the most surprising Patriots loss of my lifetime. -EL
Yup, it's the Butt Fumble game. Thanksgiving night, I was surrounded by non-Patriots-fans and no one could believe how sideways it went for the Jets. It was great, especially after that 2010 playoff game Evan mentioned. It cleansed the palate from that loss, albeit almost two years later. -MD
Bonus question: How would you be spending a snow day off from school when you were a kid?
Outside all day. Sledding, tackle football, snowball fights. You come home soaking wet but feeling great. FK
Most snow days were spent playing street hockey in the freshly plowed post office parking lot. I was an elite snow goaltender – simply could not beat me glove side. -PP
Snow days were magical. My siblings and I would make tunnels and forts in our yard for hours, or, if we were lucky, my dad was home to take us sledding down the big hill at Ludlow Country Club. When it got too cold I got unlimited time on the family computer to play Sims 2. Good times. -AF
Neighborhood football games were great, but I have to give it to Bob Barker and the Price is Right. Whether you're sick or home for a snow day, the price is always right. -EL
Defying death on my neighbor's overgrown sledding hill was a lot of fun and somehow there were never any hospital trips despite the size of the jumps we'd build. King of the hill on a plow mound was also a good time. Snow days were the best. -MD
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