BOSTON (CBS) -- It's rare for the first Pats-Jets matchup of the year to come so late in the season, but that's what it will be in 2016 as the two teams prepare to meet twice over the next five weeks.
The first meeting will take place in New Jersey this Sunday in a game that was moved off the 8:25 p.m. slot and into the 4:25 p.m. slot on account of the Jets being in a bad place at the moment. They enter the weekend with a 3-7 record, which has them in last place in the AFC East and owners of the third-worst record in the AFC.
The Patriots enter as clear favorites, but in a tough divisional matchup, wins rarely come easy.
Here's how the WBZ-TV and 98.5 The Sports Hub crew sees this one playing out.
Levan Reid, WBZ-TV Sports
So the Pats have a lot to be thankful for this holiday season. Primarily, while they are struggling to get their defense on track, they are playing teams that they can somewhat easily beat.
The Jets fall into that category. I understand lately every game with the Jets has been tough but this New York squad is looking forward to the end of the year and a long vacation.
Darrelle Revis has given up, Ryan Fitzpatrick is a mess and head coach Todd Bowles is facing those second-year blues.
The Pats have problems but not like the Jets. This game will be close but New England will get the victory.
Patriots 30, Jets 23
Rob "Hardy" Poole, 98.5 The Sports Hub
After all these years, scientists still aren't really sure how jet propulsion works. Is it wind? Is it a motor? Aeronautical engineers aren't sure, either.
Patriots 16, Jets 6
Adam Kaufman, WBZ NewsRadio 1030
In the spirit of the holiday, there's plenty to be thankful for if you're a Patriots fan.
Sure, the defense has been inconsistent and several perceived key contributors have regressed, like assumed pass-rushers Jabaal Sheard and Chris Long, or hopeful shutdown corner Logan Ryan. And, granted, it's not ideal Rob Gronkowski's dealing with the chest issue and may not play this weekend, but we can all agree it's better to have a healthy Gronk in January than November.
Of course, there's the Tom Brady knee issue as well, but there's simply no way he won't be on the field on Sunday.
In spite of it all, the Pats are still 8-2, tied for the best record in the AFC. And, as they deal with their growing list of concerns as the postseason approaches, they're coming off an eventually-comfortable win over the Niners and now get to face a Jets team with arguably the NFL's worst quarterback in Ryan Fitzpatrick, the league's 29th-ranked scoring offense, and a middle of the road at best pass-defense.
New York's also next to last in the league with 8 total takeaways and has the third-most giveaways (20).
In other words, if you're eating leftover turkey Sunday and pass out on the couch around halftime, you shouldn't miss much.
Patriots 35, Jets 14
Mike "Sarge" Riley, 98.5 The Sports Hub
On paper, it looks like it could be a big day for the Patriots secondary as Ryan Fitzpatrick has thrown 13 interceptions this season. But the Patriots Defense has just 9 turnovers through 10 games. I think this will be closer than we all originally anticipated.
Patriots 26, Jets 21
Listen to Sarge and WBZ-TV's Levan Reid discuss their predictions in the podcast below:
Dan Roche, WBZ-TV Sports
I know the Jets are 3-7, but this is always a tough game for the Patriots ... especially down in New Jersey. If I'm the Jets, with the loss of Alan Branch and the way the Pats had trouble tackling up front last week at San Francisco, I run, run, run on offense and hope that loosens things up for Ryan Fitzpatrick.
The Jets aren't as good as they've been in years past on D.
Patriots 34, Jets 27
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