Thu Oct 17 2:10pm ET
By DENNIS WASZAK Jr.
AP Pro Football Writer
New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold throws during the first half of an NFL football game against the Dallas Cowboys, Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)
New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady passes under pressure from the New York Giants in the first half of an NFL football game, Thursday, Oct. 10, 2019, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) Tom Brady and the New England Patriots are still rolling right along with a high-powered offense and a stingy defense that has their record blemish-free.
The New York Jets look a bit different, though, from the team Bill Belichick's bunch beat 30-14 less than a month ago. And, it all starts at quarterback.
Luke Falk was under center then, making his first NFL start and looking overwhelmed and overmatched. Sam Darnold is back this time around, fully recovered from mononucleosis and coming off one of the best performances of his young career.
''He's a big, strong kid that can stand in the pocket and he's hard to tackle,'' Belichick said. ''He's not an easy guy to bring down. He's big, he can see and find guys under pressure.''
Darnold showed no signs of rust after missing three games because of his illness, going 23 of 32 for 338 yards and two TDs with an INT in a 24-22 win over Dallas and being selected the AFC's offensive player of the week.
It was a big boost for what had been a badly struggling Jets offense. Darnold's day was highlighted by his 92-yard touchdown throw to Robby Anderson, the longest offensive play in the NFL this season and the second-longest in franchise history.
Now, Darnold and the Jets hope to use that momentum to get something going against the Patriots' top-ranked defense at MetLife Stadium in a prime-time showdown.
''You've got to continue to grind,'' Darnold said. ''We know that after a good win, you've got to come right back in here because we got a tough one Monday night against the Pats. We know what our job is, we've just got to come in and get back to work.''
The Patriots are off to a 6-0 start for the fourth time in team history, with a chance to get to 7-0 for just the third time. They also have a chance to sweep the two-game regular-season series against the Jets for the fourth straight year.
Brady is 28-6 against the Jets in the regular season, including seven straight wins. He's also 16-7 in Monday night games, including 2-0 against New York. Meanwhile, Belichick is 18-8 on Monday nights - but just 9-7 in those games on the road.
''Monday night is always a high-energy game,'' Belichick said. ''We'll point to that and know it's always tough down there in New York. So, we need to have a good week here and be ready to go.''
Here are some other things to know for the latest Patriots-Jets showdown:
BEEN A WHILE
The Jets and Patriots play on a Monday night for the eighth time, and New York leads those matchups 4-3.
The previous time the AFC East rivals squared off on ''Monday Night Football'' was in 2010, when New England cruised to a 45-3 victory.
It's also the first time the Patriots are playing a Monday night game on the road against the Jets since 2005, when they won 31-21.
The Patriots entered Week 7 allowing a league-low eight points per game. One of the reasons is how stingy their defense has been on third down.
New England has held teams to an NFL-low 10 of 73 (13.7 percent) conversion rate in those situations. The fewest third downs allowed in a 16-game season is 49 by the 1991 New Orleans Saints.
In their Week 3 win over the Jets, the Patriots did not allow a third-down conversion, which is something New England has accomplished five times since 2000. Only five teams have not allowed a third down twice in the same season - the Packers (2005), Eagles (2009), Giants (2010), Dolphins (2011) and Saints (2018).
Le'Veon Bell hasn't had a breakout-type game for the Jets, but the fluid quarterback situation certainly hasn't helped.
With Darnold back and the offensive line improving the past few weeks, the star running back could start seeing some more opportunities to make plays. He has 256 yards rushing and a TD on 85 carries for a 3.0 average, and 28 catches for 169 yards and a score.
''Hopefully we can open it up a little bit for him,'' coach Adam Gase said. ''We've seen a lot of loaded boxes, he's had a lot of tough runs. He's made the most of what he's had and probably gotten us more than what we should have.''
WELCOME BACK, WATSON
Tight end Ben Watson is back for another stint with the Patriots and it's right on time for an offense looking for some stability and more production from the position.
The 38-year-old Watson was re-signed by New England on Wednesday, less than a week after being released. Belichick left the door open for Watson to return, saying he was cut simply because there wasn't an available roster spot once he returned from serving a four-game suspension for a positive banned substance test following last season.
Circumstances changed when Matt LaCosse injured his knee during the Patriots' win over the Giants on Thursday.
Without Rob Gronkowski, the Patriots haven't gotten a ton of production in the pass game from their tight ends. LaCosse and Ryan Izzo have combined for only nine catches for 169 yards.
Michael Bennett will be missing from the Patriots' defensive huddle on Monday night.
The defensive end was suspended for what he said in a statement to ESPN was a ''philosophical disagreement'' with defensive line coach Bret Bielema. Bennett also offered an apology for any distraction it might have created.
Belichick declined to comment when asked about the suspension this week.
The Patriots traded for the 11-year veteran in March, but his usage has steadily decreased over New England's first six games. Bennett has started just once and played a season-low 11 snaps in the Patriots' win over the Giants in Week 6.
San Francisco 49ers running back Raheem Mostert rushed six times for 13 yards and caught two passes for 14 yards in Week 11 against the Arizona Cardinals. With the Niners falling behind early, the running attack managed just 34 yards Sunday as quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo and rookie wideout Deebo Samuel shined. Mosterts quiet day is a bummer considering the absence of Matt Breida (ankle), but the entire ground game got nothing going. Mostert continues to show flashes but has done little to merit serious fantasy attention. Hell be a volatile flex play if Breida is held out again in Week 12 against the Green Bay Packers.
The San Francisco 49ers Defense recorded two takeaways and four sacks while allowing 26 points in Week 11s victory against the Arizona Cardinals. The Niners were sluggish early, getting blitzed by rookie quarterback Kyler Murray to a 0-16 deficit before tightening the screws in the second half. Both takeaways came late in the fourth quarter via fumble recoveries, including a laughable lateral play by the Cardinals that the Niners scooped up for a touchdown to end the game. Despite yielding points, the defense again made enough plays to win and remain fantasy-relevant. Theyll have another tough test in Week 12 against the Green Bay Packers but remain a must-start unit.
San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Kendrick Bourne netted four of six targets for 31 yards and a touchdown in Week 11 against the Arizona Cardinals. Bourne was the clear No. 2 option behind rookie Deebo Samuel but played ahead of a hobbled Emmanuel Sanders (ribs) and Marquise Goodwin. His third score of the season came from two yards out in the fourth quarter. Bourne continues to see regular snaps as hes firmly surpassed Dante Pettis (zero targets) on the depth chart. He could merit a deep-league waiver claim but will just be a low-floor WR5 in Week 12 against the Green Bay Packers.
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo completed 34 of 45 passes for 424 yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions in Week 11s victory against the Arizona Cardinals. The Niners fell behind early and managed just 34 rushing yards on the day, leaving it to Jimmy G to lead the comeback. He found backup tight end Ross Dwelley twice inside five yards for his first two scores before connecting with wideout Kendrick Bourne for his third touchdown. Garoppolos final score was the decisive game-winner when he found running back Jeffery Wilson darting down the middle for a 25-yard go-ahead touchdown. Despite the banner day, Garoppolos two picks give him 10 for the year, including a near fourth quarter back-breaker in the red-zone. However, he got the job done despite missing tight end George Kittle (ankle, knee). Garoppolo will be a QB2 in Week 12 against the Green Bay Packers.
San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders (ribs) nabbed three balls for 33 yards before exiting with a rib injury. Entering the game questionable, Sanders saw five targets before aggravating his injury midway through the game. The 10-year veteran looked noticeably hobbled in limited snaps, gingerly getting up after each hit. In his absence, rookie wideout Deebo Samuel went off for 134 yards. Its probable Sanders will be limited this week in practice and be a game-time decision again in Week 12 against the Green Bay Packers. Samuel will be a WR3 operating as the de facto No. 1 receiver.
The Los Angeles Rams Defense tallied three sacks and an interception while holding the Chicago Bears to just seven points in Week 11. The Rams will have a very tough test against the Baltimore Ravens next week and are probably best avoided.
Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald had two sacks against the Chicago Bears in Week 11. That makes five games in a row he has reached the quarterback. He added four tackles (three solo) and batted down a pass. Donald remains a solid DL1 in individual defensive formats.
Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff was 11-for-18 for 173 yards, no touchdowns and one interception in Week 11 against the Chicago Bears. That was the fewest amount of attempts he has had as a starter. The Rams surprisingly relied on the run and were able to secure the victory. Goff's play has to worry his owners in fantasy as he's inconsistent and downright scary to play in poor matchups. He'll have another tough matchup next week, and he's a low-end QB1.
Los Angeles Rams running back Todd Gurley rushed 25 times for 97 yards and a touchdown in the Week 11 win over the Chicago Bears. He did lose a fumble, however. Gurley also caught three balls for 36 yards. The three catches tied for the team lead as the team finally rode on his back. His 25 carries were a season high by a large margin, and maybe now the team is willing to utilize him normally after he was used so sparingly to this point. He'll face the Baltimore Ravens next week.
Detroit Lions rookie tight end T.J. Hockenson was quiet once again, posting just one catch on two targets for six yards in Week 11. There are just too many mouths to feed on this Lions squad for Hockenson to consistently get targets. Hockenson has surpassed the 32-yard receiving mark just once since his outlier Week 1 performance, while also putting up three single-digit receiving yard performances in that time. His floor is quite an ugly one with or without Matthew Stafford (back) in the lineup, making him a very hard sell going forward. The Lions will face the lowly Redskins in Week 12. Hockenson will be nothing more than a boom-or-bust TE2 option in that matchup.
Los Angeles Rams running back Malcolm Brown had five carries for 15 yards and a touchdown in Week 11. It was Brown's first useful day in fantasy since Week 1 when he vultured two touchdowns. You can't bank on that week to week, but he needs to be handcuffed to starting running back Todd Gurley. Rookie Darrell Henderson didn't see any action, which means Brown has first dibs on touches after Gurley again.
Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp was limited to three catches for 53 yards in Week 11 against the Chicago Bears. The Rams completed just 11 passes and clearly planned around the run with wide receivers Robert Woods (personal) and Brandin Cooks (concussion) out. He caught all of his targets, and one of them went for 50 yards. Kupp has now had two dreadful weeks in a row and hopes to turn the tides next week against the Baltimore Ravens.
Los Angeles Rams tight end Gerald Everett caught the only ball thrown to him in Week 11 for 20 yards. The team clearly focused on running the ball, and they didn't take many shots down the field. Everett should have more opportunities next week against the Baltimore Ravens.
New York Jets tight end Daniel Brown caught his only target for a 20-yard touchdown in a win Sunday in Washington. Brown got the scoring going with a touchdown to cap a 75-yard opening drive touchdown, the fourth week in a row New York has found the end zone on their first drive. That would be all for Brown in the game, however, as starting tight end Ryan Griffin had a big afternoon. As a backup tight end on a disappointing offense, Brown has no fantasy value.
New York Jets wide receiver Demaryius Thomas made four catches for 44 yards in a win over the Redskins Sunday. Thomas was targeted five times as his target share continues to be wildly inconsistent from game-to-game. As the third wide receiver on the depth chart it's hard to trust Thomas in anything other than a very deep league as his targets have been too unpredictable and he's yet to find the end zone.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston completed 30-of-51 passes for 313 yards, two touchdowns, and four interceptions in the Bucs Week 11 loss to the Saints. Winston was unable to get out of his own way the entire afternoon, and all but sealed the win for the Saints after tossing a pick-six with just 5:07 remaining to put the Saints up by 17. Winston is currently on track to throw more than 28 interceptions on the season but has still been able to put up useful fantasy numbers. He will have a much easier matchup in Week 12 with the Falcons on deck. Fantasy owners can slot him in as a low-end QB1 for that one.
New York Jets wide receiver Jamison Crowder made five catches for 76 yards and a touchdown against his former team Sunday. Crowder has now scored a touchdown three straight weeks as he continues to be Sam Darnold's favorite target. Crowder has had 76 or more yards in five of seven games played with Darnold healthy and has been his most trusted receiver in the red zone. Fantasy managers should continue to start Crowder with confidence with a run of good matchups still to come for the Jets.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Peyton Barber did not have a rushing attempt the entire afternoon in Week 11 but was able to save his day with a six-yard touchdown catch. Barber caught 2-of-2 targets for 11 yards on the day but was totally uninvolved after scoring late in the fourth quarter with the Bucs in a deep hole. Barber's usage has continued to decrease weekly as Ronald Jones II has become the clear No.1 option in this backfield. Fantasy owners who are still holding on to Barber can drop him now. Needless to say, he will not be a recommended start in Week 12 against the Falcons.
New York Jets wide receiver Robby Anderson caught one of three targets for six yards and a touchdown in a win over the Redskins Sunday. Anderson has now reached the point in fantasy where he disappoints his owners even when he scores a touchdown as this is the second straight week he's made only one catch. Quarterback Sam Darnold just seems to have a better connection with Jamison Crowder and Ryan Griffin than with Anderson as Darnold has struggled to get the ball downfield to Anderson all season. He'll remain a boom-or-bust flex option in deeper leagues with more favorable matchups on the horizon.
New York Jets running back Le'Veon Bell carried the ball 18 times for 59 yards and a touchdown in a win over the Redskins. Bell also had two catches in the game to give him 20 total touches for the seventh time in 11 games this season. This is the second straight good-not-great performance from Bell where he saved his fantasy day with a touchdown. It's fair to wonder if the Jets start to split carries more with Bilal Powell, the latter received seven carries for the second straight week. Powell averaged six yards per carry to Bell's 3.3 so they may rely more on the fresh legs more moving forward. Despite the inefficiency from Bell, his typical volume makes him a must-start RB in fantasy.