The New England Patriots have pretty much ruled the AFC East from the moment Tom Brady joined the starting lineup in 2001, although some of the offseason buzz had the New York Jets poised to challenge the reigning Super Bowl champions for division supremacy. Instead, the gap between the teams looks wider than ever entering Sunday's matchup in Foxborough, Mass.
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New England has looked every bit capable of repeating as world champions in lopsided victories over Pittsburgh and Miami, becoming the fourth team in the Super Bowl era to allow three points or fewer in the first two weeks. "Those guys are one of the best dynasties ever to play the game," New York running back Le'Veon Bell, who was a part of plenty of high-profile matchups versus the Patriots as a member of the Steelers, told reporters. "We've got to go out there and play football and match their intensity on the road." The Jets are already without starting quarterback Sam Darnold (mononucleosis) and lost backup Trevor Siemian in Monday night's 23-3 loss to Cleveland, forcing them to turn to third-stringer Luke Falk for Sunday's matchup. "We've got our work cut out for us this week," insisted New England coach Bill Belichick, who has beaten New York six straight times overall and eight in a row at Gillette Stadium. "We're going to have to do a good job across the board."
TV: 1 p.m. ET, CBS. LINE: Patriots -22. O/U: 43.5
ABOUT THE JETS (0-2): Falk, a sixth-round pick by Tennessee in 2018, acquitted himself fairly well in light of the circumstances, finishing 20-of-25 for 198 yards after Siemian was hurt Monday night, but was unable to get the team into the end zone. Bell was the focal point of the offense with 68 yards rushing on 21 carries and 10 receptions for 61 yards, but New York will need more from its wide receiver corps that has been led by Jamison Crowder with 18 catches through two games. With linebacker C.J. Mosley likely to miss a second straight game, the onus is on defensive end Leonard Williams to make an impact after failing to record a sack through two games.
ABOUT THE PATRIOTS (2-0): Antonio Brown continues to generate headlines off the field as the league investigates accusations of sexual assault and rape against him, but he was a difference-maker in his New England debut with four receptions for 56 yards and a touchdown at Miami. Brady, who has thrown for five scores and 605 yards, was listed on the injury report with a calf issue but practiced Thursday and appeared to have no limitations. The only blip so far for the Patriots is an inconsistent running game, although Sony Michel was much better against the Dolphins after an ugly season debut. The offensive line already has lost two starters after left tackle Isaiah Wynn went on injured reserve.
1. Brady threw for 533 yards and six TDs in two matchups versus New York in 2018.
2. Bell averaged 151 yards from scrimmage in three games versus the Patriots.
3. New England has not allowed a first-half point in four straight games, including the Super Bowl and AFC title game last season.
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Key Players to Watch
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New England Patriots
- PersonalQues Sun | questionable
White has missed the last two games as he was away from the team due to a death in the family. It is unknown if he will return to the fold against the Chiefs on Sunday.
- AnkleOut indefinitely | I-R
Uche has been ticketed for the injured reserve list with an ankle injury, and it is uncertain when the team will activate him.
- NeckQues Sun | questionable
Keene has been held out of the past three games due to a neck injury, and it is unclear if he will make his season debut Sunday versus the Chiefs.
- ThumbOut indefinitely | I-R
Andrews has been entered on the injured reserve list while he is mend from surgery to repair a broken thumb on his right hand. There is no timetable for recovery.
- CalfQues Sun | questionable
Wynn has a calf injury, and it has yet to be established if he will be on the field for Sunday's battle with the Raiders.
- AnkleQues Sun | questionable
Dugger is hobbled by an ankle injury, and it is uncertain if he will be a participant in Sunday's game versus the Raiders.
- ShoulderQues Sun | questionable
Butler is dealing with a shoulder injury, and it is unknown if he will suit up against the Raiders on Sunday.
- KneeProb Sun | probable
Copeland is nursing a knee injury, but he is likely to be on the field Sunday against the Raiders.
New York Jets
- ConcussionQues Thurs | questionable
Wilson was held out of the previous game due to a concussion. It is uncertain if he will be cleared in time for Thursday's clash versus the Broncos.
- AnkleQues Thurs | questionable
Willis was forced from the previous game with an ankle injury, and there is no indication if it will take the field against the Broncos on Thursday.
- ShoulderQues Thurs | I-R
Smith has been placed on the Injured Reserve/Designated for Return list with a shoulder injury. The team has three weeks to activate him.
- AnkleOut Thurs | out
Perriman sat out the last game with a sprained ankle, and he will not be active against the Broncos on Thursday.
- RibsProb Thurs | probable
McDougald was lifted from the previous game with injured ribs, but his availability against the Broncos on Thursday is not in danger.
- KneeQues Thurs | questionable
Franklin-Myers has a knee injury, and it is unclear if he will play against the Broncos on Thursday.
- RibsQues Thurs | questionable
Hogan is dealing with injuries to his ribs and knee, leaving his status against the Broncos on Thursday up in the air.
- ShoulderQues Thurs | questionable
Jenkins is nursing a shoulder injury, and it is uncertain if he will be active Thursday against the Broncos.