New England Patriots Must Contain Jets RB Chris Ivory


This week, the New England Patriots host a division rival in what is the most important game of the early season slate. The 4-1 New York Jets will travel in to Foxborough to try to give the Patriots their first loss of the season.

The Jets have gotten off to an incredible start under new head coach Todd Bowles, and appear to be legitimate playoff contenders. The Patriots are clearly one of the best teams in the league, but the Jets are a dangerous squad, who undoubtedly have the ammunition to come out of Gillette Stadium with a win.

Slowing down the pass rush, establishing the run and figuring out a way to slow down Brandon Marshall are all huge keys for the Patriots on Sunday. However, if they want to remain undefeated after this week, nothing is more important than stopping the run. That means containing running back Chris Ivory.

Ivory has been incredible for the Jets this season, rushing for 460 yards and four touchdowns on 83 attempts, which equals out to a whopping 5.5 yards per carry average. He is the third leading rusher in the entire NFL, trailing only Matt Forte and Devonta Freeman. That said, both Forte and Freeman have far more carries than Ivory on the season.

In fact, Ivory has only played in four games this season. His 115 rushing yards per game is the highest total by a fairly wide margin in the entire league. Rookie phenom Todd Gurley‘s 104.7 yards per contest is the second highest total.

Ivory has a nearly unstoppable combination of power and quickness that makes him a huge threat to score for literally anywhere on the field. He has always been among the most dangerous backs in the entire league, but injuries have always held him back.

Ivory is healthier now, than ever before, and he is producing at an extremely high level, and is a huge reason for the Jets’ 4-1 start to the season.

The Patriots are not exactly loaded with run stuffers up front. Through their five games, New England has allowed 114.6 yards per game on the ground, the 11th highest total in the entire league.

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The Patriots’ defense is solid up front, with their linebackers being the strength of the defense, but a lot of their players are best suited to defend the pass. Defensive lineman like Chandler Jones, Rob Ninkovich and Jabaal Sheard are more pass rushers, as is defensive tackle Dominique Easley.

At linebacker, Jamie Collins is a freak who can make plays all over the field, but he is better in coverage, and even as a pass rusher than he is against the run. He can be good against the run, but the Patriots rely on Collins to make plays all over the field. Dont’a Hightower also has big responsibilities at the linebacker position for the Patriots, and he could be a key for the team when it comes to stopping Ivory.

Unfortunately, Hightower is currently dealing with a rib injury, and his status is questionable for the game this weekend. Hightower suffered the injury in Week 5 against the Dallas Cowboys, and missed last week’s contest against the Indianapolis Colts. If the Patriots expect to contain Ivory on Sunday, Hightower needs to be in there and be effective.

The Jets are undoubtedly going to try to use Ivory to work the clock and keep Tom Brady and the offense off of the field. Ivory is one of the most dynamic talents at the RB position in the NFL, and the Patriots’ defense can be exploited with the run.

This important aspect of the game is a disadvantage for the Patriots, and I could see it becoming an issue for the team. That being said, the Patriots could simply stack the box and make Ryan Fitzpatrick beat them. Regardless, I have faith in Bill Belichick to have a great plan of attack.

If the Jets can run the ball with consistency, they are going to be able to keep this game close. If the Patriots can force their hand, and make Fitzpatrick beat them through the air, this one could get ugly early.

Simply put, if the Patriots want to cruise to an easy victory on Sunday, they must step up and stop the run. Brady is great, but it is hard for him to impact the game from the bench.

Next: Patriots Should Sign CB Finnegan

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