The Jets defense gave the Patriots a hard time for much of the first half, but New England found success on back-to-back drives just before halftime and things are a bit more lopsided on the scoreboard as a result.
Dion Lewis caught Tom Brady‘s second touchdown pass of the day four minutes after Brandin Cooks caught the first and the Patriots are up 21-3 at the break. As long as things don’t swing drastically back the other way, that should leave them on course for the top seed in the AFC playoffs.
Brady has been pressured often and hit a handful of times by a Jets defense that’s paid a lot of attention to tight end Rob Gronkowski. That’s worked out well enough that Gronkowski hasn’t even been targeted, which hasn’t kept the Patriots from taking the lead but could hurt Gronkowski’s bottom line. He entered Sunday’s game in need of 11 catches or 111 receiving yards to collect the final $2.5 million in incentives in his contract.
It may not be time to rule that out just yet, but it seems unlikely that New England is going to need to go the tight end’s way too often to finish off the Jets and the 2017 regular season.