FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- For New York Jets quarterback Geno Smith to beat the New England Patriots on Sunday, he hopes to do something he's struggled to accomplish this year: record a turnover-free game.
"Going up against a team like this, a quarterback like Tom [Brady], you've got to play mistake-free ball," Smith said. "You still got to be aggressive and still want to move the chains and have explosive plays. But you have to play mistake-free because you give that team too many opportunities and they can capitalize."
Turnovers have plagued Smith this season, and they once again were a problem in Sunday's 19-6 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers. Smith entered the game coming off the first turnover-free game of his career, a come-from behind 30-28 win over the Atlanta Falcons, but that momentum didn't carry over. Smith couldn't get into a groove, and threw a costly interception while attempting to throw the ball away with the Jets at the Steelers' 23-yard line in the third quarter. He finished 19-of-34 for 201 yards with zero touchdowns and two interceptions, giving him 10 this season and four multi-interception games.
"There was a number of things that can be said as to why I made mistakes," Smith said. "The key thing is to try and eliminate those mistakes and try and never have them, but if you do, you have to learn from it and that's something I've been facing so far in my career here. It's something that is kind of expected and I got to learn from and improve on."
Smith is working to improve his turnover-prone ways as he and the Jets prepare for a pivotal Week 7 showdown with the Patriots at MetLife Stadium. In his first meeting with the Patriots on Sept. 12, Smith had a rough game as he completed just 15-of-35 passes for 214 yards and tossed three interceptions in the Jets' 13-10 loss. He had a chance to be the hero, but his three interceptions came in the fourth quarter.
Heading into Sunday, Smith said he has a good feel for the Patriots and stressed that he and the team need to execute. He called it a "heated" rivalry and said Patriots are "very polished." The Jets' offense actually had more yards than the Patriots, 318-232, in the previous matchup.
"I think every single guy felt bitter after that loss on the road that Thursday night," Smith said. "But we've put it behind us and we've learned from it and gained experience from it and moved on."