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Inside the Jets-Patriots matchup

Enough hype. Enough meaningless chatter. Let's focus on some of the real issues of Sunday night's showdown, with help from ESPN Stats & Information:

MARK SANCHEZ'S 2011 PASSING

Category -- Play Action -- No Play Action

Comp pct .... 61.2 ............ 56.3

Yards/Att .... 8.6 ................ 6.3

TD-Int ......... 5-2 ................ 8-5

1st Dwn pct .. 43.3 .......... 29.7

Analysis: Now you see why the Jets want to run the ball. Sanchez is a better quarterback when throwing off play-action. More opportunities could open up if Patriots S Patrick Chung (foot) doesn't play or has limited effectiveness; he hasn't done much at all this week in practice.

TOM BRADY VS. NUMBER OF PASS RUSHERS

Category -- 4 or Fewer -- 5 or More

Comp pct ............ 64.9 ............. 69.5

Yds/att ............... 7.9 ............... 10.1

TD-Int ............... 11-9 .............. 9-1

Total QBR .......... 75.4 ............. 85.9

Analysis: The Jets have altered their approach to Brady -- and the new approach is the right one, based on the numbers. In the 2009 and 2010 regular seasons, they sent extra pressure on 48 percent of the pass plays, but it dropped to 22 percent in the last two meetings (2010 playoffs and last month in Foxborough). The Jets have put more emphasis on coverage, and that appears to be the way to force him into mistakes. Of Brady's 10 interceptions, nine have come against four or fewer rushers.

Ah, but wait a second: Since losing to the Patriots in Week 5, Rex Ryan has been slightly more aggressive with his pass rush. DB blitzes have increased from 24.4 percent to 28.4 percent and 5+ rushes have gone from 39 percent to 41 percent, marginal jumps. I think they'll stick with the coverage-based approach on Sunday night, mixing in DB blitzes out of four-man rushes.

BACK TO POWER FOOTBALL

Analysis: For the last few weeks, you've been inundated with talk about how the Jets have returned to their Ground & Pound philosophy on offense. It's working, and that's why I don't think they'll deviate even though the Patriots' pass defense is ranked 32nd. Here are the numbers that prove the Ground & Pound renaissance:

• In Weeks 1-5, the Jets called runs on only 37 percent of their plays. Since Week 6, they've called designed runs on 51.6 percent of their offensive snaps, third highest in the league.

• In Weeks 1-5, the Jets averaged 24 shotgun snaps per game. Since Week 6, they've used the shotgun on 15.7 plays per game, tied for the fifth fewest in the league.

FLIPPING THE SCRIPT

Analysis: Since losing to the Patriots in Week 5, the Jets are 3-0 and have been playing some of the best football in the league. Don't believe me? Check it out:

Pts per game ........ 26.0 ....... 7th in NFL

Pts allowed ........... 12.7 ....... 2nd

Avg differential ..... +13.3 ...... 3rd

IS LESS BRADY BETTER?

Analysis: Everybody knows the Patriots are a passing team, but they've actually fared better the last two-plus years when making a concerted effort to run the ball. That showed up in the last meeting against the Jets, when BenJarvus Green-Ellis rushed for a career-high with 136 rushing yards and two TDs. The last Patriots RB to top 130 with two TDs was -- are you ready for this? -- Curtis Martin in 1996.

I wouldn't be shocked if the Patriots try to create a semblance of balance. Why not? It worked last time, and the Jets have had their share of hiccups against the run. Plus, the Jets are a nightmare for quarterbacks, holding opposing passers to a 59.5 rating.

Patriots' Record by Called-pass pct. (2009-2011, including playoffs)

Called Passes --- W-L

Over 60 pct. ..... 11-11

Under 60 pct ..... 18-2