Can Patriots stop the deep ball?

New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez has been criticized for a lot of things this season. Most of it is justified.

But Sanchez is excelling in at least one area: the deep pass. Sanchez already has nine completions of 20 yards or more this season. He has a 115.8 passer rating when throwing deep, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

This ties in well with New York’s huge rivalry game Sunday against the New England Patriots. New England’s defense is ranked 28th against the pass and has been horrible stopping the deep ball. The Patriots have allowed an NFL-high 16 passes of 20 yards or more and five touchdowns of at least 20 yards, second-most in the league.

The Jets are huge underdogs to the Patriots, but statistically the deep pass is one way they can even the playing field. Sanchez is connecting on the deep ball with receivers like Jeremy Kerley and Stephen Hill. Look for New York to test New England’s struggling secondary.