7:20 p.m. Thursday at U.S. Bank Stadium (Ch. 11, 100.3-FM)
ABOUT THE PATRIOTS
• The Patriots (6-4) escaped with a 14th straight win over the New York Jets thanks to an 84-yard punt return for a touchdown — the NFL's first this season — by rookie corner Marcus Jones in the final minute. New England's 10-3 victory at a cold and windy Foxborough marked the Patriots' fifth win in the last six games.
• Running back Damien Harris returned from an illness (and hamstring injury before that) and had 93 yards from scrimmage against the Jets, complementing lead back Rhamondre Stevenson, who had 82 yards from scrimmage. The backfield duo leads a sputtering Patriots offense that has scored as many touchdowns (two) as their own defense and special teams over the last three games.
• Only the Cowboys, who sacked Kirk Cousins seven times in Sunday's loss, have more sacks than the Patriots, led by edge rusher Matt Judon. The former Ravens draft pick has a league-leading 13 sacks, including seven in the last four games. The Patriots are also top five in takeaways: seven defenders have shared in 11 interceptions.
PLAYER SPOTLIGHT | QB Mac Jones
• Jones, the 2021 first-round pick out of Alabama, was efficient but ineffective in poor conditions against the Jets — his fourth start since returning from a midseason ankle injury. He completed 23 of 27 throws for 246 yards as the Patriots offense punted seven times and missed two field goals.
• Scoring touchdowns has been a problem for Jones and the Patriots in his second season. He's yet to throw for more than one score in a game (four touchdowns to seven picks) after doing so seven times as a rookie with former coordinator Josh McDaniels, who is now the Raiders head coach.
• Jones on whether the Patriots offense has an identity: "Every offense has the things that they do well. But you also want to be able to do everything. ... It varies from game to game, right? You're not necessarily going to do the same things."
COACH SPEAK | Bill Belichick
• Belichick, 70, is in his 23rd season as Patriots head coach with a 260-103 record in the regular season and 30-12 in the playoffs with six Super Bowl championships. The NFL's longest-tenured head coach has 327 career wins, including the postseason and five-year run with the Browns. Vikings head coach Kevin O'Connell, then a San Diego State quarterback, was a third-round pick by Belichick's Patriots in 2008.
• Belichick is once again overseeing a dominant defense ranking second in points allowed (16.9 per game) and fourth in yardage allowed (302.8). New England is the league's least-penalized defense and ranks fourth in the red zone and ninth on third downs, according to Football Outsiders.
• Belichick when asked about safety Harrison Smith's ability to disguise intentions before the snap: "Well that's the old defense, but yeah he's really good at it, disguising what they do in his alignments. Very experienced, smart player. Does all the things a smart player does at that position."