5 Things to Know About Thursday’s Patriots-Jets Thanksgiving Day Game

The New England Patriots roll into East Rutherford, N.J. to face the rival New York Jets on Thanksgiving night. Kick-off is 8:20 p.m. Here’s what you need to know about the Week 12 match-up.

Note: Information courtesy of The New England Patriots Media Relations Department

Thanksgiving Day football is all about rivalries. So it is appropriate that 10 hours after Foxborough and Mansfield take the field the New England Patriots meet their biggest rivals - the New York Jets in East Rutherford, N.J.

The Pats will play on Thanksgiving for the fifth time in team history and their first in a Thanksgiving night game against the Jets.

The Patriots will look to improve to a 4-0 record in the division and earn a series sweep of the Jets with a win this week. The last time these two teams met,

This week’s game will be broadcast to a national audience by NBC and can be seen in the Boston area on WHDH-TV Channel 7. Al Michaels will handle play-by-play duties with Cris Collinsworth providing color. Michele Tafoya will serve as the sideline reporter.

98.5 FM, The Sports Hub, is the flagship station for the Patriots Radio Network. Play-by-play broadcaster Gil Santos is in his 36th season as the voice of the Patriots and will call the action. Former Patriots quarterback Scott Zolak will handle the color commentary.

Here's five things you need to know about Thursday's game:

1. Patriots History on Thanksgiving Day

This week’s game will mark the Patriots’ fifth appearance in a Thanksgiving Game.


Date Opponent Score

  • 11/22/1984 Dallas 17-20 (L)
  • 11/23/2000 Detroit 9-34 (L)
  • 11/28/2002 Detroit 20-12 (W)
  • 11/25/2010 Detroit 45-24 (W)

QB Tom Brady’s NFL debut came in a game against the Lions on Thanksgiving Day, 2000. In that game, he completed one of three passes for six yards while playing the final series of the game. Brady’s first career completion was a 6-yard pass to tight end Rod Rutledge against the Lions. Brady will be making his third start on Thanksgiving. Brady started against the Lions on Thanksgiving Day, 2002 and in 2010.

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick has coached seven times on Thanksgiving: twice as an assistant coach with the Detroit Lions (1976-77), once with the Denver Broncos (1978), once with the N.Y. Giants (1982), and three as the head coach of the New England Patriots (2000, 2002, 2010). He has a 4-3 record in those games.


Date Opponent Score Coaching Position

  • 1976 Buffalo 27-14 (W) Detroit’s Asst. Special Teams
  • 1977 Chicago 14-31 (L) Detroit’s Asst. SPT/TE/WRs
  • 1978 Detroit 14-17 (L) Denver’s Asst. SPT/Asst. to DC
  • 1982 Detroit 13-6 (W) Giants’ Special Teams/Linebackers
  • 2000 Detroit 9-34 (L) New England Head Coach
  • 2002 Detroit 20-12 (W) New England Head Coach
  • 2010 Detroit 45-24 (W) New England Head Coach

2. History of the Rivalry: Patriots-Jets Series at a Glance

The Patriots and Jets will meet for the 108th time, including three postseason games, since the series between the AFC East rivals began in 1960 and for the second time in 2012. The Patriots beat the Jets, 29-26 in overtime in the first meeting on Oct. 21 at Gillette Stadium.

The Patriots will be looking for their 15th series sweep and second straight sweep when they play this week. Last season, the Patriots earned their 14th sweep in the series following a 30-21 win at Gillette Stadium on Oct. 9 and a 37-16 victory in the rematch at MetLife Stadium in a Sunday Night Football game on Nov. 13. The Patriots victory over the Jets earlier in the season put them in front 54-52-1 in the all-time series.

The Patriots are 29-25-1 all-time in home games against the Jets, including 25-19 overall in Foxborough and 9-4 at Gillette Stadium.

The teams have played in the postseason three times, a 1985 Wild Card game, a 2006 Wild Card game and an AFC Divisional game in 2010. New England beat the Jets, 26-14, in 1985 at the Meadowlands on their way to Super Bowl XX. In 2006, the Patriots defeated the Jets, 37-16, at Gillette Stadium. The Jets defeated the Patriots, 28-21, in the 2010 playoff game.

New England is 25-14 against the Jets since Robert Kraft purchased the team in 1994. New England’s 54 victories over the Jets (including two playoff wins) are the second most over any single opponent, trailing only Buffalo with 64 all-time wins.

3. The Last Time the Patriots and Jets Met …

Rob Ninkovich forced and recovered a fumble on a sack of Jets QB Mark Sanchez in overtime to seal a 29-26 victory and push the Patriots into first place in the AFC East.

New England went in front on a 48-yard field goal by K Stephen Gostkowski on the first possession of overtime. Under the current overtime format, each team gets the ball unless the first team with the ball scores a touchdown. So, the Jets got the ball back after the Patriots managed a field goal.

With the Jets trying to drive for at least a game-tying field goal, Ninkovich and Jermaine Cunningham combined on the sack and Ninkovich punched the ball loose and recovered at the Jets’ 25-yard line. After a required replay, the rule was upheld and the Patriots escaped with a win despite squandering a 10-point fourth quarter lead in the final six minutes of regulation.

The Jets rallied from a 23-13 deficit on a 7-yard touchdown pass from Sanchez to TE Dustin Keller and a 43-yard field goal by K Nick Folk to take a 26-23 lead with 1:37 left to play. The Jets go-ahead field goal was set up when they forced and recovered a fumble by Devin McCourty on a kickoff return that allowed the Jets to start a drive at the New England 18-yard line.

QB Tom Brady led a 6-play, 54-yard drive to get in position for Gostkowski’s 43-yard field goal as time expired to send the game into overtime. Brady led a 12-play, 54-yard drive to set up Gostkowski’s 48-yarder in overtime.

New England took a 16-10 first half lead after scoring on offense, defense and special teams. After the Jets took their opening possession and took a 7-0 lead, McCourty returned the ensuing kickoff 104 yards for a touchdown to tie the game.

Then the offense came through on their next possession, marching 58 yards on seven plays before Brady connected with

TE Rob Gronkowski on a 17-yard touchdown pass for a 14-7 lead. The Patriots defense followed early in the second quarter when it forced a safety. Vince Wilfork got good penetration and Sanchez fumbled a handoff to RB Shonn Greene on a play from the Jets’ 12-yard line. The fumbled ball rolled into the end zone where Sanchez deliberately kicked the ball out of the end zone.

Folk kicked a 54-yard field goal as time expired in the first half to make it 16-10 at the break and then the Jets opened the second half with an 11-play, 65-yard drive that set up a 21-yard field goal to make it 16-13. New England answered with an 83-yard drive that ended when Brady connected with Gronkowski for their second touchdown on a 2-yard score.

4. What to Watch for Thursday


  • Bill Belichick (199) needs one more win to become the eighth NFL coach with 200 victories.


  • With one touchdown pass against the Jets, Tom Brady will extend his streak to 43 straight games with at least one touchdown pass and continue his third longest streak all time, behind Drew Brees (53-current) and Johnny Unitas (47).
  • Brady has 51 career 300-yard games in the regular season and needs one more to break a sixth place tie with Hall of Famer Dan Fouts (51) and move into a tie for fifth place with Kurt Warner (52).
  • Brady has two rushing touchdowns in 2012 and needs one more to tie his single-season career high of three set in 2011.
  • Brady tied Drew Brees with his ninth NFL game with four touchdowns, 300 yards and no interceptions against St. Louis and needs one more such game to be alone in first place.
  • Brady (42,955) needs 85 passing yards to move past Dan Fouts (43,040) into 10th place all time.
  • Brady (2,976) needs 24 passing yards for his 10th 3,000-yard season.


  • Stephen Gostkowski (7-of-10) needs one more 50-yard field goal to tie Adam Vinatieri (8-of-17) for most 50-yard field goals in Patriots history.
  • Gostkowski has two 50-yarders so far in 2012 and can become the first Patriots player with three 50-yard field goals in a single season.


  • Jerod Mayo needs to have a 10-plus-tackle game against the Jets for his ninth game in 2012 and his fifth straight game with 10 or more tackles. His career best is two four-game streaks with 10 or more tackles in 2010 and ten games in 2010 with 10 or more tackles.


  • Rob Ninkovich has a team-leading five forced fumbles. If he has one more forced fumble he will break a tie with Mike Vrabel (five in 2007) for the most forced fumbles for a Patriots player within the last 20 years.
  • Ninkovich has 6.0 sacks in 2012 and needs one more to set a career best. He had 6.5 sacks in 2011.


  • Wes Welker (16) needs one more 10-plus catch game to break a second place tie with Marvin Harrison (16) and Andre Johnson (16) and tie Jerry Rice (17) for the most 10-catch games in NFL history.
  • Welker needs one reception to extend his streak to 88 straight regular-season games with at least one reception as a member of the Patriots to extend his franchise record. Welker has an overall streak of 104 straight regular-season games with at least one reception, including his time with the Miami Dolphins.

5. Did You Know …

Since the 2010 season, the Patriots are 18-0 in the second half. In both 2010 and 2011, the Patriots were 8-0 in the second half of the season. Their last loss was in the 2009 season-finale at Houston, a 34-27 loss, on Jan. 3, 2010.


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