Jets fans can root for win over Patriots with clear conscience

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There have been conflicting emotions for Jets fans watching their team this season.

Somewhere during this miserable year, many fans decided it would be better to root against the Jets, hope they go 0-16, hire a new coach, land the No. 1 pick in the draft and take Clemson star Trevor Lawrence. That plan got blown up by the Jets winning in the last two weeks.

So now the 2-13 Jets travel to Foxborough to close out the season against a Patriots team that looks nothing like those we’ve grown accustomed to seeing.

This is a game that should unite Jets fans. The ones who have been rooting for draft position and the ones who could not root against their team no matter what should come together Sunday and root like mad for the Jets to beat the Patriots.

Yes, a win changes nothing. No one will be celebrating 3-13. But who outside of New England didn’t enjoy watching Bill Belichick throw a phone in frustration as the Bills delivered a beatdown at Gillette Stadium on Monday night?

A Jets win over the Patriots on Sunday won’t be nearly as satisfying for their fans as the playoff-bound Bills’ win on Monday night was for the Bills Mafia, but it can give you a pleasant Sunday afternoon and make you dream of better days ahead. For those obsessed with draft position, the Jets are locked into the No. 2 spot.

I can already hear the biggest concern: what if a win and a three-game winning streak save Adam Gase’s job? It’s not happening. Gase will be fired by Monday morning whether the Jets win or lose on Sunday.

Jets fans can put their Gase hatred aside for a few hours, knowing it is the last game you’ll have to watch him coach, and root for him and the Jets to beat the Patriots.

If it feels like a decade since the Jets won at Gillette Stadium, that’s because it has been. The last Jets’ win there was the AFC Divisional Playoff game win on Jan. 16, 2011. Since then, the Jets have lost nine straight times in Foxborough. Since 2016, the average margin of defeat has been 24.8 points.

Overall, the Jets have lost nine in a row to the Patriots and 13 of their last 14 games.

With Tom Brady in Tampa, this is the Jets’ best chance at a win in Foxborough in ages. The Jets are 4 ½ point underdogs on Sunday. That is the lowest spread for the Jets in a road game against the Patriots since the 2010 regular-season meeting when the Patriots were favored by four points.

Gillette Stadium has been a house of horrors for the Jets in the last decade. Stephen Hill dropped a pass that cost them a game in overtime in 2012 and sent that season into a spiral. Rex Ryan punched a wall in frustration there in 2014 after a 27-25 loss in his final season as the Jets coach. Bryce Petty actually started games there in 2016 and 2017. Petty, a Texan, played for the first time while it was raining in 2016 and it showed. Todd Bowles coached his final game for the Jets there in 2018, a 38-13 loss. Last year, the Jets started Luke Falk at quarterback against Brady and Co. and were destroyed.

A win Sunday won’t change the last decade, but at least you could watch Belichick squirm. This is a coach who has made your quarterback see ghosts and you see red over the last 20 years since walking away instead of being the “HC of the NYJ.”

This may be Sam Darnold’s last start at quarterback for the Jets and a chance for him to finally beat the Patriots. Darnold has only played two games against New England, missing three others with injuries or illness. He has been awful against Belichick. He is 0-2 with four interceptions, a 29.4 quarterback rating, his lowest against any team, a completion percentage of 45, two fumbles lost and an average of 126.5 passing yards per game, again his lowest against any team. This will be Darnold’s first game against the Patriots since the “Ghosts” game, the worst outing of his career.

You may have gotten used to rooting against the Jets this year, but this is a game where it is safe to throw on your Joe Namath jersey, root like hell for the Jets and forget about the misery of this season for a few hours.

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