FOXBOROUGH, Mass.- New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez labored through one of the worst games of his brief professional career in front of the entire country Sunday night.

The New England Patriots are hoping to make it two duds in a row.

One week after two of his three lost fumbles and an interception were returned for touchdowns in the Ravens’ 34-17 win, Sanchez will try and erase memories of that nightmare when he tests his hand at dissecting the NFL’s worst pass defense.

The Patriots (3-1) aren’t expecting a similar performance from the third-year quarterback of the Jets (2-2), who has won three of five career meetings against them, including last season’s stunning 28-21 victory in the divisional playoffs.

“One thing that we can’t do is look at that game and say, ‘You know what, the Jets, they’re not the Jets — they’re going to do this, they’re going to do that, they can’t do this.’ Because each week it changes,” New England nose tackle Vince Wilfork said Thursday. “You really can’t go about last performance.

“I think we’re going to get their best shot. I really do because the same guys that (are) over there are the same guys that played us last year, the same guys that beat us three out of the five times we’ve played them. This team is definitely a good football team. Let’s not get that wrong.”


The Jets (2-2) are better, when Nick Mangold is snapping the ball to Sanchez.

Mangold was limited in practice Wednesday after missing a second straight game Sunday due to a high-ankle sprain. His absence paid dividends for Baltimore’s havoc-happy defense.

“He’s probably one of the best offensive lineman in the game. He’s definitely a leader on that team for them,” Wilfork said. “I’m pretty sure that they would love for him to play because I think he gives them a spark.

“It’s absolutely a difference when he’s in and he’s not in.”

It took all of one play by the Jets to realize that Sunday.

Safety Ed Reed stripped Sanchez of the ball on New York’s first offensive play, allowing Jameel McClain to scoop up the fumble and go 6 yards for the touchdown. Jarret Johnson later took advantage of another Sanchez strip sack and fumble, scoring from 26 yards in the second quarter, and Lardarius Webb provided the final margin with a 73-yard interception return for a TD in the third.


Jets Coach Rex Ryan insisted Wednesday that the poor performance had more to do with Baltimore’s perennially potent defense, one he laid the foundation for during his 10 years as Ravens defensive coordinator, and less to do with Sanchez, who finished 11 of 35 for 119 yards.

“I think we were almost close to a 65 percent completion rate going into that last game, and that last game was a rough one, to say the least. You can put (Patriots quarterback) Tom Brady back there (and) he was going to struggle that day,” Ryan said. “The pressure, the constant pressure that Baltimore was able to put on us really disrupted what we were trying to get accomplished. I think Mark has improved, I really do. I think he’s better now than he has ever been.”

The Patriots need to be to slow Sanchez.

New England is last in the league in passing yards allowed at 368.8 per game, with its inexperienced secondary. The surprise comes up front, where the Patriots are tied for 25th with six sacks.

“I expect good things out of this defense to come because the more we play, the better we’re going to get,” Wilfork said.


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