The New York Jets will look to bring the curtain down on a frustrating season with a win against the New England Patriots on Sunday evening. It would mark a first victory against Bill Belichick’s team since December 27, 2015.

The Patriots have won 15 in a row against the Jets but have just four victories to their name this season and this Week 18 clash could be Belichick’s last in Foxboro after delivering six Super Bowls to the fans in New England.

While head coach Robert Saleh would not be drawn on that losing streak this week, ending it has become a source of motivation for his players, who have yet to enjoy success against New England in a Jets uniform.

Edge rusher Bryce Huff, who has a team-leading eight sacks on the season, said: “It’s definitely motivating knowing that I’ve never gotten the chance to beat the Patriots and how they won against us every single year is kind of annoying to think about. I definitely want to end this season on a good note and to get a ‘W’, especially on them.”

Linebacker Quincy Williams, who has recorded 131 tackles in the 2023 campaign, added: “The goal is breaking the losing streak. It’s in the back of everyone’s minds, for sure.”

With Zach Wilson not cleared from concussion protocol, Trevor Siemian will continue at quarterback and will be keen to emulate some of New York’s recent offensive performances. The Jets have reached the 30-point mark in two of their last four outings. They will look to out-score a New England offense that has not scored 30 points in any game this season. Siemian completed 71 percent of his passes against the Cleveland Browns last week.

This could turn into a war of attrition with both teams leaning heavily on their excellent defenses. Bailey Zappe threw three interceptions for New England last week and if New York can force him into turnovers in what could be a snow game on Sunday, the Jets could yet end a trying campaign on a winning note.

New York Jets Player to Watch

Jermaine Johnson – Defensive End

New York’s 2022 first-round draft pick is blossoming into a star in his second NFL season with head coach Robert Saleh insisting Jermaine Johnson is “playing at a Pro Bowl level.” Johnson has shown disruptive, game-changing skills against the run and the pass. He has recorded six and a half sacks on the year, adding 40 key run stops, 15 quarterback hits and seven pass deflections. In prime time against Cleveland last week, Johnson batted a Joe Flacco pass into the air, intercepted it and ran 37 yards for a touchdown. The Jets cannot wait to see what Johnson serves up in 2024, his third season in the NFL.

New England Patriots Player to Watch

Kyle Dugger – Safety

New England have leaned heavily on their defense in 2023 and one of their key men has been versatile safety Kyle Dugger. Belichick’s key defensive chess piece makes plays all over the field, recording 103 tackles, one and a half sacks, two interceptions and one forced fumble. He will be out to make life difficult for Siemian and the Jets’ offense in Week 18.

Stat Attack!

Garrett Wilson leads the Jets with 93 receptions and 1,008 rec yards in 2023. He is the first player in team history with more than 1,000 receiving yds in each of their first two seasons. Wilson also became the first Jets player with more than 1,000 receiving yards in consecutive seasons since Keyshawn Johnson in 1998-1999.

Keys to the game

Get Breece Hall going… The Jets have to find ways to move the football on the ground against one of the best rushing defenses in the league. And that means getting Breece Hall his touches. That has been a point of emphasis in recent weeks. In New York’s past two games, Hall has rushed 33 times for 179 yards and two touchdowns, adding 21 catches for 138 yards and one score.

Attack the quarterback… Whether it be Bailey Zappe or Mac Jones, New England have struggled at the quarterback position this season. Zappe threw three interceptions last week against Buffalo, undoing the good work of New England’s defense. Pressuring the Patriots’ passer into mistakes will be key in Week 18, presenting the New York offense with some short fields and scoring opportunities.