The season finale is upon us and it’s fitting that we finish with a game in New England, against the arch enemy. The Jets are currently riding a 15-game losing streak against the Patriots, and while some fans are hoping for a loss to improve draft position and prevent New England from snagging one of the top quarterbacks in the draft, many are hoping to put one over Robert Kraft and his Gillette army to the north.

Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick refused to be drawn into a comment on his future this week, insisting that his sole focus was beating the Jets. It’s been a disappointing season for both teams, but there are no dead rubbers when it comes to the Jets and Patriots.

The Jets have failed to score more than 20 points in six straight games against the Patriots; in fact, they’ve scored more than 20 points in just one of the last 15 games against New England. If they’re hoping to break that streak, the offence will have to turn things up a notch.

It’s already been confirmed that Zach Wilson, Jeremy Ruckert and Jake Hanson will miss the season finale but there are still plenty of things to keep an eye out for ahead of a key offseason. If you wished for one thing as the ball dropped on the New Year, I hope it was for a season of health…for yourself and the New York Jets.

Here are a couple of things to watch for in New England.

The Jets and Dalvin Cook decided to part ways earlier this week, putting an end to the former Pro Bowler’s time in New York. The deal really didn’t work out for either side and coach Saleh confirmed that it was in the best interests of everyone to move on. Cook will get to try and catch on with a team bound for the playoffs and the Jets will open up some snaps for rookie Israel Abanikanda.

The former Pitt man has had somewhat of a redshirt season this year, making it onto the field for just 22 snaps. With snow expected on Saturday night in Foxborough, and with Zach Wilson ruled out…chances are we’ll see a heavy ground game, opening up opportunities for Izzy to make a statement and finish a season full of lessons on a high.

Talking of rookies, Joe Tippmann will have the opportunity to really finish the season strong in week 18. After starting the year on the bench, moving to guard and then slotting in at center when Connor McGovern suffered a season-ending injury, it’s been an up-and-down season for the 2nd round pick from Wisconsin.

After allowing sacks in back-to-back weeks against Houston and Miami, Tippmann has allowed 0 sacks and just 2 pressures across his last 107 pass-blocking snaps and could be putting down a much needed marker as a stalwart of the offensive line.

While some fans look at the game as a damp squib, there are plenty of players on this roster who will be keen to impress in the final game of the year and cement a spot in the Jets’ plans for 2024.

Jason Brownlee played 97% of the offensive snaps last week and Sunday will offer a chance for the UDFA to build momentum for 2024; the same can be said for players like wide receiver Xavier Gipson, and guard Xavier Newman-Johnson.

There are also a number of players who are heading to free agency, and as such their time in New York is in danger of coming to an end. This includes Jets’ sack leader Bryce Huff who has had an excellent season, with many fans hoping we’ll be seeing more of him in Green and White in the future.

Jets interception leader Jordan Whitehead could also be playing his last game for the team as he heads to free agency. If Whitehead records three tackles on Sunday, he’ll join linebackers C.J. Mosley and Quincy Williams with 100+ for the season.

As disappointing as this season has been, this will be the last Jets game for 8 months, so I’m determined to enjoy it. Once Monday hits we’ll turn our focus to the offseason, free agency and the Draft, but for now, let’s just sit back, and enjoy some football.