Bill Belichick looks to shed post-bye rust that Patriots have had in recent seasons vs. Jets on Sunday


The Patriots have struggled in the stretch of games following the bye week over the last two seasons.

Bill Belichick hopes Mac Jones and the rest of the Patriots will play better following the bye than they did last season. Jim Davis/Globe Staff

Historically speaking, the Patriots have played very well after the bye week since Bill Belichick became their head coach in 2000.

The Patriots have gone 15-7 in the game following a bye during the regular season over Belichick’s first 22 years. However, they’ve lost in the game following the bye week in each of the last two seasons.

Moreover, the Patriots have played well in the stretch of games following the bye week in the last two years. In 2020, the Patriots’ bye week was moved up to Week 5 because they were dealing with a COVID outbreak. They lost the next three games after that. After winning seven in a row prior to the bye week in 2021, the Patriots closed the regular season by going 1-3 before getting blown out by the Bills in the first round of the playoffs.

Belichick was asked about his strong record in games following the bye week on Friday, but focused on the recent shortcomings his squad has had in those situations.

“I hope we’re better than we were last year,” Belichick said. “So, just take it year-by-year.”

Sunday’s game after the bye is an interesting one for several reasons for the Patriots. For starters, they’re facing the Jets, a divisional rival who’s surprisingly 6-3 and firmly in the playoff picture. The other is that the two teams played each other just two weeks ago, with both having a bye week in Week 10.

Despite each team only playing one game since their last matchup, Belichick isn’t taking any shortcuts in his preparation for Sunday’s game against the Jets.

“I think you start your preparations all over again,” Belichick said. “Whatever we had in the Colts game, that game is done. So, start all over again and get back into the keys and the tendencies that the Jets do. Then, we forget about the Jets and move on to the next team.

“It’s hard to play a team and remember all the things you did a week, two weeks ago. I mean yeah, there are some basic things that come back to you, like all the little details that you spent the whole week on, but you forgot those and apply them and whatever those things are to the next team. … Obviously some things carry over, I’m not saying that, but they don’t carry over from team-to-team. There’s new players and different matchups and different ways they utilize their people, so it’s different every week.”

Even though recent history might not favor the Patriots following the bye week, it does favor them when it comes to facing the Jets. They’ve won their last 13 matchups against their division rival, including a 22-17 win in Week 8.

Belichick’s defense has also had its way against Jets quarterback Zach Wilson. The second-year player completed just 53.6 percent of his passes for 616 yards with only two touchdowns to seven interceptions and a 50.5 passer rating over three games.

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