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Scouting the Patriots

Here we go. A mere 263 days after the epic playoff game in Foxborough, the Jets and Patriots meet again. Here's an early look at the Patriots (3-1):

• The only thing you can say about their offense is "wow." The Patriots have scored at least 30 points in 12 straight regular-season games, two shy of the NFL record (Rams, 1999-2000). They have produced 2,030 total yards, the best four-game start since the merger in 1970. Like I said, wow.

• QB Tom Brady is having an off-the-charts season. He has thrown at least two touchdowns in 13 straight regular-season games, tied with Peyton Manning (2004) for the longest such streak in NFL history. He passed for only 226 yards in last Sunday's win over the Raiders, but it was his best game of the year in terms of decision making and managing the offense, according to Bill Belichick.

• The Jets have to figure out a way to contain WR Wes Welker, who is having an MVP-type year. His numbers are ridiculous -- 40 catches, 616 yards and five TDs. He's on a 2,400-yard pace. Since joining the Patriots in 2007, he's had only one game against the Jets in which he failed to catch six passes. He caught seven in last January's playoff game, but he made bigger headlines with his mouth, making foot jokes in reference to Rex Ryan.

The Jets usually don't put CB Darrelle Revis on Welker, but here's wishing they would. It would be a showdown for the ages.

• The Patriots' defense is the polar opposite of the offense, which is to say it stinks. They've allowed 1,910 total yards, the worst four-game total since the merger. Against the Raiders, they yielded nine plays of 20 yards or more. But Belichick is pleased with his red-zone defense; he said it's the best it's been in years.

• The defense will be without LB Jerod Mayo (sprained knee), who was injured in Oakland. Officially, the Patriots haven't said anything about his timetable -- gee, what a shock -- but reports say he will miss at least a month. Mayo is the David Harris of their defense, and it's a big loss.

• The Jets will see some familiar faces, DE Shaun Ellis and S James Ihedigbo, both of whom left on bitter notes. Ellis will deny it, but this is his Super Bowl. He's playing a lot (42 out of 70 snaps last week, according to ESPNBoston.com), but he missed a few tackles in Oakland. He'll be sky high to face his old team. In the playoff game, he dominated Brady, and now he'll be looking to do the same to Mark Sanchez.

• Rookie RB Stevan Ridley has provided a spark in the backfield. He rushed for a career-high 97 yards last week, oddly gaining all of his yards while running right.

• The Patriots will wear their 1980s red throwback uniforms.