Jets vs. Patriots: Game Breakdown

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First a few updates:

1. Check out http://web.me.com/greenrewind.com where I recently did an interview on Marty Schupak’s program to discuss the Jets/Pats game.

2. The New England locker room is likely buried in bulletin board material this week, since Kerry Rhodes didn’t hold back in an interview with Gary Myers of the Daily News. Rhodes stated, “You go out from the first quarter on, from the first play on, and try to embarrass them. Not just go out there and try to win, try to embarrass them. Try to make them feel bad when they leave here. We don’t want to just beat them. We want to send a message to them, ‘We’re not backing down from you and we expect to win this game, and it’s not going to be luck, it’s not going to be a mistake.” He also promised the Jets will hit Brady more than six times, which is how many hits the Bills got on him. Well at least we know the Jets aren’t lacking confidence heading into this game.

3. Kris Jenkins, Sione Pouha, Wallace Wright, and Damien Woody were all limited at practice today.

4. Check back tomorrow for Episode II of “Turn On the Jets” TV, where I ramble about my frustration with the Jets/Pats rivalry, review week one of the NFL, preview week two and make a pick for the Jets/Pats game.

Jets vs. Patriots: Game Breakdown

Jets Offensive Game Plan: The Jets need to build on what they did last week against the Houston Texans. There shouldn’t be any type of excessively conservative play calling because Mark Sanchez is a rookie and is facing Bill Bellicheck. Obviously, a large portion of the Jets game plan will revolve around Thomas Jones, Leon Washington, and potentially Shonn Greene running the football and I still believe Jones/Washington need to be at or around 40 touches for the Jets to win but the Jets can’t be afraid to spread it out and throw the football. They have the personnel to attack the Patriots. I will say this again, don’t confuse New England’s defense with the Ravens or Steelers, this isn’t one the elite units in the league, especially without Jerod Mayo.

I have watched Jerricho Cotchery repeatedly kill the Pats secondary since 2006, and they even used to have better corners than they do now. Dustin Keller snagged 8 passes last November when the Jets won in New England. The Jets should be comfortable in their three wide set with Cotchery, Chansi Stuckey, and Keller with Leon Washington in the backfield. Also, they shouldn’t shy away from using their “Seminole” package with Leon Washington or Brad Smith working from the shotgun. I will also be real interested to see if the Jets take a home run shot to David Clowney some time in the first half to keep New England off balance.

The bottom line is that the Jets can’t go into a shell because they are playing the big, bad Patriots who usually push them around in their building. Thomas Jones and Leon Washington still need their carries but the Jets shouldn’t hesitate to take their shots to Dustin Keller down the seam or David Clowney down the side-line.

Jets Defensive Game Plan: Tackle, tackle, and tackle. The Patriots always kill the Jets with a barrage of short passes and screens to Wes Welker and Kevin Faulk. It is the entire defense’s responsibility to recognize the play, swarm to the football, and wrap these guys up. Darrelle Revis will prevent the big play from Randy Moss over the top, which means it is on guys like Lito Sheppard, Donald Strickland, Kerry Rhodes, and Jim Leonhard to keep Welker and Faulk in front of them and tackle them at first contact.

The Patriots also have a deep collection of running backs, led by Fred Taylor and Laurence Maroney. They couldn’t move the ball on the ground against Buffalo but don’t expect them to abandon the running game against the Jets. The run defense  starts with Kris Jenkins who is nursing a sore back, despite being boosted by the return of Shaun Ellis, guys like Howard Green and Sione Pouha need to step up and provide quality reps for Jenkins off the bench.

I am expecting a blitz happy scheme from Rex Ryan, which will test Brady under pressure early and often. This will make the secondary’s task even more difficult but Ryan seems to have total confidence in Revis, Sheppard, Leonhard, and Rhodes. David Harris & co need to stay in Brady’s face all day, because if Brady has time to stand back there, he is lethal.

Special Teams Breakdown: Leon Washington took a kick back for a touchdown the last time these two teams met, so keep an eye on #29 as usual. Wes Welker is always dangerous on punt returns and Maroney is a pretty good kick returner himself. Hopefully, Steve Weatherford can continue his strong punting.

The Jets Will Win If…Mark Sanchez protects the football. Brian Schottenheimer catches New England off guard by coming out in the spread offense and showing confidence in his rookie quarterback. Thomas Jones/Leon Washington do their usual work with their 40 combined touches. The Jets get points either on special teams or because of a defensive turnover. The pass rush stays in Tom Brady’s face all day, keeping him uncomfortable in the pocket. New England can’t run the football, making their offense one-dimensional and opening Brady up to more hits.

The Jets Will Lose If…Tom Brady has all day in the pocket and picks apart the Jets with short passes to his tight ends, Wes Welker, and Kevin Faulk. Mark Sanchez is confused by Bellicheck and throws a couple of costly interceptions, forcing the Jets to be conservative on offense. Thomas Jones starts out with 16 yards on 14 carries but never gets the chance to have a big finish like he did versus Houston. The Jets fall behind early and the crowd/team fall into the normal New England depression/losing attitude.

Help Rex Out

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