Panic has taken over surrounding the New York Jets, as they head into New England as 9 point underdogs. Most people have written the team off after watching Mark Sanchez get hit like a piñata last week in primetime and the Baltimore Ravens roll over them like they were a glorified JV team. The nice part about this game is that all it takes is a Jets win, coupled with a Buffalo loss to put them in first place in the AFC East.
Of course winning in New England is easier said than done, especially with Tom Brady racking up record breaking passing statistics. There is one thing indisputable about the Patriots. They can throw the damn football. Brady is the best quarterback in the league and has a full arsenal at his disposal, led by slot receiver Wes Welker who is playing the best football of his career and tight end Rob Gronkowski, who seems to catch a touchdown every 2.5 seconds. Yet, there is another thing that is indisputable, the New York Jets should be confident about getting to Brady and slowing down his mighty machine. They have done it before and they have the personnel to do it again.
New England is about as one dimensional as it gets. They have one of the league’s worst defenses and they show no commitment to running the football. Unfortunately, as of late the Jets have also been one dimensional and that dimension is turning the football over.
The Jets must get back to what made them the AFC’s second best team the past two years, which is relying on their defense, running game, special teams, and a controlled passing attack. Don’t talk yourself out of the fact that this is a winnable game for the Jets. It absolutely is, but a few things need to occur.
First off, Rex Ryan needs to bring his A game when it comes to the defensive game-plan. He beat Brady in the chess game last January, but can he do it again? The pass rush must show up, hopefully with a boost from Aaron Maybin again, and players like Kyle Wilson, Donald Strickland, Brodney Pool, and Eric Smith need to be at the top of their game.
The special teams needs to make plays and win their third of the game. A few big kick returns…solid kick coverage…no missed field goals…and accurate punting, will go a long way to a Jets victory.
Finally, the offense needs to find itself. Call it embracing the ugly. Wrap your arms around the 3 yard carry, the screen pass, and the occasional play action shot down field. Keep it simple and protect the football. If the Jets pick their spots they can beat the New England secondary but Mark Sanchez shouldn’t throw more than 26 times on Sunday. He has averaged a touch over 25 attempts in his three career victories against New England, so keep his dropbacks in that range.
We all watched last week, it is understandable why most people don’t expect a Jets victory. However, let’s not make this out to be the 1996 Jets by the 1972 Dolphins. The Jets got a shot on Sunday and it is a good one