A collection of early thoughts on the New York Jets week 11 match-up against the St. Louis Rams –
1. The New York Jets face another physical NFC West opponent on the road and are rightly again underdogs. Personally, I’d be comfortable with this line at 4 points for the Rams considering how both teams looked last week. As a Jets fan looking for silver lining, you can only hope the Rams suffer an emotional let down after playing five full quarters against the San Francisco 49ers and ending in a tie last week.
2. St. Louis is physical on defense but middle of the pack in the major categories (15th in total defense, 13th against the pass and 18th against the run). However they are tied for 6th in the NFL in sacks with 26. Robert Quinn leads the way with 8.5 and Chris Long has 5. They will be handful for the Jets mediocre offensive line and passing game. At this point the Jets will have a tough time moving the football on anybody but I think you will see a run heavy approach on offense. If Bilal Powell and Joe McKnight don’t play that leaves recently signed Kahlil Bell to shoulder the load with the ever plodding Shonn Greene.
3. When the Jets do throw the ball, it will again be on Jeremy Kerley to do damage in the slot and on Dustin Keller to get his act together after a brutal showing last week. If Kerley plays less than 80% of the snaps again, Tony Sparano needs to be physically removed from the sideline. He is the only receiver on the roster currently capable of getting open.
4. Defensively the Jets have played much better in recent weeks. They should be able to slow down a less than potent St. Louis Rams offense. Danny Amendola is their biggest weapon in the passing game. It will be interesting to see if Rex Ryan shadows him with Antonio Cromartie, who he usually saves for bigger receivers who play on the outside. If he matches him up with Chris Givens (the Rams second best option in the passing game), he will need to bracket Amendola in the slot. Kyle Wilson and Ellis Lankster are hot garbage in man coverage and can’t be trusted on an island with a playmaker like Amendola.
5. The Rams running game lacks explosiveness when Steven Jackson is running the ball, as he is putting up very Shonn Greene-esque numbers so far. However, Daryl Richardson packs a punch off the bench and could give the Jets problems.
6. Rex Ryan would be wise to blitz Sam Bradford behind the Rams suspect line early and often. Bradford has been playing better as of late but Ryan’s defenses have a way of rattling younger quarterbacks and forcing turnovers. The Jets have no chance in this game unless they create or directly set up points with turnovers. Don’t play passive against this offensive line, go get Bradford.
7. As a Jets fan I fully expect this game to end with Kellen Clemens completing a game winning tackle eligible pass to Wayne Hunter while Brian Schottenheimer and Matthew Mulligan whoop it up on the sideline.