I’ve always hated calling match ups “must win games”, but in terms of the division title hopes, the New York Jets are playing a must win game against the New England Patriots Sunday afternoon. New England has been in “hold the fort” mode all season as they wait for the return of superstar tight end Rob Gronkowski and wide receiver Danny Amendola (who hasn’t stayed healthy all year). Unfortunately for the Jets and the entire AFC East, the Patriots are 5-1 in “hold the fort” mode. The Jets, standing at 3-3, must beat the Patriots Sunday. Here is how they could pull it off:
Pound the rock, over and over again:
The Patriots will be without nose tackle Vince Wilfork and linebacker Jerod Mayo, two of their best run stuffers. Wilfork was a non-factor in the first matchup thanks to Vlad Ducasse (the legend of Vlad), but Mayo is a menace in the middle of the field. The Jets successfully developed a run game in the first three quarters in Foxboro, then idiotically ditched the run game in the fourth quarter. Chris Ivory wants the ball and he deserves it. He was moving the sticks against a healthy New England front seven a few weeks ago, let’s see what he has against some of their backups. I’m talking 20 carries for Bilal Powell and 20 carries for Chris Ivory, pound the rock!
Step right up Sudfeld:
Konrad Reuland saw an increase in reps against the Steelers due to Kellen Winslow’s four game suspension. Unfortunately, this hindered Geno Smith and the Jets offense in a large manner. Jeff Cumberland can handle the starting tight end duties, he has one of the best pair of hands on the entire team. The Jets need a second tight end in Winslow’s absence and Konrad Reuland is not the guy. He can not gain separation and isn’t a good enough blocker to warrant time on the field. Let’s see what Zach Sudfeld has in a big game against the team that cut him. He can’t be worse than Reuland, right?
Where is the big play?:
It is no secret the Patriots are beat up, but the Jets need a big play from the defense or special teams to win this game. Geno Smith can hit deep throws and Stephen Hill has gained separation all season, but this can not be relied on to beat a 5-1 New England team. This team is due for a pick six or a punt return touchdown. I’m looking at you, Darrin Walls and newly signed Josh Cribbs.
Come out, Q:
Quinton Coples has been slowed down by injuries and his recent position change to outside linebacker. In a matchup like this, Rex needs to keep it simple for Coples. Stop testing him in coverage and consistently relying on him to set the edge in the run game. Tell Q his job is to get to Tom Brady in the most vicious way possible. Line him up inside often in three man fronts consisting of Muhammad Wilkerson and Sheldon Richardson, littering the rest of the field with defensive backs. I trust those three guys to beat blockers up front, the defensive backs need the extra help. This can be your break out game as a Jet Coples, make it happen.