Saturday Night fever is here. The Jets travel to the Lone Star state to face the hapless Cowboys and look to improve to 9-5. looking at the schedule in early September, this looked to be one of the toughest road match ups the Jets had. Now, Dallas is led by Matt Cassel and gotten in the win column just once this year without Tony Romo. This is a must in game for New York, who looks as if they must win out and receive help to secure a spot in the AFC Wild Card. Here are this weeks story lines…
Best Offensive Line vs Best Defensive Line
There’s been a lot of talk surrounding this Jets-Cowboys showdown, mostly about playoff scenarios for the Jets and how Matt Cassel is not a very good quarterback. What there hasn’t been enough talk is the greatest matchup of the game: The Cowboys Offensive Line vs The Jets Defensive Line. The Cowboys front 5 has been brilliant two consecutive years now, producing the leagues leading rusher just last year. The Jets defensive front has also been stout, led by Muhammad Wilkerson, who notched his career high in sacks last week (12) and is ranked first in the league against the run. Both units feature 3 first round selections in what looks to be a run heavy game won in the trenches. The Jets defensive line is coming off a dominant performance against the Titans and will need to generate pressure against the Cowboys front to force Matt Cassel into some early mistakes
Revis vs Bryant
A matchup of Top 5 players at their respective positions. They’ve met once before, though. In 2011 in the Jets thrilling come from behind win against the Tony Romo led Cowboys, Revis held Bryant to just 3 catches and ended up jumping Bryant’s route to secure an interception late in the 4th quarter. It’ll be interesting though to see how the Jets use Revis in this matchup almost 5 years later. Revis hasn’t been quite the lockdown corner of the past, but is still a solid number one option. What really makes this matchup more interesting is the way Revis was used last week against Tennessee. We saw him locked up on the Titans number one WR Dorial Green-Beckham early, but we also saw him lined up over Harry Douglas (#2 WR) and Walker (#1 TE). All the while during these instances, Green Beckham saw Cromartie and some safety help over the top. While Revis’ return from injury could of absolutely played a part in this, it’s fair to wonder whether the Jets will put Revis back out on his island for a full 4 quarters against #88.
Ivory/Powell/Ridley vs Dallas D
A very familiar Jets game plan looks to be in the works. I believe the Jets will want this to be a run heavy game, especially after the entire nation saw Green Bay’s rushing attack stampede over the Cowboys defense. The Cowboys gave up 230 rushing yards on 44 touches (5.23 YPC) to a team that hasn’t run the ball successfully this entire year. Chris Ivory looks healthy and looks to have his “jump cut” back for the first time since earlier this year. Chan Gailey has done a brilliant job incorporating Bilal Powell into the short passing attack and the draw game, and Stevan Ridley looks to be comfortable for the first time since tearing his ACL last season. In order to neutralize the fearsome Dallas pass rush, expect the Jets to try and run the rock 30+ times and have much success doing so, especially with the improved play of the offensive line in recent weeks
Dallas Pass Rush vs Jets Front 5
The only way the Dallas Cowboys can squeak away with a victory Sunday. The Cowboys have a pass rush led by Hardy, Gregory, and Lawrence who all have the speed and the knack for getting to the quarterback. Let’s not kid ourselves, although the Jets Front 5 has been better in recent weeks, they’re not world beaters. D’Brickishaw Ferguson has had his hands full this year, and they’ll be loaded on Sunday with Hardy lining up over the top of him more times than not. Right Tackle Giacomini has had his fair share of struggles as well. The biggest part of this game plan for the Jets should be to keep the Cowboys in check on the edges. This is by far the scariest match up on Saturday Night, but one has to think the Jets will game plan accordingly with a heavy dose of Ivory and Powell accompanied by a timely screen game.
Photo Credit: NewYorkJets.com