NFL Week 1 Review

It is too early to throw around Power Rankings, so here are 5 observations from week 1 of the NFL

1. The Colts are a one man organization. They haven’t drafted well in recent years. They have done nothing in free agency in recent years. The competency of their coaching staff, including Jim Caldwell, is questionable. When you latch all your success on to one individual it is poor management. Peyton Manning is gone and isn’t coming back this year. It looks like the Colts are ready to tuck their tail between their legs and become a 4-12 team. It sure wouldn’t hurt to have a guy like Rex Ryan being your head coach in their situation to put a little fire into that lifeless bunch who was whipped by Houston.

2. Nobody likes poking fun at our uptight neighbors more than me, but the New York Giants were truly awful in week one. When are they going to improve their special teams? How will they overcome their injuries on defense with such questionable depth? Is Eli Manning really good enough to carry a team with mediocre surrounding talent? The Giants need to take advantage of an easy start to their schedule, beginning with their home opener versus the Steven Jackson-less Rams or they will be looking at a 5-11 season.

3. It isn’t very often you see the Pittsburgh Steelers manhandled the way they were on Sunday. It will be interesting to see how each team responds to such a surprising week one outcome. I would still bet they will be battling for the AFC North title into the final weeks of the season. One other comment on Pittsburgh, it is a little sad to see Jerricho Cotchery still injured and eventually coming back into a #5 receiver role on the Steelers behind Hines Ward, Mike Wallace, Emmanuel Sanders, and Antonio Brown.

4. I won’t go crazy with Buffalo hype because I don’t think Kansas City is good. Yet, the Bills will be a fun team to watch and should flirt with a .500 record this season. The Jets two games against them this year won’t be gimmes by any stretch of the imagination. New England and Miami set defensive football back about 100 years on Monday night. Then again, the Jets did almost allow 400 yards, so I shouldn’t say too much. Yet, seriously New England…you are going to let Chad Henne throw for over 400 yards on you?

5. A few games to look forward to this week –

  • Philadelphia at Atlanta – The Mike Vick show comes back home, while the Falcons badly need a win.
  • San Diego at New England – Good barometer for the Chargers early in the year
  • Green Bay at Carolina – Should be fun to watch Cam Newton off his 400 yard performance against the Champs.

Final Thoughts On Jets/Cowboys

A few final thoughts on Jets/Cowboys…

Game MVP – It is hard to nail down a specific one, as so many individuals made plays in crucial times. I will go with Plaxico Burress, who came to life in the second half and brought some much needed energy to the offense. He finished the game with 4 receptions for 72 yards.

Game Goat – Antonio Cromartie had a rough night at the office, getting beat for two touchdowns, including one where Miles Austin pulled the ball away from him.

Play of the Game – I am taking the blocked punt. I have never heard the stadium louder.

Trending Up

  • LaDainian Tomlinson – 6 receptions, 73 yards
  • Jeff Cumberland – First career NFL reception went for 33 yards
  • Bart Scott – 8 tackles, 2 for a loss and a sack
  • Mike DeVito – Key strip sack in the 4th quarter

Trending Down

  • Shonn Greene – 10 carries, 26 yards
  • Wayne Hunter – Beat like a drum by DeMarcus Ware all night
  • Jeremy Kerley – 1 offensive play logged
  • Derrick Mason – Didn’t seem on the same page as Sanchez and dropped a touchdown pass

1. Greene needs to show more as the starting running back or we will start to see more and more LaDainian Tomlinson, who already played an equal amount of snaps to him last week. Joe McKnight will likely also get a shot at some point on offense and Bilal Powell always remains an option off the bench if Greene continues to struggle.

2. Jamaal Westerman didn’t record a stat last week, hopefully he can get going as a pass rush threat in the coming weeks. It was good to see Calvin Pace finally on the field in week one and coming up with a sack.

3. Very encouraging performances by TJ Conley and Nick Folk in week one, should calm some of the nerves about the Jets special teams.

TJ Rosenthal reviews his five keys from the game

1. SANCHEZ, YEAR THREE BEGINS: We said “This is Mark Sanchez’s team now. He will be judged according to where the Jets end up.”

27-24. Late comeback. Again. It didn’t start out so rosy but winners grind and losers find ways to lose. Sanchez is a winner, who also put up 335 yards. Enough said

2. KEEP ROMO CONTAINED: We said “The Jets pass rush up front has provided little pressure this preseason. What they CAN’T do is compound that by allowing Romo to escape the pocket where he likes to sling it Brett Favre style. Often times with downfield success. Even worse for the Jets, Romo has Jason Witten.”

So much for that. The Jets couldn’t stop Romo. He stopped himself. Twice in the fourth quarter. Witten killed the Jets all night.

3. CROMARTIE VS BRYANT AND AUSTIN: We said: “Balls will be flying like Juy 4th fireworks in CB Antonio Cromartie’s work area.With the game breaking combo of Dez Bryant and Miles Austin coming to town, “Cro” can ill afford a night like the one he had LAST year in week one against the Ravens.”

Whew. Cro almost had a repeat of that dismal night. Two TD’s on his watch and the ‘Boys were aiming for a third. Just got out of dodge with that matchup.

4. KELLER AND WITTEN: We said: “ Jason Witten is the template for how an All Pro tight end should perform and be employed in the passing game.Keller has been “emerging” since his rookie year. It’s time For number 81 to be that weapon that the Jets don’t make excuses about anymore.

Keller was a force with five catches and a TD that brought the Jets back to 10-7. Witten was not only a force, he was a threat. Still, the play of Keller helped stave off Dallas.

5. SCHOTTY VS ROB RYAN: We said: “A stalemate in this one on one battle of the headsets will keep the Jets in the game. Anything less may leave the Jets at 0-1 and prepping for Jacksonville.”

Ryan owned the Jets for three quarters. Schotty adjusted to the screen game and a tiring secondary late. Call it a stalemate if you want because one big quarter can nullify three solid quarters and it did Sunday night.

Week 1: Near Misses, Big Wins, and the Buffalo Bills

As a Jets fan I have to root for the Bills 14 games a year. They’ve been awful for 10 years yet I feel they’re finally picking up some much needed steam. The play of Ryan Fitzpatrick, Stevie Johnson and Marcell Dareus will define how far they go this year.

While I did not see the Bills game live, I did get to see the Ravens destroy the all powerful, all aging defense of the Steelers while Terrell Suggs, Haloti Ngata, Ed Reed and Ray Lewis prove that they still have the best defense in the AFC North. Ray Rice was a machine, and Ben Roethlisberger looked like his scrambling is not always going to end up with a 30 yard pass down the field. The Ravens proved that if you stop the Steelers run game, things get a little bit shaky when you mix coverages and blitz schemes.

The Rams! The Rams, like a few other franchises, seem to be flailing on all fronts. Steven Jackson rips one off for a 50 yard touchdown and then pulls a quad and misses the entire game. Sam Bradford looks like a rookie again and the Rams receiving core looks like a bunch of second stringers on any other team. Two rookie receivers and a rookie tight end who looks undeserving of a second round draft pick.

Michael Vick and the Eagles got lucky. Yes. Lucky. Name one good player on the Rams defense. Exactly, there aren’t any. Let’s see Vick go against the Ravens defense and see if he can run all over the field like that.

On to the Redskins, I said one thing to my dad (who is a Redskins fan) on the phone today. Redskins defense and Ryan Kerrigan will have to win the game. So what happens? Well there is currently 5 minutes left in the game and the Redskins are up 28-14. Ryan Kerrigan deflected a pass for an interception on the 9 yard line and ran it in for a touchdown. I also predict the length of marriages.

Colt McCoy didn’t look like the greatest quarterback of all time, despite many watching him in the preseason and proclaiming such. The Bengals will enjoy this one, and will again having fun watching the AFC north slip away for yet another year.

Calvin Johnson again proves Cris Carter wrong, and Matthew Stafford is proving that the 2009 QB draft class (Stafford, Sanchez, Freeman) may be one of the best in recent memory.

So how have things changed? Washington leads the NFC East, the dream team Vikings are no more, the NFC South is all even at 0 wins. A useless NFC West is tied between the Ted Ginn & Company 49ers and the Arizona Cardinals, Ryan Fitzpatrick understands the science of football. The Bengals lead the NFC north. Jacksonville leads the AFC South and San Diego actually won a game before the first snowfall in the East.

Jets vs. Cowboys: Grade Report

Quarterback (B) – Outside of two ugly turnovers, Mark Sanchez put together a strong performance. The game manager title is clearly a thing of the past, as he went 26/44 for 335 yards and two touchdowns. His confidence is fully there and considering the weapons around him, a big statistical year is a real possibility. The turnovers must be eliminated as they both came in killer spots. However, it was nice to see how well he distributed the football among his top targets and didn’t hesitate to push the ball down the field.

Running Back (C+) – LaDainian Tomlinson gets an “A” while Shonn Greene settles in somewhere around a “D.” Neither Greene (10 carries, 26 yards) or Tomlinson (5 carries, 16 yards) did much running the ball but Tomlinson was key in the receiving game, finishing with 6 receptions for 73 yards, leading the team in both categories. The Jets are going to need more from their running game, Greene in particular, moving forward.

Wide Receiver (A) – The playmakers did what they were paid to do. Santonio Holmes turned in a solid 6 reception, 70 yard performance, while Plaxico Burress stole the show in the second half with 4 receptions for 72 yards and a beautiful touchdown catch. Burress looks capable of having a much bigger year than many (including myself) projected. Derrick Mason had 3 receptions for 19 yards, and dropped a potential touchdown pass. Jeremy Kerley only played one offensive snap.

Tight End – (A) – Dustin Keller remains a reliable safety valve for Mark Sanchez and posted 6 receptions for 51 yards, along with the team’s first touchdown of the season. The offense finally demonstrated the use of a two tight end look as a passing threat, by getting Jeff Cumberland involved on a 33 yard reception.

Offensive line – (D) – It wasn’t a pretty night up front, as Mark Sanchez was sacked 4 times and there was no push in the running game. Wayne Hunter was repeatedly beaten by DeMarcus Ware in his first game as team’s new starting right tackle. Hey…at least he won’t face anyone better than Ware the rest of the year.

Defensive Line – (A) – They were solid against the run, as usual. Mike DeVito also had one of the biggest plays of the night by forcing a crucial Tony Romo fumble on a sack. He finished with 3 tackles. Muhammad Wilkerson was quiet in his NFL debut with 1 tackle.

Linebackers – (B+) – Bart Scott had a big night with 8 tackles, 1 sack, and 2 tackles for a loss. Calvin Pace also had a sack. The group still struggled defending the screen pass at times and part of Jason Witten’s big night goes on them. However, on the whole it was a productive night.

Secondary – (C) – It is going to be a long season for Antonio Cromartie if he keeps up at this pace. He was beat by Dez Bryant on a jumpball for a touchdown and then by Miles Austin on a deep touchdown, where he let him pull the ball away from him, which is unacceptable. Eric Smith and Jim Leonhard continued to struggle in pass coverage. Darrelle Revis was beat by Dez Bryant on an early deep ball down the sideline but shut him down after that and then came up with an enormous interception that set up the game winning field. You know the saying, “you come at the King, you best not miss.”

Special Teams – (A+) – The deciding factor in this game…outside of Tony Romo being a choke artist….was the Jets special teams. Nick Folk was money on the game winning 50 yard field goal. Joe McKnight blocked a punt in the 4th quarter that Isaiah Trufant took back to the house. TJ Conley was solid all night at punter as well.

Coaching – (B) – They didn’t come out ready to play and at times seemed a step behind Jason Garrett and Rob Ryan. Yet, this is a resilient, scrappy team that finds ways to win games and a big part of that comes from Rex Ryan. Also, stand up and take a bow Mike Westhoff for continuing to put together excellent special teams units. Defensive coordinator Mike Pettine deserves credit for his call late in the game that help set up the Revis interception, which did a good job of masking zone coverage as man.

Initial Reaction: Still Got It – Jets Win Thrilling Opener 27-24

It was about as memorable as an opening night you could ask for, as the New York Jets pulled out a gutty, thrilling 27-24 comeback win over the Dallas Cowboys.

You can say what you want about this team but they understand how to win. They have a ton of heart and resiliency and it is foolish to ever count them out of a game.

It came from everywhere tonight. Plaxico Burress turning it on in the second half for 4 receptions for 72 yards, along with a beautiful touchdown reception. Mark Sanchez posting up 335 passing yards and distributing the ball around to Burress, Santonio Holmes, Dustin Keller, and LaDainian Tomlison who all also had big nights.

There was Joe McKnight coming up with a huge blocked punt that was returned for a score by Isaiah Trufant in what was the loudest I have ever heard a crowd at a Jets game. Mike DeVito forcing a Tony Romo fumble in the fourth quarter to keep the Jets alive. Darrelle Revis coming up with an interception to set up Nick Folk’s game winning field goal…and of course Folk hitting that game winning 50 yard field goal in what must have been a sweet moment of redemption, considering Dallas cut him.

It was a complete team win. The Jets are far from perfect and have plenty of issues to still work out but a win is a win and it was a hell of a way to start the season.

Top Five Keys For Jets/Cowboys

It is finally here. A game that so many have circled on their calendars from the minute that the 2011 NFL schedules became official. The Jets and America’s team. On the tenth anniversary of the 9-11 tragedy. Sunday night football on the first Sunday of the season. It doesn’t get any better than this in September. Here are our top five keys for the Jets as they take on the Dallas Cowboys.

SANCHEZ, YEAR THREE BEGINS: It seems obvious and easy to choose the Jets QB as the top key for any game. We do it here though to make a statement on the entire season. This is Mark Sanchez’s team now. He will be judged according to where the Jets end up. This week we’ll see how the “Sanchise” pulls together a WR corps that was revamped on the fly this summer. With the Jets it starts on the ground but it will only end up in Indianapolis if Sanchez takes the next step in 2011.

KEEP ROMO CONTAINED: Cowboys QB Tony Romo is most dangerous when his blocking breaks down. It is then that he breaks free, begins to improvise, and ultimately devastate. The Jets pass rush up front has provided little pressure this preseason. What they can’t do is compound that by allowing Romo to escape the pocket where he likes to sling it Brett Favre style, often times with downfield success. Even worse for the Jets, Romo has Jason Witten. The 2010 Jets had problems covering tight ends.

CROMARTIE VS BRYANT AND AUSTIN: You can already predict what Revis Island will look like on Sunday night. Barren. Deserted. The other side of the field though, will be the opposite. Balls will be flying like Juy 4th fireworks in CB Antonio Cromartie’s work area.

With the game breaking combo of Dez Bryant and Miles Austin coming to town, “Cro” can ill afford a night like the one he had last year in week one against the Ravens. A performance that featured constant holding and illegal contact calls, when he wasn’t getting beat. Cromartie can give up catches in front of him. He just can’t become an EZ pass toll booth for the Cowboys to race past at will.

KELLER AND WITTEN: Jason Witten is the template for how an All Pro tight end should perform and be employed in the passing game. Keller has been “emerging” since his rookie year. It is time for number 81 to be that weapon that the Jets don’t make excuses about anymore.

It ia always the same response from Gang Green regarding Keller’s lack of activity. The one that reads “Keller draws attention and therefore it is hard to force feed him the ball.” Does that mean that Witten grabs a hundred balls a year because he doesn’t draw attention? Hardly. The Jets need to stop talking about why Keller gets bottled up, and start making him the threat he has the ability to be.

SCHOTTY VS ROB RYAN: How entertaining and charming are the big loud Ryan brothers? We love them, they are great for football. We wish only the best for their father Buddy, who will be in attendance despite battling cancer for a second time.

Beyond their brothers natural media abilities, the Ryans are no nonsense on that field. The Cowboys new defensive coordiantor Rob made the Browns, that’s right the Browns defense, respectable last year.

Jets embattled offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer has been, despite the clubs two straight trips to the AFC title game, the target of may die hards anger. This for his lack of faith in Sanchez and a seemingly lack of creativity in finding ways to get the Jets in position to score more points. Those complaints are not all warranted, yet can all be put to rest finally, if the offense begins to click consistently.

Schotty has weapons galore. The new personnel offense hasn’t gelled yet due to such limited time with each other, but the names on the backs of the jerseys are big ones. High profile ones. Potentially explosive ones. Coordinating means putting it all together. That is Schotty’s responsibility, one that will include an even greater scrutiny should the Jets stumble often on offense this season, like they have in the previous two.

We can guarantee what a Ryan run defense will bring. A Schotty offense? The Jets offensive “guru” has had to overcome game calling for a young, and often times mistake prone QB, on a team with an excellent defense that doesn’t need a scoreboard to light up in order to win. However, it is time to brand this unit. Time to blend the run game with what ought to be an emerging passing game.

For now two key questions remain: When if ever, will the veil come off of Sanchez? When does that blind mutual trust between OC and QB truly begin?  A stalemate in this one on one battle of the headsets will keep the Jets in the game. Anything less may leave the Jets at 0-1 and prepping for Jacksonville.

TOJ Week 1 Roundtable: Jets/Cowboys Picks

Joe Caporoso: See the 12 pack

Justin Fritze: This game will start slow as each offense will try and guess what the defense is going to do. We know one thing about the Dallas front 7. DeMarcus Ware is coming. John Conner will be put to the test. LT will not stop Ware in run blocking. The Jets got lucky that the secondary of Dallas is decimated, as Sanchez can air it out with less fear. You can’t run a Ryan defense without good corners, and Rob Ryan’s bluster will be put to the test. The Jets will try to run the ball, but we know Dallas is going to stop the run first. I see Holmes and Burress having big catches, and Dustin Keller finally getting some long deserved passes over the middle.  Romo will have a touchdown pass and Felix Jones will take it in from the goal line. I take Jets 21-17.

Rob Celletti: The Jets get off the ground, winning 24-16.  I think the defense will come up with a big performance highlighted by an interception or two of Tony Romo and the offense will do just enough, adjusting as the game progresses and scoring 17 of their 24 points in the second half. Santonio Holmes, LaDainian Tomlinson (receiving) and Shonn Greene will score touchdowns for Gang Green.

TJ Rosenthal: Not a big fan of predicting games or seasons because we all know that one injury to a key player can change the complexion of how two teams play. That said, the matchup right now can go in two directions. If the Cowboys new offensive line struggles in their first game together, if the Dallas secondary, banged up and struggling has communication issues, the Jets have an edge in a 24/27 to-13/17 type of game. On the other hand if the Jets can’t stop Tony Romo from escaping the pocket to find TE Jason Witten, and Mark Sanchez and the new WR corps aren’t on the same page yet, the Cowboys have the edge in a 21/24-13 type of game.

Chris Celletti: I think it is a very close game that comes down to the last possession.The Jets will have some success throwing the ball, but I think Jason Witten and Miles Austin will have big games for the Cowboys as well. The Jets have a slight edge in the running game, with the inexperience of the Cowboys’ offensive line showing through. Plaxico Burress hauls in his first TD since being in the slammer, and Nick Folk makes a field goal in the 4th quarter to put the Jets up. The Jets get a stop on a 4th and long late in the game to seal a 23-20 win.

TOJ Week 1 NFL Picks

Lines taken from BET US

Pittsburgh (PK) vs. Baltimore – The Ravens can never seem to get over the hump versus the Steelers and I don’t think that will change this week.

Detroit (PK) vs. Tampa Bay – Plenty of hype surrounding these two young teams, the Lions can overcome that vicious Tampa Bay home-field advantage.

Atlanta (-3.5) vs. Chicago – There is some buzz about the Bears upsetting the Falcons this week, who are a popular Super Bowl pick. I just don’t see it.

Buffalo (+6) vs. Kansas City – The Chiefs aren’t returning to the playoffs this year and the Bills will be better than people expect.

Houston (-8.5) vs. Indianapolis – The Colts are a one man team and that man is hurt.

St. Louis (+4.5) vs. Philadelphia – Tons of pressure on Philadelphia out of the gate, against an improving young St. Louis team on the road sounds like an upset to me.

Cleveland (-7.5) vs. Cincinnati – The Browns should get off to a strong start this year considering their schedule.

Tennessee (+1) vs. Jacksonville – Watch out for the Titans in the suddenly depleted AFC South.

Washington (+3) vs. New York Giants – Jersey’s JV team gets off to an ugly start.

Carolina (+7.5) vs. Arizona – The Panthers will keep this tight and maybe steal a late win to kick off the Cam Newton era.

San Francisco (-5) vs. Seattle – Man, I hate the NFC West.

Minnesota (+8.5) vs. San Diego – Upset alert.

New York Jets (-5) vs. Dallas Cowboys – The Cowboys are too banged up to pull the upset in this one.

New England (-7.5) vs. Miami – The game would be blacked out if the 15,000 Patriots fans didn’t show up.

Oakland (+3) vs. Denver – Crazy to have faith in the Raiders? Against Denver, I don’t think so.

Jets vs. Cowboys: 12 Pack Of Predictions

Yes, it is finally that time of the year…back to the 12 pack. Here are 12 predictions for the Jets week one match-up versus the Dallas Cowboys –

1. Mark Sanchez is going to put together a strong overall performance, taking advantage of a weak Dallas secondary. He will learn his lesson from last year’s opener and play looser, along with being more aggressive. Sanchez will finish with over 225 yards of passing and a pair of touchdowns.

2. Dez Bryant is going to make a big play on Antonio Cromartie when he is matched up on him in single coverage.

3. Jason Witten will have a big day and lead the Cowboys in receptions, along with having at least 70 yards receiving.

4. Due to a more pass happy game plan, Shonn Greene will only receive 15-17 carries and finish with somewhere between 65-80 rushing yards, along with a touchdown.

5. Both Calvin Pace and Jamaal Westerman will get on the board with a sack Sunday night. In total the Jets defense will sack Tony Romo at least 4 times and force him into 1 or 2 turnovers.

6. Jeremy Kerley will take at least two snaps out of the Wildcat formation, with Joe McKnight lined up alongside of him.

7. Unless Antonio Cromartie goes deep on a kick return, the Jets won’t start one of their drives that begins with a kick return past the 20 yard line.

8. Santonio Holmes is going to have a big night, leading the Jets in receptions and receiving yards, along with getting in the end-zone.

9. Plaxico Burress will also score a touchdown in his Jets regular season debut but will finish with less than 40 receiving yards total.

10. Nick Folk is going to miss at least one field goal under 40 yards.

11. Felix Jones will hurt the Jets out of the backfield as a pass receiver, breaking off a big play or two on screen passes.

12. The Jets are going to win this one fairly comfortably, 31-16. Dallas is going to be overmatched in the secondary and on the offensive line. There is going to be too much energy in the building for the Jets to blow this home opener to an inferior team.

Jets vs. Cowboys: Game Breakdown

Offense: The New York Jets need to be in attack mode from the first snap of the game. There is too much talent at the wide receiver and tight end position for them not to have a game plan based around a downfield passing attack to take advantage of a battered and suspect Dallas secondary. You can’t double team Santonio Holmes and Plaxico Burress and Dustin Keller, meaning at some point all three should have opportunities to make huge plays. It is imperative that the Jets get Burress involved early on a safe pass to calm his nerves and get him into the flow of the game. Holmes is going to get his looks but Mark Sanchez can’t forget about Dustin Keller and Derrick Mason in the short to intermediate passing game on third down situations.

Sanchez has a prime opportunity to demonstrate his progression as he enters the third year in this system. We are past color coded wrist bands and games with sub 50% completion percentages. He needs to play confident from the first snap and put together a statement performance on national television.

Let’s not entirely forget about the running game, which will set up the opportunity for play action down the field. We have heard all about Shonn Greene being the feature back so Brian Schottenheimer needs to prove it by giving him at least 16-20 carries. LaDainian Tomlinson will be out there on third downs and to occasionally spell Greene. I wouldn’t expect to see Joe McKnight or Jeremy Kerley except for a handful of plays. Kerley could take a few snaps from the Wildcat to give upcoming defenses more to prepare for.

Wayne Hunter will be under the microscope on the offensive line, especially in his match-ups against DeMarcus Ware. The Jets don’t frequently give help to their tackles so Hunter will be on an island at times and needs to protect Sanchez so the Jets can attack down the field.

Defense: Just like the offense, they need to attack from the first snap of the game. If he gets cleared to play, rookie first round pick Tyron Smith will start at right tackle. Rookie Bill Nagy is starting at left guard and Phil Costa will be making his second career start at center. Tony Romo should also be rusty considering he missed the last two thirds of the 2010 season. I am aware it is risky to leave your corners on islands against Miles Austin and Dez Bryant but that is why Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie make the big bucks. Expect to see plenty of 6 and 7 man blitzes coming right at Romo.

The match-up that is most concerning for the Jets is tight end Jason Witten. Their defense struggled against tight ends last year and Witten is one of the best in the business. Their safeties are not equipped to cover him one on one, so the Jets will have to mix and match double teams at him and maybe occasionally throw Revis on him.

Felix Jones is a serious home run threat out of the backfield, so it is important the Jets keep contain and force him to run north and south. He is also a threat as a receiver out of the backfield and Dallas will likely attempt to take advantage of the Jets lack of speed at linebacker.

It will be interesting to see how Rex Ryan uses his bench on defense. Look for Jamaal Westerman, Kyle Wilson, Brodney Pool, Ropati Pitoitua, and Donald Strickland to see plenty of action. This is an important game in particular for Westerman and Wilson who need to prove they deserve big roles on the defense. Also keep an eye out for rookie first round pick Muhammad Wilkerson making his career regular season start.

Special Teams: Nick Folk and TJ Conley will be under the microscope all year at kicker and punter for the Jets, respectively. Conley in particular could be a bad game or two away from being released.  Look for rookie Jeremy Kerely to handle most of the return duties. Antonio Cromartie will likely get a rep or two on kick return and run it out regardless of where it is kicked. I also wouldn’t be surprised to see Jim Leonhard deep on a punt in a big spot. Brian McCann is listed as the Cowboys primary returner but Dez Bryant and Felix Jones both have the ability to step in and provide a major threat. Cowboys kicker David Buehler has one of the strongest legs in the game.