Jets vs. Ravens: 12 Pack Of Predictions

The 12 pack took a beating last week as the New York Jets lost their first game of the regular season. Yet, just like the team we cover, we don’t die easy. Here are 12 predictions for Sunday night football –

1. The Baltimore Ravens are going to pick on Antonio Cromartie early and often. Wouldn’t you? He will pick up a couple of penalties and allow a big play or two, but will also come up with a big play which he couldn’t do last week. I don’t expect to see him at all on kick return.

2. Speaking of kick return, Joe McKnight will have a big night as the deep man and will have a bigger role back there moving forward even when Cromartie is 100 percent healthy.

3. I am setting the over/under at 55 yards for Shonn Greene, and I am taking the under.

4. Mark Sanchez is going to have the pass rush in his face all game and take a few sacks. However, he will also create a few big plays outside of the pocket when the play breaks down and also burn the Ravens in a few situations where they leave Santonio Holmes and Plaxico Burress one on one. He will throw for over 275 yards.

5. Ray Rice will have at least a combined 125 yards rushing and receiving and get in the end-zone once.

6. Joe Flacco will turn the football over at least once, however he will also beat the Jets down the for a touchdown pass of 40 yards or longer. The Jets will only sack him once.

7. Santonio Holmes is going to have his biggest game of the season, in both yardage and receptions. He will also score his second touchdown of the season.

8. Darrelle Revis will keep Anquan Boldin under 40 total yards receiving if he is matched up on him throughout the night.

9. Kenrick Ellis and Aaron Maybin will both be active. Nick Mangold will be a gametime decision and won’t end up playing, as the Jets smartly work to get him near 100 percent for New England next week.

10. Nick Folk will miss a field goal, he is due for one.

11. Derrick Mason will score his first touchdown of the season.

12. Am I being naive for picking the Jets to eek out a tight victory, 21-20? Maybe so. We’ll see. This won’t be a pretty game but the Jets will find a way to gut one out late.

Game Breakdown: Jets vs. Ravens

Offense: Logically it makes sense for the New York Jets to attack the Baltimore Ravens primarily through the air, particularly outside of the hashes, away from Ed Reed. The weakest spot of the Baltimore Ravens is their cornerback position. The more one on one match-ups the Jets can get for their starting receivers, the better. This isn’t a day for Dustin Keller and Derrick Mason. This is a day for Santonio Holmes and Plaxico Burress.

I am not saying Keller and Mason can’t have their moments contributing in the short passing game and in third down situations. Yet, if the Jets want to win this game it will be on a collection of big plays from arguably their two biggest playmakers, Holmes and Burress. I am also not saying the Jets should be completely one dimensional. A complete ignorance of the running game will only fuel the Ravens pass rush. The Jets need to keep the defense honest by occasionally hitting the edges of the Ravens defense with Shonn Greene and LaDainian Tomlinson.

This is a night for Mark Sanchez. He has put together his share of “big boy” performances and now is time for another one. Let’s see our young quarterback go on the road, in primetime, against one of the league’s best defenses and put together a 22/30, 275 yard, 2 touchdown performance without any turnovers.

Defense: Gut-check time. It has been an ugly stretch of football for the New York Jets defense against NFL opponents (sorry, I don’t count Jacksonville). How about it Rex? How about it Mike Pettine? More importantly, let’s see the linebackers and Antonio Cromartie get up off the mat after last weekend. I don’t buy any talk about this defense losing their swagger. This is still a confident unit, who is in need of a performance to hang their hat on.

The linebackers need to set the edge on Ray Rice and keep him contained, and put this game on Joe Flacco. This unit is built to man up with Darrelle Revis and Cromartie, and send the house after the quarterback. Hit Joe Flacco in the mouth, early and often and he will throw you a few interceptions. If the Jets can create a couple of sacks and turnovers, they will be in good shape to move to 3-1.

Special Teams: Always a potential x-factor with a unit as talented as the Jets have. Jeremy Kerley looked like a major weapon on punt return last week and Joe McKnight will get a shot to make a statement this week on kick return.

Roster: Nick Mangold will likely be a game time decision. It would be unbelievably impressive if he returned this quickly from his high ankle sprain. Antonio Cromartie is going to start at corner but likely won’t be used on kick return. The Jets would be wise to make both recently signed Aaron Mayin and rookie third round pick Kenrick Ellis active this Sunday. They need help on the pass rush and in stopping the run, so why not give them a shot?

TOJ Roundtable Week 4: Jets/Ravens Key Match-Up

Joe Caporoso: I am putting this on the shoulders of our quarterback Mark Sanchez taking on a star studded Baltimore Ravens defense. Despite the big names of Ray Lewis, Terrell Suggs, Ed Reed, and Haloti Ngata the Ravens have been susceptible to the pass. Sanchez and offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer need to find ways to attack Lardarius Webb, Chris Carr, and Cary Williams with Santonio Holmes, Plaxico Burress, and Derrick Mason consistently. The pass protection has been questionable and we all know the Ravens will be coming, but the Jets need to roll out their best blitz beaters and scheme to get the ball in their hands of three veteran wide receivers in space. Sanchez needs to protect the football, while still being aggressive down the field and standing in the face of a stacked Ravens front seven.

Rob Celletti: Going with the obvious one this week: The Jets’ front-seven, which was absolutely miserable last week, vs. Ray Rice. Like Darren McFadden, Rice is an elite running back who can hurt you inside or outside of the tackles. Even more importantly than the issues that have been addressed this week such as “containment” and “setting the edge”, I want to see the Jets get back to solid fundamentals: good positioning and tackling.  Holding Rice in check is the first step towards getting back on track this Sunday.

TJ Rosenthal: The biggest matchup for the Jets will be their ability to protect Mark Sanchez and create holes for the running backs against the Ravens front seven. We expect the Jets to come out with intensity especially after the loss to Oakland where many including Broadway Joe Namath came out and questioned whether the Jets are treated with kid gloves by the coach, and too confident in themselves as well.

The Jets screen and run game worked until they went away from it last week. Maybe the Raiders forced them out of it, but this week, the protection must hold up longer in order to get the ball to key playmakers Dustin Keller, Plaxico Burres and Santonio Holmes. The jury is out as to whether they will be able to.

Chris Celletti: The most important matchup will be the Jets’ cuurently-maligned run defense against Ray Rice and the Ravens’ offensive line. Including last year’s AFC Championship game loss to the Steelers, Rex Ryan’s defense has been torn apart in three of their last four games. Two of those times, including last week’s horror show against the Raiders, the run defense has been carved up. The Jets need to bottle up Rice and make Joe Flacco beat them. If they can’t do that and allow the Ravens to control the clock, it could be a long night.

Preliminary Thoughts: Jets vs. Ravens

The New York Jets are back in primetime this week with a showdown against the Baltimore Ravens, who knocked them off in the season opener last year, 10-9. This season the Ravens are off to a 2-1 start and are coming off a 37-7 beating of the St. Louis Rams. This promises to be a physical, emotional game as Rex Ryan, Bart Scott, Derrick Mason and Jim Leonhard return to their old franchise.

As we all know, Baltimore is loaded on defense led by Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, Terrell Suggs, and Haloti Ngata. Mark Sanchez and company will have their hands full, especially with Nick Mangold not likely to play this week. It will take a strong, smart performance from Sanchez coupled with a creative game-plan by Brian Schottenheimer to put enough points on the board to win. The Ravens can be thrown on. Let’s not forget they lost in week 2 to the Tennessee Titans, 26-13. In that game Matt Hasselbeck threw for 358 yards and a touchdown. The Jets have struggled to consistently keep their starting receivers involved, Santonio Holmes and Plaxico Burress, but they must work the football to them early and often to take advantage of the Ravens cornerbacks.

Baltimore went to the air more than usual last week, bombing it up to rookie Torrey Smith for three first quarter touchdowns. I got news for you, with Darrelle Revis likely matched up on Anquan Boldin, there are going to be plenty of deep balls to Smith coming Antonio Cromartie’s way. A scary thought at this exact moment. You can say Smith is a rookie and only had one big quarter but keep in mind what we saw last week. It is a feast or famine with Cromartie, so you never know what you will get. Ray Rice could also be problematic for the Jets considering his speed to the outside and ability to catch the football out of the backfield. They will likely look to attack the edges in a similar way the Raiders did.

In order to pull out this road victory, the Jets will need to be on top of their game in every third of the game. Their special teams have been a major weapon so far this year, and a big Jeremy Kerley punt return or Antonio Cromartie/Joe McKnight kick return could go a long way on Sunday night.

A win in Baltimore should erase any lingering sour feelings over last week’s ugly loss and give the Jets momentum heading into New England the following week. One loss should be a little adversity but with this team everything is magnified so last week has become a huge deal, let’s see how the Jets respond on a big stage.

Jets vs. Ravens: 12 Pack Of Predictions

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A 12 pack of predictions for Monday night’s game from TOJ, along with other week one NFL predictions

1. Ray Rice is going to rack up a good amount of yards against the Jets defense. Their linebackers will struggle to stop him in space. However, I think we will see plenty of the Jets defense bending to allow yards but not breaking to allow touchdowns.

2. Anquan Boldin isn’t going to do much of anything against Darrelle Revis. I am more worried about Todd Heap and Derrick Mason in the middle of the field.

3. The Jets are going to take a shot down the field to Braylon Edwards very early in the game. It will soften up the defense and show they aren’t afraid to attack the Ravens weak cornerbacks.

4. LaDainian Tomlinson is going to play more reps than Shonn Greene, yet Greene will finish with more carries and more total touches.

5. Mark Sanchez is going to have at least one turnover but so is Joe Flacco, whichever quarterback does a better overall job of protecting the football is going to go a long way to deciding who wins this game.

6. Jamaal Westerman is going to make a strong case to take a good share of reps from Jason Taylor at outside linebacker

7.  Jerricho Cotchery is going to pull in at least 5 receptions and a few key third down conversions.

8. Kyle Wilson is going to impress both as a nickel back and a punt returner in his NFL debut.

9. Inactives – Kellen Clemens, Joe McKnight, Patrick Brown, Matthew Mulligan, Marcus Dixon, Drew Coleman, Calvin Pace, Brodney Pool

10. Eric Smith is going to make a strong case for more playing time with a solid performance filling in for Brodney Pool.

11. This game will be decided in the final four minutes. It is going to come down to which offense can break through with a timely big play or two, along with what defense can create a turnover that leads directly to points for their offense.

12. Ultimately, the Ravens will move the ball but the will Jets keep holding them to field goals and escape with a victory on a late (gulp) Nick Folk field goal, 17-16.

Other NFL Picks

  • Giants (-6) vs. Carolina
  • Miami (-4.5) vs. Buffalo
  • Atlanta (-2) vs. Pittsburgh
  • Detroit (+6.5) vs. Chicago
  • Cincinnati (+5.5) vs. New England
  • Cleveland (+3) vs. Tampa Bay
  • Jacksonville (-3) vs. Denver
  • Colts  (-3) vs. Houston
  • Oakland (+6.5) vs. Tennessee
  • Green Bay (-4) vs. Philadelphia
  • San Francisco (-4) vs. Seattle
  • Arizona (-3.5) vs. St. Louis
  • Dallas (-3.5) vs. Washington
  • San Diego (-5.5) vs. Kansas City

Jets vs. Ravens: Game Breakdown

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Offense: We all know the Jets want to run the football, yet if they want to move the ball against the Baltimore Ravens it is going to make sense to throw more than usual. The Ravens are beat up in the secondary in a big way. They won’t have Ed Reed taking people’s heads off and intercepting everything in sight and will be without Dominique Foxworth and Ladarius Webb at cornerback. The bottom line is they will have a very average collection of players in their secondary and the Jets must take advantage. I’m not saying to completely ignore the ground and pound, yet the best formation for the Jets offense this week might be Jerricho Cotchery, Braylon Edwards, Brad Smith and Dustin Keller split out with LaDainian Tomlinson in the single back or motioning out to the slot.

There isn’t a corner on Baltimore who could physically match up with Edwards, who is coming off a great off-season and will have the chance to show these first four weeks he is capable of being the Jets number one receiver. Cotchery should be able to be very effective in the slot and Keller will be a tough match-up for the Baltimore safeties, although Dawan Landry is a talented player who is athletic enough to battle with Keller.

PhotobucketObviously, left guard remains an area of concern. The Ravens will be attacking Matt Slauson and I wouldn’t be shocked if the Jets left the running back in to pass protect more frequently than usual. I am interested to see the division of reps between the halfbacks and fullbacks in week one. This will be Shonn Greene’s first career start, yet I wonder if he will get the chance to get around 20 carries. Tomlinson could get more reps than usual because of a more pass centric than usual game-plan and his pass protection abilities. I am sure we will see John Conner in short yardage packages but there should be plenty of Tony Richardson out there, again because of his experience in pass protection.

Defense: Ray Rice. Ray Rice. Ray Rice. Regardless of all their additions at the wide receiver position, Rice is the most dangerous player on the Ravens offense. He can kill you as a pass catcher out of the backfield and obviously has the ability to rip off huge runs at any moment. I wouldn’t be shocked to see a ton of Kyle Wilson shadowing him, if he motions out to the slot and when he is in the backfield, it will be on the linebackers and safety to contain him. Eric Smith will get the nod at safety in place of an injured Brodney Pool and will have his hands full right out of the gate. The Jets don’t have the fastest collection of linebackers, which could prove to be a problem when attempting to slow down Rice.

In the secondary, we should be seeing Revis Island matched up Anquan Boldin primarily, which leaves Antonio Cromartie to deal with Derrick Mason and Kyle Wilson to focus on Rice out of the backfield and TJ Houshmandzadeh. Todd Heap is also one of the better pass catching tight ends in the league. It will be interesting to see who the Jets match up on him. I would imagine the responsibility would fall mostly to Eric Smith, Jim Leonhard, and maybe Dwight Lowery. All in all, this will be a good test for the Jets secondary because the Ravens have a very legit five pass catching options in Boldin, Rice, Housh, Heap, and Rice.

As we saw in the playoffs last year, Joe Flacco can be pressured into making poor decisions. He does have a big arm and put together a pretty productive season in 2009, yet the Jets defense should be able to force him into a couple of turnovers. Jason Taylor has been invisible in the pre-seaosn but he will have the chance to show he can still get after the quarterback while filling in for Calvin Pace. Also don’t be surprised to see some Jamaal Westerman on certain pass rushing downs.

Special Teams: You can bet both team’s fanbases and coaching staffs will be cringing each time their kickers line up. Nick Folk and Billy Cundiff both still have to win over everybody’s confidence. Brad Smith will be the primary kick returner for the Jets, while punt return could be a combination of Jim Leonhard, Jerricho Cotchery, and Kyle Wilson. Chris Carr is a fairly explosive return man for the Ravens, but I don’t expect the Jets to do anything out of the ordinary to avoid kicking him the ball.

It’s Just About That Time

Jets vs. Ravens: First Look

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The Opponent: Along with the Jets and the Indianapolis Colts, the Baltimore Ravens are widely being selected as a favorite in the AFC. Coming off a 9-7 season in which they grabbed a wild-card spot in the week 17, Baltimore improved their offense this off-season with the addition of wide receiver Anquan Boldin and the recent signing receiver of TJ Houshmandzadeh. However, there is some concern about their secondary, with All-World safety Ed Reed beginning the season on the PUP list and starting cornerback Dominique Foxworth out for the year with a torn ACL. Regardless, Baltimore is a team cut in a similar mold to the Jets. They want to run the football and play an aggressive style of defense. This week one match-up could very well foreshadow a future playoff game between these two teams.

Baltimore Ravens Starters/Key Reserves

OFFENSE

  • Quarterback: Joe Flacco – 63.1 completion percentage, 21 TDs, 12 INTs
  • Running Back: Ray Rice – 1339 rushing yards, 702 receiving yards, 8 TDs
  • Running Back: Willis McGahee – 544 rushing yards, 85 receiving yards, 14 TDs
  • Fullback: Le’Ron McClain – 180 rushing yards, 2 TDs
  • Wide Receiver: Anquan Boldin – 84 receptions, 1024 yards, 4 TDs
  • Wide Receiver: Derrick Mason – 73 receptions, 1028 yards, 7 TDs
  • Wide Receiver: TJ Houshmandzadeh – 79 receptions, 911 yards, 3 TDs
  • Tight End: Todd Heap – 53 receptions, 593 yards, 6 TDs
  • Left Tackle: Michael Oher
  • Left Guard: Ben Grubbs
  • Center: Matt Birk
  • Right Guard: Marshal Yanda
  • Right Tackle: Jared Gaither

DEFENSE

  • Defensive End: Cory Redding – 2o tackles
  • Nose Tackle: Kelly Gregg – 46 tackles, 3 sacks
  • Defensive End: Haloti Ngata – 25 tackles, 1.5 sacks
  • Defensive End: Trevor Pryce – 6.5 sacks
  • Outside Linebacker: Jarrett Johnson – 36 tackles, 6 sacks
  • Inside Linebacker: Ray Lewis – 95 tackles, 3 sacks
  • Inside Linebacker: Dannell Ellerbe – 34 tackles, 1 INT
  • Outside Linebacker: Terrell Suggs – 44 tackles, 4.5 sacks
  • Corner: Chris Carr – 38 tackles, 2 INTs
  • Corner: Fabian Washington – 34 tackles, 6 passes defensed
  • Safety: Dawan Landry – 70 tackles, 4 INTs
  • Safety: Tom Zbikowski – 24 tackles, 2 INTs

SPECIAL TEAMS

  • Kicker: Billy Cundiff – 12/17 FGs
  • Punter: Sam Koch – 43.7 yards per punt
  • Kick Return: Jalen Parmele – 9 KRs, 283 yards
  • Punt Return: Chris Carr – 8.2 yards per return

PhotobucketKey PlayersRunning back Ray Rice is the Ravens biggest weapon and is coming off a monster season. He is a threat to break a big play at any moment and has terrific hands out of the backfield. Rice reminds me of a younger LaDainian Tomlinson. At receiver, Anquan Boldin is a pro-bowl caliber player who will be a good early test for Darrelle Revis. Joe Flacco can be inconsistent at times but still has a big time arm. Ray Lewis remains one of the best linebackers in the NFL and the Ravens pass rush is led by Terrell Suggs and Trevor Pryce. Dawan Landry is a dangerous player at safety.

Injuries – Outside of Ed Reed, the Ravens will likely also be without corner Lardarius Webb further hurting their secondary depth. Don’t expect Jets starting safety Brodney Pool to suit on Monday, which moves Eric Smith into the starting lineup. The Jets are also without tap pass rusher Calvin Pace, who recently had foot surgery.

Key Storylines – Battle of expected AFC heavyweights…Rex Ryan going against his former team…Does Revis Island still exist?…Can Mark Sanchez and Joe Flacco be consistent…Time for the Jets to put their money where their mouth is.

Highlights of Ravens Beating Down Fading AFC East Team Last Year