New York Jets Fact Or False: Week 1 Edition

Chris Gross Fact or False previews the Jets/Bills week 1 match-up

With the 2012 NFL season finally just a couple of days away, Turn On The Jets brings you the very first regular season edition of New York Jets Fact Or False. For the duration of the season, each week’s F or F will be previewing the upcoming Jets game for each particular week. During the bye week, we will have another edition of the ever so popular “Tweeter’s Choice,” where readers can send in topics for analysis via twitter. For now, let’s look at some keys to the game for this Sunday’s season opener against the Buffalo Bills at MetLife Stadium.

Fred Jackson will surpass 100 yards rushing. False.

While Fred Jackson is certainly a very effective running back, who seems to be aging like a fine wine, he has never surpassed 100 yards rushing against the Jets over his entire career. Jackson is coming off of a season ending leg injury from 2011, and being on the wrong side of 30 is a cause for serious concern for one of Buffalo’s most highly touted offensive weapons. Still, Jackson will likely turn out a productive season. That being said, don’t expect him to light up the stat sheet this Sunday.

Jackson’s career rushing high against New York came in their most recent meeting last season, a game in which he amassed just 82 yards on the ground. With the way the Jets’ defense has looked this preseason, particularly against the run, don’t expect Jackson to do much better than that. The Jets have added some youth and speed to their front seven to couple with veterans like Calvin Pace, Bart Scott, and David Harris. This defense should be fun to watch this season, and it will start by shutting Jackson down this Sunday.

Darrelle Revis will keep Stevie Johnson in check. Fact. 

We all expected the hype surrounding this issue coming into this game. The Bills and their fan base like to believe that Stevie Johnson is the only wide receiver in the league to have success against Darrelle Revis. Comparatively speaking, they surely propose a fair argument. In their last match up, Johnson caught 8 balls for 75 yards and a touchdown, numbers that are certainly more respectable than those of his counterparts around the league when facing New York’s All-Pro cornerback. However, following this matchup,the claim has been made that Johnson actually has Revis’s number. Unlike the prior argument, this holds no water.

Throughout his career, Johnson has faced Revis in six games. Over the course of those games, he has amassed 22 catches for 283 yards and 3 touchdowns, averaging out to about 3.7 receptions for 37 yards and .5 touchdowns per game. Considering the fact that Johnson is Buffalo’s number one receiving option, and one of their best offensive playmakers, these numbers do not quite scream domination. You can bet your last dollar that Darrelle Revis has been listening to all of the hype from the fanbase and media alike about Johnson’s success against him, which will likely cause him to take this matchup more personal than any other. Expect Revis Island to be at high tide this Sunday.

The outcome of this game will come down to whichever Quarterback makes the least mistakes. Fact.

The Jets and Bills are both built somewhat similar. Each team relies heavily on their defense and rushing attack to stay competitive in games, hoping that their respective quarterbacks can take that next step to propel them toward permanent contender status. This game will surely provide plenty of quality defense and could remain close for the greater part of 60 minutes.

Mark Sanchez and Ryan Fitzpatrick have each shown signs of quality quarterback play in the past, but each have struggled heavily at times as well, both becoming scapegoats for holding their teams back at some point in their careers. When speaking of each of these teams, the consesus for predicting their success seems to be the same – if the quarterback position can provide consistent, quality play, the team can do great things. That notion could not be more on point for this Sunday. While there will surely be plenty of plays made on the defensive side of the ball, as well as in the running game for each team, the quarterbacks will likely determine the outcome. Who is going to make the plays when they count the most? Who will choke under pressure and cost their team a victory with a vital mistake?

Mark Sanchez will be sacked less than 3 times. False. 

While Sanchez should certainly have better protection now that Wayne Hunter is off of the team and in St. Louis, Austin Howard is making his first career start against one of the most prolific pass rushers in all of football in Mario Williams. Williams inked a record setting deal with Buffalo this offseason, and one would think that he is going to be playing to prove his worth after Houston allowed him to depart as a free agent this spring. Combine that with the rest of Buffalo’s very talented defensive line, and Howard and Co. should have a very busy day this Sunday. Again, the line does look improved with Howard replacing Hunter, however Sanchez was sacked 4 times in the season opener last year, so if New York can limit Buffalo to 3, it is still an improvement.

Mark Sanchez will complete more than 58% of his passes. Fact.

One thing that Sanchez has shown this preseason, particularly in the Carolina game, is a much better command of the offense. In fact, over the course of the entire preseason, he posted a completion percentage of 68.6. While the offense may not be built for Sanchez to put up monstrous numbers, there is no reason for him to be inefficient. Ball security and efficiency are going to be key to the success of the offense this year, and Sanchez, now heading into his fourth professional season, needs to demonstrate each of these components. Considering Buffalo’s young secondary, Sanchez should be able to complete more than half of his passes this Sunday, if he is provided adequate blocking. If the offensive line struggles to protect him, however, all bets are off.

The “TebowCat” will be used on at least one scoring drive. Fact.

Everyone has been eagerly waiting to see what the Jets have planned, offensively, for Tim Tebow. The “TebowCat,” as this package is now being referred to as, will likely make its debut at MetLife Stadium this Sunday, and for good reason. As previously discussed, Buffalo has a very good, ferocious defensive line, that will likely play very aggressively. New York can slow that unit down by rolling out the Tebow-led package and running some draws and misdirections to keep Mario Williams and Co. on their toes. Expect this formation to be used on at least one scoring drive this weak, particularly inside the 20.

One Down, Five To Go: Jets Win Ugly…Very Ugly

It was far from pretty but the New York Jets are alive thanks to a last second win over the Buffalo Bills

The New York Jets will never make it easy. They will make us sick at times. They will confuse us. They will make it as hard as possible on themselves. They didn’t play well today. They put themselves in a dogfight with a subpar, injured team. Yet, in the end, they fought…and they found a way to win. We’ll get to that later, but let’s start with the problems.

First off, what the hell were they thinking by putting Antonio Cromartie deep on punt return instead of Jim Leonhard? Cromartie hasn’t returned a single punt all season and you put him deep in a one touchdown game, in the windy Meadowlands? I heard the excuse about Jim Leonhard having the wind knocked out of him. I am not sure I am buying it. If that was the case, the Jets need a more sure handed backup option than Cromartie who has zero ball security skills. Put Santonio Holmes deep. Call a timeout to get Leonhard his wind back or tell him just to fair catch it.

While we are on Cromartie, he has been generally awful this year and it didn’t stop today. He let up a touchdown to Brad Smith and was beaten up and down the field by him. By Brad Smith, who is far from a quality NFL receiver. Wasn’t Cromartie supposed to be a playmaker? All I can remember from him this year is turning the football over on special teams and allowing touchdowns on defense.

Now on to the most confusing part of the day, Darrelle Revis who was beaten up and down the field by Stevie Johnson. It was bizarre to watch the eight receptions and the touchdown on him, granted they only added up to 75 yards. It was a busy day for Johnson, who cemented himself as three things: a talented wide receiver, a scumbag, and a choke artist. The imitation of Plaxico Burress shooting himself was as classes as it gets. Fortunately, everybody gets the last laugh on Johnson as he choked yet again, late in the game by dropping a potential touchdown pass. It reminded me of this one from last year.

Over to the offense. Mark Sanchez had the worst four touchdown performance you will ever see today. He was inaccurate, particularly in the first half and he continued to throw into coverage. For some reason he kept throwing the same dig route into triple coverage, fortunately it only intercepted once. There was also multiple communications with the wide receivers. Brian Schottenheimer was inconsistent again, calling too many passes and inexplicably going away from Joe McKnight when it appeared Shonn Greene was hurt. McKnight had 40 yards on 6 touches. Do the math. He needs more of them.

Turnovers. Miscommunications. Subpar Play. But still, a victory. And for that, you must give some credit to Mark Sanchez, who did improve his play in the second half and did put together yet another game winning drive that ended with a Santonio Holmes touchdown. The talent is there but the consistency needs to improve…immensely.

Plaxico Burress deserves a ton of credit for another terrific game, highlighted by a beautiful one-handed third down grab that kept the Jets game winning drive alive. He also scored his 7th touchdown of the season and never went down to Stevie Johnson’s level to respond to him.

In the end, the Jets are alive and very much in the thick of the AFC playoff picture. They need to get better…much better but they live to fight another day. Rex Ryan said in his post-game speech, “don’t let anybody rob us of our dreams”…let’s see if the Jets can prevent the Redskins from doing that next week.