The New York Jets host the 0-2 Philadelphia Eagles at MetLife Stadium this Sunday in a game many “expect” them to win despite Vegas only giving them 2 points at home. Say it with me, Admiral Ackbar and our friends at RTU Sports
Let’s take a closer look at the match-up…
The Glass Half Full – The Eagles have one of the worst offensive guard situations in the NFL and the Jets have one of the best defensive lines in the NFL. Philadelphia’s front seven has been solid but is likely to be without Kiko Alonso and Mychal Kendricks. Sam Bradford is a statue of ineptitude and Todd Bowles is going to rain blitzes down on his funny looking shoulder pads. Byron Maxwell has been cooked more than one of the slavers Kahleesi’s army overtook in Game of Thrones and Brandon Marshall is a bad, bad man right now. The Jets have never beat the Eagles…they are due.
The Glass Half Empty – This sets up as a classic let down game with the Jets on a short week after a primetime “upset” victory. The Jets are banged up with Chris Ivory and Eric Decker both questionable and Darrelle Revis dealing with a groin injury. Philadelphia isn’t as bad as they’ve shown in the previous two weeks and is due to break out on offense. Darren Sproles is a match-up nightmare for the Jets defense, particularly their slow linebackers. Everybody has given up on him but Chip Kelly didn’t forget how to coach.
Offensively – The Eagles are likely to replicate what the Colts did to slow down the Jets running game, which is stack the box and dare Ryan Fitzpatrick to throw over the top. They probably watched the tape and said they will sign up for that many opportunities for interceptions, particularly if Fitzpatrick doesn’t have Eric Decker as a security blanket underneath. However, after what Brandon Marshall did to Joe Haden and Vontae Davis, what is he going to do to Byron Maxwell?
Rookie Devin Smith is likely to take Chris Owusu’s split end role and I’d expect the Jets to give him a shot or two deep on Nolan Carroll who has also been struggling. Marshall may see more slot work if Decker doesn’t play, if not the Jets are likely to dust off Jeremy Kerley for extended work in his role that he used to thrive at.
It sounds like Chris Ivory’s status is very much in question, which is going to equal more opportunities for Bilal Powell who already matched his touch total last week (16). Zac Stacy may also see his first offensive work of the season. I’d expect the Jets to keep trying to work Brandon Marshall outside the numbers, particularly if he is singled up with Maxwell and to have a heavy dose of Powell both in the run and pass game. I’m curious to see if they split him out due to the injuries at receiver and see if he can take advantage of the Eagles linebacker in space, like the Cowboys did.
Defensively – I’d expect the Jets to borrow from what the Cowboys did last week, which is load up the box and force Sam Bradford to beat them over the top. Mike Nolan explained it well in this week’s podcast but the Cowboys scheme was basically built to put an extra defender in the box and set it up so Sean Lee could get a free run downhill. The Jets don’t have a linebacker with Lee’s athleticism but many try something similar with David Harris or Demario Davis.
Also pointed out by Nolan is that since Terrell Suggs hit on Sam Bradford in the pre-season, the Eagles have shied away from zone read. This has left them failing with inside zone and their sweep which the Cowboys blew up by hitting Jason Kelce before he could properly pull in front of the play.
In the passing game, the Jets will probably have both Buster Skrine and Darrelle Revis take cracks at Jordan Matthews in the slot. The Eagles haven’t shown much outside the numbers at receiver yet with Riley Cooper still being awful, Josh Huff being the definition of mediocrity and Nelson Agholor still not receiving many opportunities. It will be interesting to see if Philadelphia tests Antonio Cromartie deep with Algholor, as he has given up both of the Jets touchdowns this season.
Overall – This is a favorable match-up for the Jets at home. It is on the coaching staff to have the team ready to play on a short week, with a banged up roster. Their depth is going to be tested this week but the Jets should be able to lean on their talent, particularly on the defensive line and at cornerback to lead the way to a victory.