The New York Jets are home to take on the 2-5 Jacksonville Jaguars, coming off their worst loss of the season. Let’s break down the match-up and see if the Jets can end their losing streak and stop Jets Twitter, Jets Nation and Jets fans everywhere from hitting mass hysteria…
The Glass Half Full – This is the Jaguars and they are on the road. This is the Jaguars. Hey, this is the Jaguars. The Jets should have some degree of pride to bounce back after being humiliated in Oakland. Blake Bortles has improved but still turns the ball over frequently. Jacksonville is inconsistent defensively which should open up the opportunity for the Jets to reestablish their running game. Nick Mangold is playing. This is the Jaguars.The Glass Half Empty – Bortles has weapons that can hurt the Jets down the field, particularly if they are matched up with Antonio Cromartie, Calvin Pryor’s replacement at safety or a linebacker. Ryan Fitzpatrick is playing through an injury that could lead to him being more turnover prone than usual. Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker are banged up. What if last week wasn’t an aberration?
Offensively – The Jaguars are middle of the pack with their run defense (14th in the NFL) but have particularly struggled stopping the pass. They currently rank 25th in the league and are allowing over 263 yards per game, with only 3 total interceptions despite playing games against EJ Manuel and Brian Hoyer.
There isn’t much talent on the back end for Jacksonville and they frequently have break downs in communication, allowing big plays down the field to marginal talent.
Despite opportunities down the field, the Jets must find a way to run the football. Outside of Telvin Smith, the Jags lack athleticism at linebacker and the Jets should be able to work the A Gap with or without Willie Colon, as Nick Mangold will be back. Look for the Jets to try to establish the running game early.
Defensively – Blake Bortles has the arm strength to push the football down the field and multiple weapons to utilize. Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns are two of the better young receivers in the NFL and Julius Thomas is an athletic chess piece in the middle of the field. Rookie running back TJ Yeldon has also been productive. The Jaguars weak spot is their consistency on the offensive line and Bortles proclivity for turnovers. If there is a game for the Jets to get back on track forcing turnovers, this is it.
Overall – With their starting center and quarterback back, there is no excuse for the Jets to lose at home to Jacksonville. The Jaguars have a few weapons offensively but this team is 2-5 for a reason. Defensively, this team should be embarrassed after last week and hungry for a “get well” game against a unit susceptible to mistakes. This is a no excuse game for the Jets and a must win if they plan on being relevant for the second half of the season in the playoff race.