Well Jets fans the wait is finally over. All of the moves have been made and words have been spoken, now it is time for Gang Green to take the field. On Monday night the Jets take on the Baltimore Ravens at the new Meadowlands stadium (7pm EST). This will be Gang Green’s first regular season game in the new stadium, and what better way to do it than under the bright lights of Monday Night Football. Lets take a look at some of the keys to the game.
1) Establish the running game- It is no secret that the Jets want to run the ball, but the Ravens defense is one of the best in the NFL. Gang Green must find a way to control the line of scrimmage and open up holes for their backs. I would not be surprised to see the Jets rely heavily on fullbacks and tight ends to help support new left guard Matt Slauson.
2) Keep Ravens honest with the passing game- The Ravens defense is all about putting pressure on the quarterback and the Jets must find a way to keep them off balance. Whether it is quick slants or checkdowns to the running backs, Gang Green must find a way to slow down the pass rush. In addition the Jets need to complete some big plays down the field to try and prevent the Ravens from stacking the box. (Note: The Ravens secondary has been decimated by injuries including Ed Reed missing the game)
3) Get Sanchez comfortable early- In order for the Jets to accomplish #2 offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer must get quarterback Mark Sanchez comfortable early on in the game. Sanchez is an emotional player and the last thing Gang Green can afford is to have the young gunslinger rattled early.
4) Limit turnovers- Another no-brainer in the NFL is to limit turnovers, but for whatever reason this preseason the Jets were fumbling the ball all over the place. Gang Green cannot afford to turn the ball over if they want any chance to win this game.
1) Contain Rice- The Jets must find a way to contain running back Ray Rice, who has become a dynamic playmaker for the Ravens. Rice is not only an explosive runner, but also a receiving threat out of the backfield. If the Jets are unable to slow down the Baltimore running attack, the passing game becomes that much more of a threat.
2) Get to Flacco- Quarterback Joe Flacco is entering his third season and Baltimore has done an excellent job surrounding him with weapons. The Jets must find a way to put pressure on Flacco and force him into bad decisions and poor throws.
3) Secondary help- The Jets secondary will have their hands full covering Anquan Boldin, Derrick Mason, and TJ Houshmanzadeh. Communication will be the key for the Jets as they could be starting up to 3 new players in the secondary (Cromartie, Wilson, Pool).
This is put up or shut up time for the New York Jets. Gang Green has talked the talk, now they must walk the walk against one of the best teams in the AFC. The stadium is going to be electric and the intensity will be at an all-time high. I expect this game to be very physical with both teams trying to rattle the opposing quarterback. Look for the Jets to start out fast to feed off of the energy of the crowd.
My instinct tells me the Ravens are going to win this game, but my Jets brain believes in Rex Ryan and his players. Jets 16-13