On Sunday the New York Jets (0-1) take on the New England Patriots (1-o) at the new Meadowlands stadium (4:15 EST). The Patriots enter the game coming off of an impressive victory over the Cincinnati Bengals, while the Jets come in off of a disappointing loss to the Baltimore Ravens. It is very rare to call a week two match-up a “must win” game, but in the Jets case that is the scenario the team is facing as Gang Green cannot afford to go 0-2 with two conference losses. Lets take a look at some keys to the game.
Offensive line play- Last week was as bad as it gets in terms of offense for the New York Jets. Gang Green must bounce back with an attitude this week and that starts at the line of scrimmage. The offensive line must win the battles in the trenches and open holes for the running game. Of course when running the ball the Jets cannot turn it over, but that is a story for a different day.
Open up the passing game- Quarterback Mark Sanchez took a lot of criticism this past week, but the fact of the matter is that the playcalling did not help him much. The Jets must be willing to spread the field and take some deep shots. A predictable offense will not only kill the running game, but will get your quarterback knocked out of it as well.
Get Keller involved- The Jets offense seems to become more efficient when tight end Dustin Keller gets involved. Keller is a big, reliable target for Sanchez that can help take the pressure off of players like Cotchery and Edwards. Gang Green should Keller involved early and often to loosen up the Pats defense.
Pressure,pressure,pressure- The key to beating the Patriots is to get to quarterback Tom Brady. If Brady has time to throw the ball he will pick apart any defense. Gang Green must do whatever they can to get to the quarterback and knock him around the pocket.
Limit Welker- While Randy Moss captures the headlines, wide receiver Wes Welker is the guy that moves the chains for the Patriots offense. The Pats move Wes all over the field and Gang Green must find a way to keep him under wraps.
Moss vs. Revis- This match-up captured headlines all week, especially when word leaked out about Darrelle’s “tight hamstring”. Moss remains one of the most dangerous receivers in the NFL and is motivated now more than ever as he is playing for a new contract. Look for the Pats to go to Randy early and often to test out not only Darrelle, but the Jets defense as a whole. I think in the end Revis may regret calling Moss a slouch.
The entire team
In order to beat the Patriots the Jets cannot afford to make stupid mistakes, which include turning over the ball and dumb penalties. Gang Green must play aggressive and feed off of the energy of the crowd, which will be more than ready for this match-up. To quote Herman Edwards, the Jets must “play to win the game” not play to keep it close in the fourth quarter.
The Patriots have to be chomping at the bit to drop a 40 spot on the Jets after all of the trash talking and Super Bowl predictions. This is a tough spot for Gang Green as there is going to be a ton of pressure on the offense, especially if the Pats score first. As much as I want to believe in Schottenheimer and Sanchez, I think in the end have to go with Brady and Co. Patriots 27-13
You can discuss this game in our New York Jets fan forum.