On Sunday the New York Jets (6-5) take on the Washington Redskins (4-7) at Fedex Field (1 p.m. EST). The Jets are flying high off of a comeback victory over the Buffalo Bills while the Redskins bounced back with a road victory against the Seattle Seahawks. Lets take a look at some of the keys to the game from the Jets perspective.
Contain Orakpo and Kerrigan- The New York Jets offensive line must find ways to contain the Washington pass rush which is spearheaded by outside linebackers Ryan Kerrigan (6.5 sacks, 4 forced fumbles) and Brian Orakpo (6 sacks, 2 forced fumbles). The Redskin defense is 3rd in the NFL with 33 sacks, which means the line must remain very consistent in blocking in order for the Jets to have any type of success passing the ball.
Establish the running game- The Jets must return to their “ground and pound” ways in order to slow down the Washington pass rush and wear down the defense. Running back LaDainian Tomlinson is slated to return from injury on Sunday and should be able to spell Shonn Greene who has been dealing with injured ribs. If the Jets are unable to consistently run the ball the offense will be in for a very long day.
Mark Sanchez- Once again the spotlight will be on quarterback Mark Sanchez as he takes on a very physical Redskin defense. Sanchez will face a formidable pass rush and must remain composed in the pocket and not force throws down the field. Mark must go through all of his reads and eliminate throws into triple coverage which result in turnovers.
Keep Keller involved- It should be no secret that when tight end Dustin Keller gets involved in the passing game the entire offense begins to open up. Offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer should set up some plays to get Keller going early on in the game which will not only get Sanchez comfortable, but will loosen up the coverage on Santonio Holmes and Plaxico Burress.
Note: Wide receiver Jeremy Kerley is set to return from injury on Sunday.
Stop Helu- The New York Jets defense must shut down the Redskins running game which is led by rookie running back Roy Helu. Helu is coming off of a 108-yard performance last week and is a versatile, powerful back that could wear down a defense. Gang Green’s front seven must contain the edge and not allow Helu to turn the corner and repeatedly move the chains. In addition Helu is a dangerous threat catching the ball out of the backfield which is something the Jets defense has struggled with as well.
Note: Defensive tackle Mike Devito will more than likely not play Sunday due to injury.
Fred Davis- Gang Green’s defense has struggled to cover tight ends all season long and will face another good one in Fred Davis (53 catches, 697 yards, 3 tds) on Sunday. The Jets must find ways to slowdown Davis who has become somewhat of a security blanket for quarterback Rex Grossman. Initially I expect the Jets to place safety Brodney Pool on Davis.
Pressure Grossman- The Redskins offensive line struggles to protect their quarterback as they rank 25th in sacks yielded and 30th in quarterback hits with 79. The Jets defense must get pressure on quarterback Rex Grossman and force him into poor decisions. Linebacker Aaron Maybin could be primed for another huge game.
Secondary coverage- The New York Jets secondary will face some challenges on Sunday as Rex Grossman likes to spread the ball around. Darrelle Revis will more than likely cover Santana Moss which will put a lot of pressure on Antonio Cromartie and Kyle Wilson to cover Anthony Armstrong and Jabar Gaffney. Gang Green’s secondary must remain consistent in coverage and limit the yards after the catch .
This will not be an easy game for the New York Jets as the Redskins normally play very well at home. The Redskins will look to rattle Mark Sanchez early and the young quarterback must get the offense rolling in the first quarter. The defense is going to have their hands full with an emerging running back and a quarterback with a gunslinger mentality. The Jets find a way to win the game in the fourth quarter, but it will not be pretty. Jets 21-20