On Saturday the New York Jets (8-6) take on the New York Giants (7-7) in the “Battle for Bragging Rights” at MetLife Stadium (1 pm EST). The Jets are coming off of an embarrassing performance against the Philadelphia Eagles, while the Giants (the road team in this game) are still scratching their heads over their home loss to the Washington Redskins. Lets take a look at some of the keys to the game from the Jets perspective.
Ground and pound- The New York Jets must be able to consistently run the ball on Saturday. An effective running game will not only slow down the Giants pass rush, but will also open up the play action pass for Mark Sanchez. In addition the power running game will wear down the Giants defense and will open up some big plays late in the game.
Protect Sanchez- The Jets offensive line must remain consistent in pass protection and give quarterback Mark Sanchez some time to make plays down the field. This will be no easy task as Jason Pierre-Paul (13.5 sacks) and Justin Tuck are going to provide a ton of pressure on the line, especially after watching the Jets performance last week against the Eagles. Wayne Hunter must do a better job in protection and the tight ends and backs must do a better job in blitz pickup.
Quick passing game- Another way to slow down the Giants pass rush is to utilize the quick/short passing game. The passing game should build off of screen passes, quick slants, and three step drops to tight end Dustin Keller over the middle. Once the defense is off balance you can then effectively use draw plays and deep passes down the field. Note: The Giants pass defense is ranked 29th in the NFL giving up 257 yards a game.
Good decision making by Sanchez- Quarterback Mark Sanchez must play a very smart game on Saturday in order for the Jets to have any type of success. Sanchez must identify where the pressure is coming from and not force throws into coverage. In addition Mark must take care of the football in order to prevent fumbles from strip sacks.
Get to Eli- The New York Jets defense must find ways to get to Eli Manning (4,362 passing yards, 25 tds) and disrupt the dynamic passing attack. Manning is not a very mobile quarterback therefore guys like Aaron Maybin, Calvin Pace, and Jamaal Westerman should be able to generate some pressure. Failure to do so could result in a long day for Gang Green.
Solid secondary play- The Giants passing attack is going to put a lot of pressure on the entire Jets secondary. Darrelle Revis, Antonio Cromartie, and Kyle Wilson must do an excellent job in coverage and tackling after the catch. The Jets defense cannot afford to give up big plays in the passing game which will then spread the field and open up the running game. Injury update: Giants tight end Jake Ballard is out for this game leaving Big Blue very thin at the tight end position. There is some speculation that the Giants could use Ramses Barden at the position.
Stop the run- Even though the Giants put up big numbers in the passing game (3rd in the NFL), the running game can be just as dangerous. The Jets defense must slow down running backs Ahmad Bradshaw(6tds) and Brandon Jacobs(7tds) and force the Giants to become one dimensional. If Gang Green is unable to stop the run Eli Manning will have a huge day in the passing game.
This is going to be a very exciting game as I expect both teams to come out fired up with the goal of playing very physical. There will be a lot of ebb and flow to this game and in the end the team with the better line play walks out the winner. Big days for Sione Pouha, Darrelle Revis, and Santonio Holmes. Jets 27-24