The Jets have lost 6 of their last 8 games including two ugly losses the past two games. Now, they will head into the dome in St. Louis where former Offensive Coordinator Brian Schottenheimer and other ex-Jets are waiting. The Rams are 3-5-1 on the season with 4 losses by less than 6 points. With the way the Jets have been playing offensively, this could be another frustrating week. The Jets defense has been playing well enough to win ball games, but with the drama that has been taking place with the offense, coaching staff, and management, the Jets situation could get ugly quick.
The Rams offense is led by Sam Bradford. The former #1 overall pick is completing over 62% of his passes and thrown for 10 touchdowns this season. His leading receiver, Danny Amendola has been oft-injured, only playing in 6 games, but has 43 catches for 497 yards. Brandon Gibson is second on the team with 31 catches for 428 yards. Bradford also has a “safety valve” in tight end Lance Kendricks who has 23 catches. Chris Givens is a big play receiver for the Rams, averaging almost 26 yards per reception.
Steven Jackson is having a subpar year by his standards, averaging only 3.7 yards per carry. He’s been held to only 2 touchdowns this season. Second string RB Daryl Richardson is averaging almost 6 yards per carry in half the amount of carries as Jackson though. The reason behind Jackson’s struggles and the offensive inefficiency for the Rams is their below average offensive line. They are 29th in the league in rushing touchdowns and 28th in points per game.
Bradford has been sacked an astonishing 25 times this season. They have had blocking breakdown after breakdown this season that has left Bradford hanging out to dry. In addition, teams are loading the “box” (defensive linemen and linebackers) against them to stop Steven Jackson, and thus, get to Bradford on pass plays as well.
With the Jets getting pressure on the quarterback as of late, and the promise they showed in controlling Marshawn Lynch (his stats indicated a much bigger game than he actually had), the Jets defense may be able to take control of this game from the get go.
Jets Defense vs. Rams Offense ADVANTAGE: Jets
The Rams defense is average at best. However, Jim Laurinaitis leads a very strong linebacking core. He leads the team with 68 tackles and weak side LB Jo-Lonn Dunbar are wreaking havoc on offensive lines and running backs. The defensive line led by Robert Quinn (8 sacks) and Chris Long (5 sacks) and Michael Brockers don’t exactly make life simple for opposing offenses. They have high motors and are relentless getting to the quarterback. The Jets struggled last week especially both tackles at protecting Sanchez and these two rushers are more athletic and explosive than Seattle’s defensive ends.
Their secondary is 13th in the league at yards per game. Perennial dirty player, Cortland Finnegan leads the group with rookie Janoris Jenkins, Quintin Mikell and Craig Dahl. The group has accounted for 5 interceptions this season, led by Finnegan who has 3. He also has 9 pass deflections. His tough physical style makes it difficult for receivers to get open. With the Jets anemic offense, it could make it very tough for Mark Sanchez to throw the ball.
Jets Offense vs. Rams Defense ADVANTAGE: Rams
The Rams punter is Jon Hekker who’s averaging a little under 48 yards per punt.
Their field goal kicker is Greg Zuerlein, who’s 18-22 on the year missing 3 out of 8 from over 50 yards.
Amendola and Jenkins share the punt return duties while rookie Isaiah Pead and Chris Givens return kickoffs for the Rams.
They have zero special teams touchdowns this season, so this could be a good week for the Mike Westhoff’s Special Teams bunch to get back on track.