Christopher Gardella Game Previews

Jets – Jaguars Game Preview

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By Christopher Gardella
 
WHEN THE JETS HAVE THE BALL  

The Jets’ running game finally showed signs of life last week against a Colts’ defense that ranks 30th in the NFL. The Jets employed a three-headed rushing attack featuring Cedric Houston, Kevan Barlow, and Leon Washington. Each running back possesses unique qualities that present different problems for opposing defenses. However, the Jets will be without their hardest runner in Cedric Houston for two to four weeks after he suffered a hyper-extended knee against the Colts. Derrick Blayblock, who has spent the last couple weeks in Eric Mangini’s doghouse, will be activated for week five.
 
The Jaguars’ defense will be without Pro Bowl defensive tackle Marcus Stroud this week, which bodes well for a struggling Jets’ offensive line. In the past few years, Marcus Stroud and John Henderson have developed into the best defensive tackle twosome in the NFL. Although Stroud is out, finding running lanes inside will be next to impossible for the Jets’ backs. This won’t stop the persistent Brian Schottenheimer from running the ball, however. The Jets continue to run the ball 30 times per games despite averaging a putrid 3 yards per carry.
 
The Jets’ passing attack is beginning to look like one of the better units in the league. With the running game struggling, the Jets have called on Chad Pennington to lead a Jets’ offense that is averaging 24 points per game. The Jaguars have one of the better defenses in the league, but struggle against the pass. The Jets’ offensive line needs to give Pennington an ample amount of time in the pocket if they are to have success via the air.
 
WHEN THE JAGUARS HAVE THE BALL

The Jets’ defense is beginning to earn a reputation as one of the worst units in the league. The run defense has been atrocious and will continue to struggle against the two-headed rushing attack of Fred Taylor and Maurice Jones-Drew. The Jets may try to slow the attack by showing more four man fronts to free up their best defensive player, Jonathan Vilma. The 3-4 has hindered Vilma’s sideline-to-sideline ability and may be ditched in an effort to improve the run defense. The Jets have played a bend-but-don’t-break style defense, relying on forcing turnovers to bail themselves out of adverse situations. When the Jets don’t force turnovers, however, winning becomes nearly impossible.
 
Jacksonville wide receiver Reggie Williams has finally realized his potential and has developed into Byron Leftwich’s favorite target. The Jets have to get pressure on the statuesque Byron Leftwich if they want to stop the Jacksonville passing attack. Pressuring the quarterback has been a struggle for the Jets’ defense, which has allowed opposing quarterbacks to pass at will on the Jets secondary.
 
MATCHUP TO WATCH

Maurice Jones-Drew vs. Jonathan Vilma – The explosive running back will continue to see more action as the season wears on. The Jets may show more four man fronts, which will allow Vilma to flow freely from sideline to sideline.
 
PREDICTION

Jaguars 27-21

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