4-4 Jacksonville Jaguars @ 4-4 NYJets
Sunday November 15th, 1pm, CBS
by Joe Grinwis
“We need to win. Bottom line. I’m not going to sugarcoat it” – Jets LB Calvin Pace
The quote above said by LB Calvin Pace, backed by Head Coach Rex Ryan, is not even in question. This week’s game is a must win for the New York Jets if they wish to make the 2009 NFL playoffs. A loss this week and it would set up an almost impossible road ahead to get to 10-6, where in the AFC, you must have that record, if not 11-5, to reach the postseason. It’s a shame the Jets don’t play in the NFC, otherwise maybe 9-7 or 8-8 could get it done, depending on the division.
But since clearly isn’t the case, there is no need to dwell on it and analyze it. The facts are the Jets must go at least 6-2 in the second half of the season to keep alive any playoff chances. In those 8 games the Jets will travel to New England, Buffalo (Toronto), Tampa Bay and Indianapolis and will host teams like Cincinnati, Atlanta, Carolina and Jacksonville, respectively. Five of the eight teams are .500 or better and one of the three who are not, Buffalo, already have beaten the Jets at the Meadowlands.
The Jaguars walk into the Meadowlands with the 9th ranked offense (360.4ypg), as well as the 6th ranked rushing attack (140.2ypg), led by the best back in the NFL not named Adrian Peterson, Maurice Jones-Drew (145 carries, 737yds, 11 TD’s, 5.1ypc). Stopping Jones-Drew is the key to stopping the Jaguar offense for where he goes, the offensive unit goes.
The Jets will try to counter the Jaguar rushing attack with the 2nd ranked defense in the NFL (273.4ypg), but their run defense has been inconsistent and is mediocre, ranking 15th (108.1ypg). The loss of perennial Pro Bowl NT Kris Jenkins has not be felt yet in Jet land, but Jones-Drew is known to collapse Defensive Lines by going straight up the middle. This will truly be a tough test for the Jets defense.
Other Key Match-ups:
Jaguar WR Mike Sims-Walker vs Darrelle Revis
Other than Jones-Drew, Sims Walker (36-554-4 TD) is their only other true threat on the offensive side of the ball. They signed the veteran Tory Holt (33-461-0 TD) in the off season, but he has been held scoreless and his one reunion game with the St. Louis Rams really have inflated his statistics thus far. At this point in his career, he is at best a number two. If Revis is can continue to shut down number one receivers like he has done all season, this will keep Jacksonville one dimensional and give the Jets a chance to keep 8 in the box to try to contain the powerful Jones-Drew.
Jaguar Pass Rush vs Jet Offensive Line
The Jaguars have racked up the fewest sacks (8) in the NFL and it will be crucial for them to get some pressure on the rookie QB Mark Sanchez (114-214, 1443yds, 8 TD, 10 INT) if they have any hope of slowing down the Jets passing attack. Having both WR’s Braylon Edwards (13-192-2 TD) and Jerricho Cotchery (27-430-1 TD)healthy and working together healthy for the first time will only help the young signal caller.
RB Thomas Jones can tie Curtis Martin and Freeman McNeil’s franchise record with his fourth consecutive 100 yard rushing game.
No long sum up here, I just don’t how the Jets can possibly lose this game, especially since it is a must win situation and everyone in the organization, not just the locker room, knows it.