On Sunday, your New York Jets (1-0) will travel to Green Bay to face the Packers (0-1). The game will start at 4:25 and can be viewed locally on CBS.
Despite what the 19-14 score might say, the Jets were in total control week one against the Raiders. The defense was outstanding, limiting Oakland to just 11 first downs, 25 yards rushing, and 158 yards total. The defense did not record a turnover against rookie quarterback Derek Carr but did sack him twice and disrupted his rhythm throughout the game with constant pressure. Despite Dee Milliner not playing, the secondary held up well.
The offense also played better than what they were given credit for. Geno Smith made a few mistakes, but also completed 23 of his 28 passes for 221 yards and had a touchdown dropped in the first quarter by Greg Salas. Wide receiver Eric Decker also had a nice showing, snagging five passes for 74 yards. Both Chris Ivory (rushing) and Chris Johnson (receiving) scored touchdowns.
Things did not go so well for the Jets opponent. The Packers were assigned the task of opening the season is Seattle and did not fare well, falling 36-16. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers didn’t even muster 200 yards passing and was sacked three times, while the Packers defense surrendered 398 total yards.
This is an interesting matchup for the Jets. In one corner, you can look at the Packers and make the argument they are an average team with an above average quarterback. After watching them Thursday, it’s hard to disagree.
In the other corner, you can look at this matchup, stare at the Jets secondary versus Rodgers and the Packers wide receiving core, and start sweating bullets. Randall Cobb in the slot against Kyle Wilson could spell disaster for the Jets defense. Cornerback Dee Millinier (ankle) has practiced this week and is questionable for the game. His presence would certainly be a big boost for the defense and could allow for Rex Ryan to get more creative with Antonio Allen.
The best way to beat the Packers offense is to not let them be on the field. The Jets controlling the ball and finishing off drives with touchdowns, not field goals, will be key. They have the personnel and scheme to do it. Ivory should be able to bruise his way through a bad Packers front seven and Johnson will have his role catching and running outside the tackles. It’s not crazy to think the Raiders might even have a better front seven than the Packers.
The biggest knock on the Jets in week one was the play calling inside the red zone. The Jets would put together well orchestrated, balanced drives to march down the field and then found themselves running trick plays against the Raiders. Getting seven instead of three is incredibly important.
The Jets defense can silent the critics with another stout performance. The majority of people are not buying into the secondary’s performance because the Jets were at home against a rookie quarterback, and I do think that’s a fair point. I also think they’re not getting enough credit with how technically sound the unit was, especially Antonio Allen.
The key for the Jets defense will be to get pressure on the quarterback. The Jets have a dominating front seven. Everyone knows about the talent Muhammad Wilkerson and Sheldon Richardson has, but the depth of this unit is solid. Quinton Coples was dominant, Jason Babin has a motor unlike many others, Calvin pace is a solid veteran, and even rookie Trevor Reilly is showing promise. The responsibility will be on these guys to knock Rodgers around and force him into bad throws.
If Milliner can go it will be interesting to see how Ryan uses him and the shifts around the rest of the secondary. Reading between the lines, I think Milliner will be active but won’t start. When he is in, Walls will probably be kept opposite of him and Allen will be left to wander.
Finally, staying disciplined is important for the Jets. They committed 11 penalties for 105 yards. Eleven for one-oh-five. While Rex Ryan teams haven’t always been knows for their discipline (and that might be an understatement), if the Jets give the Packers 105 free yards we might as well forget about this one.
This should be a fun one but I would caution to tamper expectations. The Jets are on the road against a desperate team with a great quarterback. All in all, this might be the most insignificant game of the year. While a win would be nice, the Jets have to focus on beating lesser NFC teams (like Chicago) and AFC teams (Miami twice, Pittsburgh, and San Diego), something they failed to do last year.