Nimble TV Jets Game Preview
Sunday, the New York Jets (1-3) will travel to San Diego to take on the Chargers (3-1). The game will begin at 4:25 and can be viewed on CBS.
The Jets are coming off their third consecutive loss after falling at home to the Lions 24-17 last week. You could make the argument that in the two losses prior, at Green Bay and Chicago, the Jets were the better team that happened to come out on the losing end. That was not the case last week when they were dominated by the Lions.
It’s a lot of the same storylines for the Jets. Last week there was real regression from quarterback Geno Smith, who had a completion percentage of 51.5 percent for 209 yards with a touchdown and interception. Besides that, Jets receivers missed on some catchable balls and the play calling was inconsistent. The lack of rhythm the offense had was frightening.
A lot has been made about what the Jets defense really is. Yes, there are holes, but in my opinion they’re being overblown. The Jets rank 7th in total defense and 10th in pass defense and this is going against three of the top offenses in the NFL.
The biggest knock on the defense is they have to get the job done when it matters most. The Jets scored early in the third quarter to cut the deficit to 17-10. After good kickoff coverage, the defense gave up a back breaking 90 yard touchdown drive to make it 24-10. The Jets scored again, and even got the ball back with a chance to tie late in the fourth quarter, but ultimately didn’t get it done on the most important drive of the game.
The defense will be helped out with a relatively healthy Dee Milliner (ankle, quad) back in the lineup. Milliner and the rest of the secondary will be tested in San Diego when a red-hot Phillip Rivers takes the field. Rex Ryan said earlier in the week if the season ended now Rivers would be the league MVP and it’s hard to disagree with the way he’s playing. On the year, Rivers has a completion percentage of 70.1 percent with 1,155 yards, 9 touchdowns and 1 interception. Rivers does have four fumbles in four games.
Rivers top target is second year wide out Keenan Allen, who has a rare blend of size and speed. Allen is also regarded as one of the best route runners in the league. His play has not gone unnoticed by the coaching staff and I’m sure Allen will see plenty of attention. Rivers has other weapons, like super veteran Antonio Gates (who is having a monster season) and wide receiver Malcom Floyd.
San Diego should have a hard time running the ball. The injuries to Danny Woodhead and Ryan Mathews have left Donald Brown to carry the workload. Brown is a serviceable, balanced running back but the Jets should shut him down. The Chargers will also likely be without starting center Rich Ohrneberger.
The key for the defense will be to force turnovers. Through four games, the Jets have zero interceptions. None. It’s hard to beat good teams without taking the ball away.
The Chargers have a good defense but one that is also a little beat up. They rank 13th in total defense but only give up 15.8 points per game. The offense has to protect the ball and show some consistency. Last week, the Jets ran the ball right down the field on the first drive and then went without a first down until late in the second quarter.
The statuses of wide receivers Eric Decker (hamstring) and David Nelson (ankle) are up in the air. Decker gutted it out last week but clearly is not healthy. Even so, he’s clearly the Jets most reliable offensive player.
It would be nice to see the Jets get a little more creative with personnel packages to take advantage of matchups. Jeremy Kerley, who should have been featured a ton last week, was nonexistent. Kerley is a playmaker who has a knack for moving the chains. Using the tight ends more could offset the lack of talent the Jets have on the outside. Jeff Cumberland and Jace Amaro should be used heavily in the middle of the field.
The Jets have struggled but it’s also easy to forget they’re not getting blown out by anyone. This is a young team who is close and it would be nice to see them take care of a banged up Chargers team. If they don’t, there’s a Ron Burgandy phrase out there for the situation.
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