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Texans vs. Jets: What Jets Must Do to Have a Chance at Huge Upset

PITTSBURGH, PA - SEPTEMBER 16:  Heach coach Rex Ryan of the New York Jets looks on during the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers on September 16, 2012 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)
Joe Sargent/Getty Images
John RozumCorrespondent IOctober 8, 2012

The New York Jets are long-shots to get a win over the Houston Texans on Monday Night Football.

And it's not surprising, because Gang Green fields arguably the NFL's worst offense, while the Texans possess one of the league's top defenses. Across the board, these two are simply polar opposites.

Flip to when Houston has the ball and it's a similar story.

The Texans are a run-oriented offense with Arian Foster, and New York is coming off a Week 4 beatdown from the San Francisco 49ers. There, Rex Ryan's defense gave up 245 rushing yards and lost 34-0.

This Week 5 matchup certainly has potential to finish in the same manner. Fortunately for the Jets, they really don't have anything to lose. Houston is undefeated and a 2012 Super Bowl contender.

To that end, with all odds against a win, let's check out how New York can shock the football world.

 

Don't Abandon the Ground Game

No matter what the production, the Jets cannot get pass-happy in this game.

The Texans are not only extremely well-versed at defending the pass, but they know how to score off interceptions. Also, Houston's pass rush is among the best, so the ground game will minimize that effectiveness.

In short, it's all about keeping the Texans honest and significantly limiting sack and interception opportunities. Plus, Houston did allow 141 rushing yards to Chris Johnson in Week 4, which provides a glimmer of hope to Jets fans.

And it's not like the Tennessee Titans have been consistently productive on offense in 2012.


No Fumbles

Turnovers cannot happen, but fumbles are astronomically more demoralizing to a team's momentum.

For as much as the Jets need to run the rock, the more a team slams between the tackles, a big run will happen sooner or later. Patience, if anything, must be the main priority, and not getting too anxious to break a run.

That's when a ball-carrier becomes vulnerable to fumbling, and the Texans' offense is excellent at controlling the tempo when given additional possessions. When dropping back to pass, whether it's Mark Sanchez or Tim Tebow, a quick read is imperative.

No long developing plays or reading through three-plus receivers on a progression. Look for the primary and secondary targets, and if they aren't open, then throw the ball away. The last thing New York needs is a quarterback failing to make a decision and then a sack/fumble occurs.

Houston is awesome at pass-rushing and negating that with faster reads will limit a quarterback's odds at fumbling. Worst-case scenario would be to launch a few passes downfield, which would result in an interception, because that at least changes the field position.


Blitz Early and Often

Defensively, the Jets face a daunting task in Houston's star players.

Andre Johnson can burn any defensive back downfield, but failing to honor the ground game and Arian Foster will punish in the trenches. Houston is well-balanced offensively and it's difficult for any defense to completely shut down an efficient attack.

That said, New York's greatest weakness is stopping the run.

The pass defense isn't overly dominant, but the Texans are better at running. So blitzing early and often will force Matt Schaub to attempt more passes than expected.

He's better than your typical game-managing quarterback, but it's to Gang Green's favor if the ball stays out of Foster's hands. The coverage can play physical press with inside leverage and that keeps Johnson in check.

New York has to put everything on the line here and risk vulnerabilities downfield. Doing so at least makes Houston more one-dimensional and increases the odds of turnovers.

Provided the defense stops the run, the Jets have a slightly better chance to get a win.

 

Follow John Rozum on Twitter.

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