Texans vs. Jets: Keys to New York Pulling off Upset on Monday Night
Things don't look good, but all is not lost for the New York Jets, who enter Monday night's contest with the Houston Texans not only hoping to come away with a victory, but to come away from the game without any major injuries.
After losing corner Darrelle Revis and wide receiver Santonio Holmes to season-ending injuries in successive weeks, it's a worthy goal to have.
While Gang Green faces a stiff challenge in the undefeated Houston Texans, they can win this game.
Whether they will depends on their ability to execute the game plan and Rex Ryan's ability to adjust on the fly.
Let's take a look at what the Jets need to do to have a fighter's chance of sending Houston home without that shiny zero they've got in the loss column.
Keep Mark Sanchez Upright
That's going to be much easier said than done against a Texans defense that is one of the most dangerous in the league.
Led by freak-of-nature defensive end J.J. Watt, the Texans are tied for 11th in the NFL with 13 sacks, 7.5 of them coming courtesy of Watt.
While Sanchez has been beat up as of late, the Jets' offensive line has done a good job of protecting its passer.
It has allowed only seven sacks on the season, the fourth lowest total in the NFL, and has only given up 13 QB hits which puts the Jets' O-line at second best in the league behind its MetLife Stadium roommates, the New York Giants.
Giving Sanchez time in the pocket is of the utmost importance if the Jets have any hopes of getting their passing game going, but that will not be an easy task given that the Texans have the third best pass defense in the NFL.
Utilize the Weapon that is Tim Tebow
While the Texans are stout against the pass, their rush defense isn't quite as stout—though it's still very, very good.
Houston ranks 11th against the run, allowing 90.2 yards per game on the ground. It also is the only unit in the NFL to have not allowed a rushing touchdown this season.
That could change if the Jets do what everyone, including the New York Daily News' Manish Meeta says that they will:
Jets prepared all week to give Tim Tebow a larger role/more reps vs Texans tonight. They realize he's probably their best playmaker now #nyj
— Manish Mehta(@MMehtaNYDN) October 8, 2012
The last time Houston saw Tebow was in 2010, a game that saw Tebow complete 16-of-29 passes for 308 yards, a touchdown and an interception. He also carried the ball 10 times for 27 yards and a touchdown.
Granted, that was a different Texans team, and the Jets in 2012 are not the same team as the Broncos in 2010.
But Tebow has succeeded against the Texans before, and it would behoove the Jets to put him in situations where he can succeed again.
Bring a Newfound Dedication to Stopping the Run
For as brilliant a defensive mind as Rex Ryan thinks that he has, his defense might as well not be on the field when the opposing team runs the ball.
No team in the NFL allows more rushing yards to opposing running backs than the Jets, who are tied with the New Orleans Saints, giving up 172.8 yards on the ground per game. Only the Buffalo Bills, with eight, have allowed more running backs to find the end zone, which the Jets have done seven times.
Arian Foster is arguably the best running back in the league, though his 380 yards rushing puts him behind 10 other running backs heading into tonight's game.
Whether it be linebackers like David Harris and Bart Scott or a defensive lineman like Sione Pouha, the Jets must get penetration into Houston's backfield and disrupt Foster before he has a chance to get going.
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