The annual goal of reaching the playoffs for the New York Jets is presently in serious jeopardy.
With a loss in this upcoming week against the Arizona Cardinals, the team will soon find themselves on the outside looking in. However, the Jets are not mathematically eliminated from contention and Rex has showed that once his team reaches the postseason they could be as dangerous as any.
Due to injuries and inconsistencies on this roster, there are a few crucial keys to victory for the team moving forward.
Who would've guessed? The Jets will live and die on Mark Sanchez's ability to protect the ball and make the easy passes accurately. It is the same story, and the same issues that must be addressed in order for this team to get back in the winning column.
The Arizona defense is known for their speed, Sanchez will need to get the ball out of his hands quickly and accurately. The defense is not as elite as it has been in the past, but it is still the strength of the team and they cannot do much to help the team win if there are points being put on the board while they are on the sideline.
This aspect of the New York Jets team may be the most important of all. The run game is what allows so many other areas of the team to become effective.
Sanchez is a significantly better Quarterback when the team is rushing well, the defense learns to respect play action and Sanchez has proven he can make those throws given proper protection.
Also, running the ball more consistently will allow the offense to move the chains and as a result will give the defense more time off the field. The roster does not have playmakers in the pass game as it presently is constructed, the team must have the run game to lean on.
Look for Bilal Powell to get some touches as well in order to keep fresh legs running downhill at the Cardinal defense.
This key should really be no surprise at all to the Jets fans that have followed the team during the Rex Ryan era. In order for this defense to be most effective, they must be able to pressure the quarterback.
Since Rex's arrival the defense has been elite in the NFL, but to get to that next level where they have a dominating defense that is able to carry them to the Super Bowl, they must generate a pass rush.
Muhammad Wilkerson has been a bright spot for the defense, coming
into his own and becoming a very well rounded player on the D line.
It is crucial that Wilkerson and his unit get to the Quarterback without Rex needing
to draw up a blitz. Although Cromartie has played very well in his absence, the
injury to Revis has not allowed the same flexibility in play calling for Rex
and Mike Pettine.
Special teams has been a strength of the Jets ever since Mike Westhoff joined the organization in 2001. Westhoff has helped numerous kickers, punters, and kick/punt returners go to the pro bowl during his tenure and most believe it is due to his scheme and eye for talent.
This year has been a slightly different story.
In years past, this unit has won some games for this team whereas this year they have been mediocre. The Jets have the ability to hang with a team such as the Arizona Cardinals, but they must limit big mistakes. Special teams must not allow a game changing play that can swing field position or even worse, the score.