New York Jets: Five Keys To a Jets Victory Over the Minnesota Vikings
After losing the first game of the season, the Jets are flying high, having beaten all three division opponents. Now, at 3-1 and in first place in the AFC East, the Jets will get back three star players.
Darrelle Revis will return from a hamstring injury, Calvin Pace will return from a broken foot, and Santonio Holmes will return from suspension. It just adds more talent to an already loaded roster.
This week, the Jets will take on the Vikings as Brett Favre returns to the Meadowlands. At home on Monday Night Football, the Jets are the favorites to win and gain ground on the idle Patriots and Dolphins.
Can they do it? Here are the five keys to victory for the Jets.
1. Make Brett Favre Uncomfortable
Marc Serota/Getty Images
The biggest key for the Jets in this game is making Brett Favre uncomfortable. The 41-year-old Favre hasn't been too effective this season and has looked old.
The Vikings are 24th in the league in passing and Favre has thrown six interceptions to only two touchdowns.
There are two big reasons to believe the Jets won't allow Favre to settle in on Monday night. They get Darrelle Revis back and put him opposite Antonio Cromartie to shut down both sides of the field, including where the newly acquired Randy Moss will be. They also get linebacker Calvin Pace back to help put pressure on Favre up front.
Along with Jason Taylor, the Jets can make sure Favre is out of sorts and force the Vikings to run the ball, as they are fourth in the league against the run.
2. Let Darrelle Revis Cover Randy Moss
Al Bello/Getty Images
Although Antonio Cromartie did a great job covering Randy Moss in Week 2 after Revis hurt his hamstring, Revis still has to cover Moss. The only reason he got beat by Moss in the end zone is because he pulled up lame.
After getting over two weeks of rest, if actually healthy, Revis can stop Moss like he did twice in 2009. In the Patriots 41-14 win over Miami on Monday night, Moss didn't receive one catch, leading to his exit.
It'll be hard for a quarterback and receiver to get on the same page in the middle of a season, especially with the way Favre has played and with the attitude Moss brings, so Revis and the Jets should be running into him at the right time.
3. Continue to Use Dustin Keller As Go-to Receiver
Marc Serota/Getty Images
The Jets will get Santonio Holmes back from a four-game suspension this week and that's a good thing. It'll add depth to the receiving core and eventually allow the Jets to burn teams in many ways.
But this week, the Jets still have to use Dustin Keller the majority of the time. Holmes hasn't played in a regular season game with the Jets and hasn't worked with Mark Sanchez in over a month.
The bond between Sanchez and Keller has been growing and it has worked out brilliantly. Keller has caught five of Sanchez's eight touchdown passes and looks like a stud tight end.
The smart thing for the Jets to do is let Holmes work his way in smoothly and let him get to know Sanchez more. That way, Keller can continue to shine and help the Jets offense and Holmes can be ready to get it going in a couple of weeks.
Just because Holmes is back doesn't mean he has to be the main guy immediately.
4. Pass The Ball More Against a Good Vikings Run Defense
Rick Stewart/Getty Images
Over the last three weeks, Mark Sanchez has grown unbelievably fast. He has thrown eight touchdowns and zero interceptions against three division rivals, with two games coming on the road. That, along with the fact the Vikings have a good run defense, shows that the Jets should go with more passing plays in this game.
LaDainian Tomlinson has been terrific so far and looks like his old Chargers self, but he may have trouble getting through Jared Allen and the rest of the Vikings defensive line. It's now Week 5 and although Tomlinson has proven he is still very fresh, you don't want to put too much on him against a tough defense.
The smart game plan would be to throw the ball a lot with Sanchez and use Shonn Greene more with the rush. It could be a good game to let Tomlinson relax a little bit to keep him strong for the stretch.
Sanchez has proven that passing with him will no longer hurt the team.
5. Don't Let Adrian Peterson Beat You
Jeff Gross/Getty Images
The biggest weapon on the ground for the Vikings is running back Adrian Peterson and he's had a great season. The 25-year-old star has averaged 131 rushing yards per game and most importantly, has not committed a single fumble.
The biggest issue for Peterson over the years has been his trouble holding on to the ball. Over the first three seasons of his career, Peterson fumbled the ball 20 times, and was criticized greatly. This season, Favre has had trouble in the passing game, but Peterson has been electric.
The Jets can't let Peterson have a huge game and beat them. They're fourth in the league against the run and have to load up and stop Peterson from breaking out for chunks of yardage.
The Vikings will probably try to run more instead of challenging a great Jets secondary, so therefore the Jets can win the game by limiting Peterson to under 100 yards.