New York Jets: Five Keys To a Jets Win Over the Packers in Week 8
After a well-deserved bye week, the Jets will be in action this Sunday against the Green Bay Packers. The Jets enter Week 8 in first place in the AFC East and with the best record in the AFC based on tiebreakers.
Meanwhile, the Packers aren't having as strong a season so far as many thought they'd have. They were a lot of people's picks to go to the Super Bowl this season, but some injuries have hampered them.
If the Packers could find a way to win games without their running back or tight end, then this could be a potential Super Bowl preview. The Packers are 4-3 and in second place behind the Bears in the NFC North.
As the Jets attempt to win their sixth straight game, here's a look at five keys to victory for Gang Green.
Let LaDainian Tomlinson Carry the Offense
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This week more than any other, is the perfect week to let LaDainian Tomlinson carry the offense. The scenario the Jets are in and the way the Packers attack the passing game, should allow the Jets to succeed on the ground in this game.
First off, coming off a bye week, Tomlinson should be refreshed and ready to rush for about 90 yards. The knock on him was that he was getting old and that he was washed up. He has surprised many with his great start through the first six games and now he has gotten the rest he needs.
Secondly, the Packers have the reigning Defensive Player of the Year, Charles Woodson, in the backfield. He's not as dominant as can be yet, but he's still terrific and may cause problems for the Jets receivers.
Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez is coming off a two-interception game—his first two of the season—so it may be smart to rush the ball more in this game.
The Packers are only 23rd against the rush, and the Jets as a team are second in the league. Tomlinson should make a huge impact in this game.
Don't Make Stupid Mistakes On Defense
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Against the Packers, giving their quarterback free yardage and third-down conversions will kill you. Aaron Rogers is a top 10 quarterback in the NFL, and he's one of the best passers.
What the Jets have been burned by on defense is not getting to the quarterback. When that becomes a constant issue, the last thing you want is to give up yards on penalties. The Jets have been doing that and have certainly given up their share of third-down conversions.
The blitzing on third downs are not working, and it wasn't until the final Broncos' drive two weeks ago that they changed it up.
Penalties such as holding and encroachment can't happen this week, and Packers' plays of 3rd-and-long must be stopped, especially in the red zone.
If the Jets can tighten up their defense and limit the mistakes, they should at least limit Rogers' success.
Mark Sanchez Must Be Smarter with the Football
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For a three-game stretch, Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez was nearly flawless. He was making great passes, putting up big numbers to a huge rating and throwing literally zero turnovers.
Then came a game three weeks ago at the Meadowlands in all sorts of awful weather conditions. There was a monsoon right before halftime, and Sanchez struggled, although he came through late when it counted.
Last week, though, he slightly regressed. There weren't any bad weather conditions on a beautiful day in Denver and Sanchez looked like his Week 1 self. He threw his first two interceptions of the season and could've thrown a lot more hadn't it been for drops by opposing members of the secondary. He wasn't smart with the ball for really the first time this season.
In this game, if he's going to throw his share of passes, he better not throw the ball right at opponents. He'll get picked off way more than two weeks ago as the Packers' secondary is better and healthier than that of the Broncos.
If he limits his mistakes and plays like he did from Weeks 2-4, he should be fine.
Take Advantage Of Great Field Position
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It's really annoying to watch and happens way too often with this Jets team. When they get positive field position to start a drive, they rarely take it in for six. On numerous occasions, the Jets get the ball inside their opponents' 40-yard line and settle for a field goal.
When you're facing a team with a prolific passer, you have to take full advantage of your great chances. The Packers don't necessarily need great field position. They have a quarterback who can haul the ball 80 yards down field for a touchdown. It's not that Mark Sanchez isn't capable of doing that, but he hasn't proven it consistently yet.
Therefore, anytime the Jets have a chance to get six points immediately, they must do it. Remember that settling for field goals can potentially cost your team four points per every opponents' touchdown. That can lead to lopsided defeats.
Shut Down Aaron Rogers and Packers Passing Game
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It'll be hard for the Packers to generate any rushing offense for the remainder of this season with the injury to Ryan Grant. The running back broke his ankle in Week 1 and is out for the season. With that, the Packers are only 20th in the league in rushing, going for less than 100 yards per game.
The Jets meanwhile are seventh in the league in stopping the run. Therefore, the Packers are probably going nowhere on the ground in this game.
With one part of the offense being little to worry about for the Jets, there's still one huge obstacle. That's the Packers passing game. It's pretty good, as it's eighth in the league at over 250 yards per game. If the Jets can stop Aaron Rogers and his receivers, is there any way they can lose this game?
One thing working in the Jets favor is that the Packers are without their tight end Jermichael Finley. He's out for the season with a severe knee injury, and that's a big blow.
Another thing working in the Jets favor is that their star corner back Darrelle Revis says his hamstring is finally 100 percent following the bye week. He'll most likely be covering wide receiver Greg Jennings.
If the Jets can shut down the Packers' passing game, they should come away with the victory.