New York Jets Week 11: 5 Keys to a Jets Victory over the Houston Texans
After a hiccup against the Packers at home in Week 8, the Jets have won two straight road games to get back on track. With their 26-20 win over the Browns on Sunday, the Jets became the first team in NFL history to win consecutive road games in overtime.
Now, they're 7-2 and in first place in the AFC East as they return home to face the Houston Texans this Sunday.
This could be a game that features some big plays and a high score. The Texans have had a bad defense so far, and the Jets are hoping theirs is improving with a healthy Darrelle Revis.
Can the Jets stop Matt Schaub—if he plays—along with Andre Johnson and Arian Foster to win a third straight game or will the Texans end their losing streak?
Here are five keys to a Jets victory.
Let Santonio Holmes Carry Team to Victory
In each of the last two games, it's been Santonio Holmes making the big play in overtime to help the Jets secure victories. He ended the game against the Browns on Sunday with a 37-yard catch and run for a touchdown, spoiling a tie opportunity for Cleveland.
What Holmes hasn't had as a Jet yet, though, is a huge all-around game. He hasn't had a 10-catch, 100-yard type of effort, but this should be the game he produces those kinds of numbers.
The Texans allow the most passing yards per game at over 300, and that should allow Mark Sanchez and Brian Schottenheimer to put together a passing game plan.
The Texans rush defense is in the middle of the league statistically and perhaps the Jets would be more successful throwing the ball and if so, Holmes should be the man.
This is the game he was brought in to dominate—against a team that can't stop big playmakers.
Darrelle Revis Must Stop Andre Johnson
Darrelle Revis did a great job of putting the clamps on Lions receiver Calvin Johnson two weeks ago and wasn't really involved against the Browns. Colt McCoy and the Browns didn't throw Revis' way too often and therefore he was a non-factor.
You know in this game, Revis will be thrown at a lot. As long as he covers his man, Andre Johnson, he'll have some heavy work to do. Johnson is considered a top-five wide receiver in the NFL, and he can make plays with the best out there.
The Texans have a decent running game, especially with the emergence of Arian Foster, but the Jets run defense has been superb this season.
Foster didn't have a great game last week against the Jaguars who are only 21st in the league against the run, as he only ran for 56 yards on 15 carries.
If the Jets can contain Foster, then Johnson will be the man that must step up for Houston. If Revis can shut him down like he did in Week 1 of last season, the Jets should be in good shape.
Find a Way To Pressure Matt Schaub
The Jets defense hasn't been anywhere near what is was last season when it was tops in the league. One obvious reason for the slow progression were the early woes of Darrelle Revis.
He had a nagging, recurring hamstring injury after his camp holdout that stopped him from being who he is. Now, Revis is healthy but the Jets have still got one major issue on defense. They can't get to the quarterback.
It's been an issue for a while for the Jets, and if they don't blitz, they normally don't put pressure on. Against Schaub, the Jets have to put pressure on him because he's just too talented and at times can be explosive.
He's had a near-500-yard game this season, and he can certainly have one of those this week. Revis is in the backfield, but it means nothing if the Jets front line doesn't pressure Schaub and allow him to make accurate, comfortable throws.
You want him to be moving around in the pocket so that his target in Johnson doesn't look so easy to pass to.
Install Plenty of "Wildcat" Offense Into Game Plan
If the Jets aren't going to be the ground-and-pound team they usually are this week against a bad Texans pass defense, they should think of using the "Wildcat" formation plenty of times.
They can produce plenty of offense by having the Sanchez-to-Holmes combination going strong, but it wouldn't hurt to change things up a bit with Brad Smith.
The versatile receiver/quarterback/running back of the Jets has attempted one pass this season, and people have been waiting for Smith to try another one.
Even if he doesn't want to take it that far, he could still team up with LaDainian Tomlinson or Shonn Greene to put together an effective "Wildcat" play.
The Jets use that play at least once per game and in this one, it could put them over the top offensively.
Defense Must Stop Texans in Final Minutes If Close
The Jets only went 9-7 last season despite backing into the playoffs. The reason they weren't at least 11-5 is because they had a knack of blowing leads in the final minutes of games.
That forced them to get help from other teams just to make the playoffs and had to play all of their playoff games on the road.
If they want to get in like a true winner this season and secure all the good stuff such as a first-round bye and home-field advantage, they must end games in regulation and stop blowing last-minute leads.
They came back and pulled the trick themselves two weeks ago in Detroit but last week was just another example. The Jets defense allowed rookie quarterback Colt McCoy to execute a two-minute offense for a game-tying touchdown.
If it wasn't for a spectacular catch by Holmes with mere seconds left in overtime, an apparent win would've turned into a tie.
If the game is within a touchdown this week, the Jets defense better step up against Schaub. He pulled off his own comeback in a game against the Redskins on the road earlier in the season and is capable of doing it again.
The Jets need to learn how to close games out to be a consistent winner in this league.