Attention New England, it's PAYBACK TIME!
After being thrashed by Tom Brady and the Patriots during the teams' last match-up, the Jets are heading back to New England and are ready for a battle royale.
The Jets looked decent yesterday against an unhealthy Indianapolis Colts team, but will they be able to cope with Brady, Hernandez, Gronkowski, Welker, Branch and Woodhead?
The Jets defense played great yesterday. Rex Ryan seemed to have finally figured Peyton Manning out, at least for one game. With the exception of Antonio Cromartie's mental slip up (a.k.a., a blown coverage), the Jets D managed to hold the Colts offense to mediocre numbers.
It gave up the quick short routes, but stopped the deep ball. It also didn't blitz as frequently as it usually does. On some plays, the Jets only had three men on the line, and basically had eight men playing as defensive backs.
This type of strategy might work against Brady as well. We all know how talented Revis is (as evidenced by Reggie Wayne having only one reception yesterday), and we all know how awesome Cromartie can be when he plays smart (when he doesn't give too much cushion to the receivers and when he doesn't miss tackles).
Revis and Cromartie can afford to give Brady those short outs, screen passes, and slants that he loves to throw. But they cannot give up the deep ball. Their effectiveness in preventing the long ball will heavily rely on the play of the Jets' safeties. If a coverage is blown, they need to be there to compensate.
They also need to provide tight double team coverage in certain scenarios as well. What they cannot do is get called for brainless pass interference or unnecessary roughness calls that give Brady and the Pats a short field to work with.
The Patriots' running back squad has been playing above average. Woodhead and the law firm formerly known as BenJarvus Green-Ellis have been outstanding.
But the Jets' linebacking corps of Harris, Pace, and Scott are more than capable of holding them to pedestrian/human numbers (something they didn't do during their last meeting). Hopefully, the Jets' run defense shows up Sunday.
As for the Jets offense, Schotty needs to take advantage of the Pats' youthful D, in particular, its secondary. The Jets can't play conservative against the Pats. They're going to need a lot of points to beat Brady and Co.
I don't want to see off-tackle runs on 3rd-and-eight. I want to see the Jets attack. Mid-range outs, fades, curls, anything that puts pressure on the Patriot's defense. Holmes, Edwards, Cotchery and Keller cannot drop too many passes like they usually do. The Jets' offense needs to play mistake-free football.
Last, but not least, I think it's time to get McKnight involved in the offense as well. Green and LT had a solid game yesterday, and I don't see why we can't get a young and seemingly healthy (finally) McKnight involved as well.
I'm all for the ground and pound offense if it works, but let's not forget about the above-mentioned passing game as well.
The Jets have a tough week of practice ahead of them, and an even tougher Sunday in Foxborough. Hopefully all of the hard work pays off and Jets-Nation will get a big "W" next week!
Ian Sherwin is a contributor for Bleacher Report. Ian is also the cofounder of What's Good Blog and writes for the site daily.
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