New York Jets: 5 Keys to Victory Against the Baltimore Ravens Sunday Night
The Ravens, on the other hand, have a lot of momentum heading into Sunday night's game after defeating the Rams 37-7.
Both teams are 2-1 heading into the week four matchup and a win is vital for both teams.
The last time these two teams met, it was a defensive battle with very little offense as the Ravens would win 10-9.
Rex Ryan is hoping for a different outcome this year against the team he was the defensive coordinator for before heading to the Jets.
The Jets are 3.5 point underdogs in this game, so here are five keys to victory to beat the favored Ravens.
1. Get the Run Game Going
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Right now Mark Sanchez is 10th in the league in passing yards with 886, and is tied for 7th in the league for passing touchdowns with six, coming into Week 4.
By this time last year Mark Sanchez threw for only 556 yards.
Sanchez has had to do a lot by himself without any running game. The Jets officially lost their ground and pound status which means Sanchez has had to carry the offense on his back.
The ground and pound is essential to the Jets for many reasons. It takes time off the clock, it helps ease a lot of pressure off of Sanchez for second and third downs and helps him establish the play-action pass.
Shonn Greene has had another disappointing start to the year. Through three games he has 134 yards on 41 carries and one touchdowns. That averages out to 3.3 yards per carry which is fifth worst among running backs with 40 or more carries.
Greene showed some promise last week on some runs, but he was playing the Raiders who gave up 217 rushing yards the previous week to the Bills.
Not all of it is Greene's fault, the Jets lost All-Pro center Nick Mangold which was a strong inside presence in the run game. This lead to the Jets not being to run the ball up the middle at all against the Raiders.
It's not going to get much easier this week either, the Ravens are sixth in the league in rush yards allowed per game at 86.0.
But the Jets are playing a 3-4 defense opposed to the Raiders 4-3, so it should be easier to run the ball this week up the middle.
I wouldn't expect much for Greene or the run game this week, but it would be very helpful to Sanchez if they can get the run game back.
Having the run game back would allow the Ravens defense to take less men off of coverage to try and stop the run, and open holes for players like LaDainian Tomlinson and Dustin Keller in the passing game.
If the Jets want to win against the Ravens getting some life in the running game will be vital.
Prediction: The Jets will try and rush it around 20-25 times, with Greene still not being able to find his grove with a 55 yard game.
2. Protect Mark Sanchez
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Sanchez will probably have to throw the ball at least 25 times against the Ravens with their strong run defense, which means he will need a lot of protection.
The Jets' offensive line did great in the first half in the Raiders game, but crumbled in the second half and gave up four sacks. This caused a lot of three and outs for the Jets and lead them to allow 17 unanswered points.
If the Jets want success in the passing game they will have to protect Sanchez. This will be hard for the Jets as the Ravens are tied for seventh in the league in sacks with nine coming into Sunday nights game.
Allowing Sanchez more time will help limit mistakes, which will be important for Sanchez as he is notorious for making some bad throws and the Ravens are second in the league in interceptions.
Having good protection is what lead Matt Hasselbeck to have a field day against the Ravens week two with 358 passing yards.
If the Jets want to have a serious shot, it is crucial they protect Mark Sanchez.
Prediction: The Jets offensive line gives up three sacks to the Ravens
3. Kyle Wilson Needs to Step Up
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Kyle Wilson got was thrown into the fire as a rookie in Week 1 against the Ravens and he got burned bad. Wilson probably still has nightmares about last year's performance.
Ravens Quarterback Joe Flacco exploited Wilson and he struggled, he gave up two penalties and let Boldin go off for 110 receiving yards. Like week one last year, he will be the tested again by Flacco.
With Cromartie most likely out with a bruised lung, Wilson will most likely step into the starting role Sunday night, a role he hasn't been in since early last year.
This time against the Ravens he will be covering rookie receiver Torrey Smith, who is coming off a monster day catching five passes for 152 yards and three touchdowns.
With Boldin most likely on Revis Island, Flacco will need to target someone, so he will go after Wilson like they did cornerback Jeff King last week for the Rams.
Hopefully, Wilson won't fail the test like King did.
Prediction: Kyle Wilson lets up five receptions for 70 yards to Torrey Smith
4. Get Pressure on Flacco
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The Jets are once again having a disappointing year in the pass rushing field. Last week against the Raiders, Jason Campbell sat comfortably in the pocket all game with barely any pressure from the Jets.
There so desperate for a spark that they brought back OLB and first round bust Aaron Maybin, who they cut before the season started.
Going up against a more experienced quarterback in Flacco, the Jets will need to put pressure on him in order to compete in this game.
Flacco is known to turn the ball over under pressure. In the Ravens only loss against the Titans in Week 2, Flacco received plenty of pressure which lead to three sacks and three turnovers. The Rams were able to get to Flacco twice last week causing two fumbles.
The Jets are also missing Cromartie so putting pressure on Flacco will give him less time the find the open man and also help force some turnovers.
Expect the Jets to bring the heat on Flacco on all downs to try and create more pressure this week.
Prediction: Rex will bring plenty of guys on all downs sacking Flacco three times.
5. Stop Ray Rice
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The usually great Jets run stopping defense were carved up by Darren McFadden allowing him to rush for 170 yards and two touchdowns.
That run stopping awful performance against the Raiders leaves the Jets last in the AFC and 31st in the league in running yards allowed per game with an average of 136.7 yards per game.
Unfortunately for the Jets, they have another tough task this week in stopping Ray Rice who is ninth in the league in rushing yards with 231 yards and averaging 5.6 yards per carry.
Stopping Rice should allow the Jets to drop a few more guys in coverage which can be helpful in stopping tight end Ed Dickson and helping out Kyle Wilson on Torrey Smith.
Prediction: The Jets defense does a lot better against Rice. They will give up 15 carries for 60 yards.