The rivalry is renewed. Rex Ryan and the New York Jets, coming off a 2 game skid, head to Foxboro for a meeting with their division rivals, and “friends”, the New England Patriots. Here’s some things to watch:
DARRELLE REVIS VS WES WELKER ET AL.
This will be a matchup to watch. Coach Ryan has said that they will mix up the coverages, but he is sure that Revis will have opportunities to go up against Welker, and that will be a sight to see. Welker has been on a torrid pace, with 40 catches for 616 yards in the first quarter of the season, while Revis Island has been business as usual. Darrelle has allowed only 38 yards receiving so far. Tom Brady can count on Revis blanketing whomever he is covering, so the other weapons, and he has many, will be key. Which leads to….
WHICH JETS DEFENSE WILL SHOW UP??
The inconsistency of the Jets defense is well documented. Other than a few big plays, they were beaten up in the Dallas game. They played well against the Jaguars, followed by their worst performance under Rex Ryan in the game in Oakland. The defense came back last week, only allowing 10 points to the Ravens offense.
In contrast, the blistering hot pace of the Patriots offense is also well documented. They are leading the league with an astronomical 507.5 yards per game on offense, and scoring 33.8 points per game. An improved rushing attack coming out of last week, where they averaged 6.1 yards per carry makes this a scary task for the New York Jets defense. They fooled Tom Brady with multiple looks in the January playoff game, and Mike Pettine and company will have to be ready with a stellar gameplan on Sunday.
WELCOME BACK MANGOLD
If I had audio I would sing the “Welcome Back Kotter” song. All things coming out of Florham Park this week are indicating that Nick Mangold will make his return on Sunday, and it couldn’t come at a better time.
We all saw the struggles of the offensive line last Sunday night. A great line I heard the other day when someone said that Sanchez looked like a guy who lost his best friend. Colin Baxter looked lost. Vladimir Ducasse was his usual matador self, and they all nearly got Sanchez killed. Mark now has a tattoo on his back, of an imprint of Haloti Ngata’s facemask.
The line will perform better with Nick Mangold, making the line calls, and keeping things in order. Vince Wilfork was licking his chops at the possibility of going against Colin Baxter, and he always looks forward to going against Mangold, who he calls “the best center in football”. If Mangold is healthy, the Wilfork/Mangold matchup will be a thing to watch. This will be pivotal and something to step back and enjoy as a football fan.
Rex Ryan has made no secret that they are going to go back to the running game this week. They are going to need it. 38 yards is not going to cut it. Shonn Greene has not shown that he can be the every down back yet. 31 carries for 157 yards over 4 games is not good enough.
They have to commit to it. They can’t try it, and then get away from it. Give the offensive line a chance to go and hit somebody, and establish “Jets football” again. The Patriots defense can be beaten. They are allowing 4.8 yards per carry on the ground. Give it a chance.
This will increase Mark Sanchez’s success as well. Mark Sanchez in the past, has been at his best working off of the play-action. If they can re-establish the run, the pass will come as well. The Patriots defense can be beaten through the air as well, as they have given up 368.8 yards per game through the air, ranking last in the AFC.
Establish your identity and the Jets can have success on Sunday.
STOP THE MIDDLE OF THE FIELD
Finally, be ready to stop the pass where they are most vulnerable. The Jets have a weakness against the hybrid TE. They have for a while. Jason Witten exploited it for 110 yards. Aaron Hernandez returned to the practice field for the Patriots, and along with Rob Gronkowski have combined for 32 receptions, 461 yards and 7 TDs. A real headache potential for the Jets.
There is your preview for week 5. See you on the other side.
Topics: Aaron Hernandez, Alan Schechter, Colin Baxter, Darrelle Revis, Jason Witten, Mark Sanchez, Mike Pettine, New England Patriots, NIck Mangold, NY Jets, Rex Ryan, Rob Gronkowski, Shonn Greene, Tom Brady, Vince Wilfork, Vladimir Ducasse, Wes Welker