The Road to MetLife Stadium continues tomorrow, as the Jets take on the Buffalo Bills from MetLife Stadium. It’s the battle of the rookies, as Geno Smith goes head to head with E.J. Manuel. The Bills are coming off a one point victory over the Carolina Panthers, while the Jets are looking to recover from their three-point loss to New England.
This is about as huge as a game gets early in the season, as a loss for our Jets would take them to 0-2 in the AFC East, which is a tough road to overcome in any season. Here are some keys to victory for the team in green:
KEEP GENO SMITH ON HIS FEET
This game is going to be a big benchmark game for the offensive line. Thank goodness that nobody was suspended after the fracas at the end of the game against New England, because they have a huge task ahead of them tomorrow afternoon.
Mario Williams is coming off of a 4.5 sack performance last week. He is finally healthy, and ready to wreak havoc on opponents’ backfields and quarterbacks. Austin Howard and the right side of the Jets’ offensive line will be under the gun. Howard’s PFF grade in pass blocking is only a 0.9 to date, he is going to have to be on his “A” game tomorrow to keep Geno from meeting turf all day.
Willie Colon has been better against the pass rush, with a grade of 1.7. Both Mario and Kyle Williams are on the left side of the defense, which means the right side of the line will be under the gun. They had better get the job done or it will be a long afternoon.
Marty Mornhinweg is going to have to go against his DNA just a little bit. Yes, he did say he is running the ball more than ever with the Jets, mentioning when he ran the ball one time on third and seven, but that’s not enough. The ratio of pass to run so far has been approximately 65/35. The Jets need to bring that into the middle just a bit more.
How do you slow down a pass rush? Run the football. The Bills can be run on, with the third lowest PFF grade against the run with a -0.6, and allowing the third most yards on the ground per game with 283 yards allowed. If you are going to slow Mario and company down, run the ball.
With 12 rushes for 52 yards last week, Chris Ivory is starting to come into his own. He seems to finally be healthy, and ready to take an increased workload. If he performs well on Sunday, along with Bilal Powell, it will do a lot to keep the Buffalo defense off-balance.
GET TO E.J. MANUEL
Rex Ryan knows how to rattle a rookie quarterback. Frankly, he eats them for breakfast. You saw last week how pressure rattled Tom Brady, it will do far more to a rookie quarterback. They need to get pressure into Geno’s face from up the middle to flush him out.
Damon Harrison, Sheldon Richardson, and Quinton Coples(if he plays), it’s on you guys. Get to that quarterback, and he will falter.
CATCH THE FOOTBALL
Obvious after last week, but it deserves mentioning anyway. They are going to have to help out their rookie quarterback. Come back to the ball when he scrambles, and when he hits you in the hands, catch the ball. They might have won the game last week if they caught all or most of the passes that were dropped.
Look the ball into your hands and secure the catch. The offense will look so much better with the fundamentals.
What are your keys to the game?