It should be an interesting afternoon tomorrow at MetLife Stadium. The Saints are a tough team, and have been one for years. The Jets are going to have to be on their “A” game tomorrow if they are going to head into the bye week with a 5-4 record.
There have been a lot of comparisons made between the current Jets’ team, and the team from Rex’s first year, 2009. The Jets were the underdogs in 2009 as they are this year. The experts paid no attention to the Jets coming into 2009, just as they paid no attention to them coming into 2013. The Jets liked the role then, and they like the role now.
The analogy is ironic, because in order to win the game tomorrow, the Jets need to return to their glory days of 2009. Tomorrow, they have to play more to the “Ground and Pound” than they have in a long time.
For several reasons.
One, the Saints have not been able to stop the run all season. For all the great things Rob Ryan has done with the Saints’ defense, they have been terrible against the run. The Saints have given up 4.8 yards per carry on the ground, tied for dead last in the league.
They are also 19th in the NFL in rushing yards allowed per game with over 110. The Saints are only 10th in the league in overall rushing yards given up, but that is a stat that doesn’t tell the story. The Saints are up by so much, so often, that opponents have to abandon the run. So the Saints haven’t been able to stop it, but Brees is so good that eventually, the opposing team can’t exploit that weakness if they want to stay in the game.
Furthermore, they will receive an added benefit to running the ball well. It keeps Drew Brees off the field. The Jets need to control the time of possession. Drew Brees cannot hit Jimmy Graham with any passes if they are both standing on the sideline with baseball caps on. The longer they can control that football, the less chance Drew Brees has to throw long touchdown passes.
Despite Marty Mornhinweg and his passing DNA, the Jets are going to have to go back to their old roots in order to win tomorrow’s football game. They have to Ground and Pound it. That’s not to say they can’t take their shots. But they must control the game on the ground in order to keep the game in their reach.
Otherwise, it will be over, and quickly.