The New York Jets will head into Bank of America Stadium to take on the Carolina Panthers on Sunday afternoon and with the season ending in just three weeks; this game will likely decide if the Jets land the second Wild Card spot and head into the playoffs.
The Panthers defensive line have a premier rush defense lead by a now healthy Charles Johnson, but the key to the Jets include establishing a run game to exploit the over zealousness of their pass rush. Also having their offensive line protect Geno Smith, so he isn’t rushed which will lead to bad decisions and eventually turnovers.
However, running back Chris Ivory will be vital in the outcome of Sunday’s game, as a major key for a rookie quarterback is to have an excellent running back. Last week, Ivory ran for 76 yards and a touchdown. It was impressive when he carried multiple defenders into the end zone with him.
In 12 games in 2013, Ivory has eclipsed his career high in carries with 146, amassing 639 yards, three touchdowns, and just fumbling twice.
For Smith to have a big game at quarterback, Ivory needs to make the Panthers defense struggle to shut down the run, making the Jets’ offense depending on the passing attack. When rushed, Smith has proven to throw multiple interceptions resulting in Jets losses. But, when he actually has time in the pocket, he can focus on completing the ball to his receivers – and eventually resulting in a Jets touchdown.
The Jets have demonstrated that they can beat good teams like the New Orleans Saints and New England Patriots, and if Ivory can establish a run game, the Jets have a chance to upset the Panthers.