NY Jets: Top 3 keys to victory against Washington Redskins


Sep 20, 2015; Landover, MD, USA; Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) prepares to throw the ball against the St. Louis Rams at FedEx Field. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Later on today, the NY Jets are set to welcome the Washington Redskins into MetLife Stadium with hopes of leaving victorious by using these top 3 keys to victory.

The NY Jets will host the Washington Redskins in a game that holds a great deal of importance for Gang Green. With tough road trips in the near future to Foxboro and Oakland, a 4-1 start can give New York the breathing room they need moving forward in the season. Regardless, no team wants to come away with a loss directly after the bye, so the Jets will be doing everything they can to continue where they left off.

In Week 4, the Jets dismantled the division rival Miami Dolphins in a game which the score does not tell the story. Head coach Todd Bowles’ defense pressured quarterback Ryan Tannehill from start to finish and held the Dolphins to a mere 65 yards in the first half. The Jets actually jumped out to a 27-7 lead and the touchdown that Miami scored was set up by a few questionable pass interference calls. Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie were flagged on two deep balls down the sideline, but other than penalties, New York did not make many mistakes in London.

As for the Redskins, they’re coming off of a brutal overtime loss in Atlanta in which they actually outplayed the Falcons. With the exception of containing Devonta Freeman, Washington held Atlanta to field goals and forced quarterback Matt Ryan into a lot of risky throws. Ryan threw two interceptions and finished the game 24/42. On the offensive side of the ball, they struggled mightily in the ground game totaling just 51 yards on 24 attempts. Against the Jets’ stout defense, those numbers could get even worse.

Nonetheless, this is a huge trap game for Gang Green. The Redskins have a big chip on their shoulder after the Week 5 loss and their defense has kept them in almost every game thus far. Washington is a few plays away from being 4-1, so this team cannot be taken lightly regardless of how bad their offense can be.

Here are top 3 ways the Jets can avoid another upset in the Meadowlands.

Next: 3. Air it out

Oct 4, 2015; London, United Kingdom; New York Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (14) throws a pass to wide receiver Brandon Marshall (15) during the first half of the game against the Miami Dolphins at Wembley Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Flynn-USA TODAY Sports

3. Air it out

The main reason why the Jets should continue to not be afraid to throw the ball is Brandon Marshall. The All-Pro has gotten off to a tremendous start and has given New York a presence at wide receiver that they haven’t had in many years. Marshall has begun the season with 30 catches for 400 yards to go along with three touchdowns, outplaying the likes of Joe Haden, Vontae Davis, Byron Maxwell and Brent Grimes. When he’s been healthy, Eric Decker has made a big impact as well racking up 180 yards on 14 catches with three touchdowns. According to Pro Football Focus, the two studs rightfully rank in the top 40 out of 108 wideouts who have received at least 25% of snaps.

A banged up Redskins’ secondary will also make throwing the ball a lot easier. Starting cornerbacks DeAngelo Hall (toe) and Chris Culliver (knee) were both ruled out by Washington on Friday. This makes Bashaud Breeland and Kyshoen Jarrett the next men up. Surprisingly, both have played over 100 snaps with Breeland leading the two (248). They may be performing well thus far, but lack of experience can certainly play a factor when you’re squaring off against Marshall and Decker. The Redskins may have to turn to veteran Will Blackmon if the youngsters happen to struggle.

Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick will most likely have his easiest matchup of the year on Sunday, but that’s no excuse to make any risky throws. The Harvard graduate has thrown quite a few picks on passes downfield, so expect offensive coordinator Chan Gailey to play it more safe than in weeks past. Receivers Devin Smith and Quincy Enunwa will get their opportunities as well. Both have had time during the bye to get on the same page with Fitzpatrick and pose a threat in the offense out of the slot. Chris Ivory will get his touches, but Gang Green will find more success through the air against the Redskins’ depleted secondary.

Next: 2. Pressure Kirk Cousins

Oct 4, 2015; Landover, MD, USA; Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) throws the ball over Philadelphia Eagles outside linebacker Connor Barwin (98) at FedEx Field. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

2. Pressure Kirk Cousins

Pressuring Kirk Cousins is the biggest key in New York coming away with a win. Given the fact that Alfred Morris is off to a slow start, Matt Jones is dealing with a toe injury and Chris Thompson has not proven enough just yet, head coach Jay Gruden will opt to throw the ball a lot. DeSean Jackson is still out with his lingering hamstring injury, however Pierre Garçon, Jamison Crowder and Ryan Grant can still gash a defense. The three have tremendous speed and the Jets have showed that fast receivers can hurt them, so Week 6 can finally be the week for Gang Green to turn the corner. Although, that all starts with pressuring Cousins.

According to PFF, in production while under pressure, Cousins ranks 26th out of the 30 quarterbacks who have played at least 50% of snaps. He’s thrown five interceptions while under pressure which is the most out of the other pressured quarterbacks and he’s been sacked six times. On top of that, he only completes 50.8% of his passes when he’s pressured and his throw accuracy is 57.1%, per PFF. With that being said, you can expect a blitz-heavy approach from Bowles. Look for Buster Skrine to continue his role as one of the best pass rushers on the team and Calvin Pryor to be up in the box as well.

Sheldon Richardson is also making his return to the defense. After serving his four-week suspension, the 2013 first-round selection will have plenty of opportunities to get off on the right foot like he did in 2014. Richardson finished the season with 9.5 sacks and as the second-best 3-4 defensive end on PFF behind J.J. Watt. According to Darryl Slater of NJ.com, Bowles has a plan in how he will use Richardson against the Redskins. Regardless of the plan, expect him to contribute in applying some of the much-needed pressure on Cousins throughout the contest.

Next: 1. Win the special teams battle

Oct 16, 2014; Foxborough, MA, USA; New York Jets special teams coach Thomas Mc Gaughey (second from left) reacts as punter Ryan Quigley (4) comes off the field against the New England Patriots during the second half at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports

1. Win the special teams battle

If there was one big concern with the Jets moving forward, it would without a doubt be the special teams. Whether it’s kick or punt coverage, New York needs to find a way to clean things up. In Week 3 against the Philadelphia Eagles, running back Darren Sproles broke five tackles and took a punt to the house which set the tempo for the rest of the game. In Week 4, wide receiver Jarvis Landry ripped several decent returns that set Miami up in favorable field position to chip away at the deficit. Fortunately, the Jets’ defense was able to stand tall and prevent any further damage.

Washington’s special teams has actually performed well through their first five games. Wideout Andre Roberts handles the return duties for the Redskins and he’s racked up 700 kick return yards to go along with 213 yards returning punts. On PFF, he has an overall grade of +6.5 as a special teamer and a +5.5 in the kick returning department. He’s averaged 23.7 yards per return and with his blazing 4.4 speed, that number could be a lot higher. In order for the Jets to keep him contained, specifically on punts, they must get the gunners downfield quicker than they have been.

Even though the special teams issues predominately fall on the players who are failing to make tackles and get downfield, punter Ryan Quigley is a guy who can change the unit for the better. More hang-time on punts and possibly even some directional kicking can help the special teams get on the right track. The punt to Sproles in Week 3 was actually very good, unfortunately the team didn’t tackle and he was able to find pay-dirt. Even if it takes away some distance, a tad more height on punts could end up making all the difference. If Gang Green is able to win the special teams battle on Sunday, starting the year 4-1 will become that much simpler.

Next: Redskins vs Jets: Top 5 players to watch

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