Jaguars vs Jets: 3 keys to victory for New York


Oct 18, 2015; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles looks on prior to the third quarter against the Washington Redskins at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

In the Jaguars vs Jets game, here are 3 keys for Gang Green to focus on in order to leave this game victorious.

Today, the NY Jets will host the Jacksonville Jaguars and look to bounce back from a two-game skid that has sent them to 4-3 through the first eight weeks. As of late, Gang Green has been snake-bitten with injuries which could be the reason behind the two losses, but the poor play cannot be hidden. However, with quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick and All-Pro center Nick Mangold back in the offense, New York will be a lot more comfortable in Week 9 opposed to last week’s contest in Oakland.

In Week 8, the Jets were smothered by the Raiders 34-20 in a game that was over relatively early. Quarterback Derek Carr gashed head coach Todd Bowles’ defense from start to finish throwing for 333 yards and four touchdowns. Bowles was very upset with the defense. Running back Latavius Murray was also able to eclipse the 100-yard mark rushing for 113 yards on 20 carries.

On the other hand, the Jaguars are coming off of a bye week that followed a huge win over the Buffalo Bills in London. Jacksonville jumped out to a 27-3 lead, but almost ended up collapsing. Although, head coach Gus Bradley has found quite the connection between quarterback Blake Bortles and wideout Allen Robinson. The two have hooked up on six touchdowns thus far to go along with 586 yards. The combo will be a tough task for New York to stop as it has been for every team, but Robinson is in fact on “Revis Island” for the day.

The Jets are obviously the favorites on paper, but this game will be no cupcake whatsoever. The Jags can put points on the board at will and a tough front-seven can be hard on any offense. Gang Green has no other choice but to put these last two weeks in the rear-view and get back to playing the football that got them off to their hot 4-1 start.

Here are three ways New York can avoid an upset in the Meadowlands.

Next: 3. Stack the box

Sep 13, 2015; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Cleveland Browns running back Isaiah Crowell (34) runs with the ball during the first half of their game against the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

3. Stack the box

For the Jets to get back to the football they were playing a few weeks ago, they have to load the box and dare Bortles to throw the ball. Despite how talented New York’s front-seven is, last week showed that it’s still difficult to get after the quarterback without sending a blitz. The Jets had no sacks, caused only three hurries (all were from Muhammad Wilkerson), and hit Carr only five times. To be fair, the defense did miss both Calvin Pryor and Buster Skrine’s presence, but guys like Quinton Coples and Calvin Pace have been huge disappointments. Coach Bowles as a result has gone with a 4-3 look for a majority of snaps, keeping the two outside linebackers off the field.

If the Jets want to move forward with this approach, they have to find ways for the defensive line as well as David Harris and Demario Davis to apply pressure on the quarterback. Right now, Davis is ranked as the second-worst pass rushing inside linebacker on Pro Football Focus. Harris on the other hand is ranked 10th out of 29 inside linebackers in the pass rushing department that have received at least 60% of snaps. If a 31-year old Harris can get after the quarterback, it’s very strange that Davis can’t as well.

The Jaguars’ offensive line isn’t a strength of their team, so this could be the week for the Jets to get the pass rush back on track. On PFF, tackles Jermey Parnell and Luke Joeckel both have terrible grades as pass blockers. Parnell currently has a -8.1 and Joeckel sits with a -7.1. Guards A.J. Cann and Zane Beadles are no different. Cann has a -6.0 grade in pass blocking efficiency and Beadles has a -4.1. The door is open for Wilkerson, Leonard Williams, Sheldon Richardson and the rest of the front-seven to have a field day against this weak offensive line.

Let’s see if coach Bowles can answer the bell.

Next: 2. Get Chris Ivory rolling again

Oct 25, 2015; Foxborough, MA, USA; New York Jets running back Chris Ivory (33) runs the ball against New England Patriots outside linebacker Jamie Collins (91) during the second half at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports

2. Get Chris Ivory rolling again

In each of the three Jets losses, Chris Ivory made little to no impact. In Week 3’s contest against Philadelphia, Ivory dealt with a quad injury and didn’t play. In the past two games, he’s carried the ball 32 times for a mere 58 yards. In New York’s four wins, the Tiffin graduate carried the ball 83 times for 460 yards and four touchdowns. As a result, he’s ranked as the fifth-best running back in the league with a +8.9 overall grade on PFF. Regardless of how stout the Jaguars’ defensive line is, this a good week for the Jets to get back to their roots.

With Mangold back on the line, New York can get back to what they’re used to doing. Last week against the Raiders, backup center Wesley Johnson earned a -1.2 rating in run blocking on PFF. While every Jets’ starting offensive lineman besides Mangold does have a negative grade in the run blocking department, things just seem to click better with the All-Pro in the lineup. The team has fallen all the way down to 12th in rushing offense where they stood in the top five just a few weeks ago. For Gang Green to get back to the top, they need to re-establish the run game.

A way this can happen is if offensive coordinator Chan Gailey runs Ivory outside. Even though he’s a “between the tackles” runner, Jacksonville’s defensive ends as of late have really struggled against the run. Both Jared Odrick (-1.5) and Chris Clemons (-5.9) have negative run defense ratings on PFF while Andre Branch (-2.2) who at times rotates in does as well. On top of that, through the first seven games, Ivory has shed 21 tackles.

Therefore, the Jets have quite the advantage when he’s in one on one situations with defenders too. Execution with the ball in Ivory’s hands can do wonders for New York’s offense in today’s action.

Next: 1. Attack Demetrius McCray and Dwayne Gratz

Aug 22, 2014; Detroit, MI, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars cornerback Demetrius McCray (35) against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

1. Attack Demetrius McCray and Dwayne Gratz

When the Jets aren’t running the ball with Ivory, they need to be picking on the Jags’ slot corners whether it’s Demetrius McCray or Dwayne Gratz. At times Aaron Colvin lines up as the nickel or dime corner, but he normally just blitzes. Hence the reason why he already has three sacks on the year. The Jets have found plenty of success when the ball gets out of Fitzpatrick’s hand relatively quick, so they’d be hard pressed not to try it on Jacksonville’s dismal secondary.

Through the first seven games, McCray has allowed 82.4% of passes thrown in his coverage to be completed. He’s only played 160 snaps, so whenever he’s on the field, Gailey will most likely try to get the ball to whoever he’s covering. The 82.4% is ridiculous even if he’s been targeted just 17 times. With that being said, scenarios in which Eric Decker is lined up in the slot would be ideal for New York. According to PFF, Decker ranks 11th out of 58 receivers who have played at least 25% of their snaps in the slot while Jeremy Kerley stands at 28 in that same group.

Next: Season is doomed if dependent on Geno Smith

While McCray seems to struggle whenever he’s on the field, Gratz could be even worse. In the 241 snaps he’s received, he’s allowed 72.2% of passes thrown his way to be completed. On top of that, he’s given up two touchdowns and surrendered 191 yards. Whether they’re in or out of the slot, Fitzpatrick needs to attack these two from start to finish. If the Jets are able to succeed in doing this, it can open up the run game because the safeties would be out of the box worrying about playing help-defense.

Overall, throwing at the Jaguars’ weakest links could contribute in a much-needed bounce back win for Gang Green.