NY Jets: Next up on Revis Island is Dez Bryant
Up next for the NY Jets is a critical game with the Dallas Cowboys and the match-up to watch will certainly be Darrelle Revis vs. Dez Bryant.
In this pivotal late season match-up, the Jets will travel to play the Dallas Cowboys in a primetime affair with a lot on the line. One of the best match-ups to watch out for is the next challenger to Darrelle Revis, Dez Bryant. Arguably one of the top wide-outs in all of football, though 2015 hasn’t been the best of seasons for the star wide receiver. His Cowboys are meandering in mediocrity at 4-9 and are sorely missing their all-pro quarterback Tony Romo.
Bryant has been dealing with his own issues as it is, starting the off-season with a holdout due to contract concerns, then after getting his new deal he had to deal with a broken foot in the first game of the season. After battling through rehab, he made his triumphant return sooner than expected and began making an impact on the field. With his best performance coming against the Philadelphia Eagles in early November. Bryant accumulated over 100 yards (the only time he has done so all season) and torched the Eagles’ secondary throughout.
But recently Bryant hasn’t looked like a sure fire top-3 wide receiver, he actually hasn’t even looked average. He’s been playing sub-par football for the last several weeks and that all came to ahead last week against Green Bay. Bryant dropped several catchable balls and even tipped one resulting in an interception early in the first quarter. He finished the day with one catch for 9 yards, by far one of his worst totals of his career.
On the season, Bryant has 27 catches for 351 yards and 2 touchdowns in what amounted to 8 games thus far. Even with Bryant in what appears to be quite the slump, shouldn’t be underestimated. When healthy and motivated, Bryant has shown that he is one of the best receivers in the game. But he isn’t healthy and he doesn’t have Romo throwing him dimes, no he instead has Matt Cassel.
Who has been abysmal to say the least, Cassel has more interceptions than touchdowns and has faltered down the stretch. He has failed to find a connection with the Cowboys #1 weapon on offense and clearly the chemistry isn’t there. But with all that being said, Revis’ assignment this week will be to stop Bryant. Revis himself is fresh off of a two-week layoff from a concussion he suffered in the Jets match-up with Houston a few weeks ago.
Revis has been questioned as of late about his game declining with age and after the Houston game where DeAndre Hopkins torched Revis on several passes in which these talks began to percolate. Revis isn’t Revis of 2009, that much is clear, but that doesn’t mean Revis is done by any means. This guy may not be the best corner in the game anymore, but he is still an elite corner in the game, assuredly top-5.
Experts on Darrelle Revis: Still one of the best, if not the best CB. Only fractional decline, if that. #NYJ https://t.co/nK9FnWHcXs
— Rich Cimini (@RichCimini) December 11, 2015
So stop the nonsense and let’s talk about this one-on-one game within the game. Bryant is a physical specimen and this is not the first time these two stars have met on the gridiron. Actually, they met four years ago coincidentally on the opening game of the season. Bryant started out the game hot with 3 catches for 71 yards, but he was shut out the rest of the game’s final 52 minutes, including a game-sealing interception by Revis late in the fourth quarter.
Now Bryant has his chance at redemption as the Cowboys look to play spoiler. The Jets are one of the hottest teams in football right now, winners of three straight games. The question will be if the Jets can’t pressure Cassel will he be able to get the ball in Bryant’s direction? Or perhaps the better question is, even if he wants to throw Bryant’s way, because he seems to have lost a lot of trust in the mercurial receiver after last week’s game, will he?
On the Revis front, outside of a few occasions in the Buffalo game and the aforementioned Houston game, Revis has been rock-solid in his return to the Jets in 2015. Head coach Todd Bowles will learn from his mistakes of putting Revis in bad situations and I believe he will try to roll coverage to Bryant and force Cassel to beat them another way. Of course I said this in the Houston game against a relatively inexperienced quarterback and the Jets failed miserably.
Dec 13, 2015; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets corner back Darrelle Revis (24) warms up before a game against the Tennessee Titans at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
The Jets are 8-5 in the middle of the AFC playoff race, currently sitting at the 6th position in the standings. But as fate would have it, the Jets do not control their own destiny. Even if, best-case-scenario, the Jets were to ‘win-out’, at 11-5 they would be sitting at home watching the playoffs. The Jets are going to need some help, the other two teams in the mix: the Kansas City Chiefs and the Pittsburgh Steelers to be exact, are going to have to lose.
Next: Don't get your hopes up with Jets
There are three games to go in the NFL regular season and all the Jets need is the Steelers or Chiefs to lose one game and of course assuming the Jets take care of business and ‘win-out’ they’d be in. But of course, taking care of business starts this Saturday night in a special episode of Thursday Night Football on NFL Network, where the Jets will travel to play the Cowboys in primetime with much on the line.