The New York Jets overcame their fourth-quarter slump to take down Kansas City. If they can do the same in Denver, a second-consecutive victory should be no problem.
Week 14 sends the New York Jets back on the road as they’ll take on the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. When these two met in 2014, the Broncos took care of business 31-17. Much has changed since then with both teams currently well out of the AFC playoff picture.
The Jets technically kept their postseason hopes alive with their Week 13 home win over the Chiefs. John Morton’s offense scored at will and racked up 488 yards in the process. Had Todd Bowles‘ defense played better, this could’ve been a laugher.
Denver was embarrassed in Miami 35-9. Trevor Siemian completed just 46.3 percent of his passes and tossed three picks, one of which went for a touchdown. The nightmare at quarterback is never-ending and Vance Joseph may already be on the hot seat.
New York is the clear favorite on paper. The Broncos have now lost eight in a row while the Jets have been competitive in all but one contest. Will their road woes continue or will they get to 6-7? Here are Gang Green’s three keys to victory.
Next: 3. Double-team Von Miller
3. Double-team Von Miller
Denver may be 3-9, although their defense remains elite. Von Miller has led the pack since joining the league in 2011 and has established himself as an All-World pass rusher. He has nine sacks in 2017 and double-digit sacks in every other season besides his nine-game 2013 campaign. It’s simply 60 minutes of hell for right tackles.
Miller has a 94 overall grade on Pro Football Focus, which ranks second out of 166 edge defenders to earn a snap. He additionally owns a 90.8 in pass rushing and a 93.6 in run defense under 656 total snaps. The 90.8 is fourth out of the 109 edge defenders who have seen at least 120 pass rushing snaps. The 93.6 is first out of the 105 who have earned at least 83 run defense snaps.
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There’s no chance Brandon Shell can handle this alone. Khalil Mack went to town on him in the second half of the Week 2 matchup. Imagine what Miller would do. We could see plenty of Eric Tomlinson pitching in to double-team him on that right side. The ‘Vonster’ can ruin an offense’s entire day.
Next: 2. Keep it simple offensively
2. Keep it simple offensively
Morton and company need to focus primarily on containing Miller, but they also have to keep the ball away from the Broncos’ opportunistic secondary. Aqib Talib, Chris Harris Jr., and Bradley Roby are undisputedly the league’s best trio at cornerback. Combine those three with Darian Stewart, Justin Simmons, and Will Parks and you have a plethora of playmakers.
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There are 172 corners who have seen the field thus far. Only 37 hold overall grades above 80, per PFF. Talib, Harris, and Roby are three of those 37. Stewart (46) and Parks (49.2) are struggling overall, but they’re thriving in run defense with 79.8 and 72.4 grades respectively. There aren’t many units as well-rounded as this one.
What the Jets have to do is keep it simple and take what they’re given. Let Denver’s offense take the risks and make the mistakes. Dink and dunk with the running backs and look for mismatches with Austin Seferian-Jenkins. None of their linebackers are big enough to cover him one-on-one. Throws downfield are accidents waiting to happen against this bunch.
Next: 1. Get the defense off the field
1. Get the defense off the field
Gang Green’s most important key is getting stops. They can’t afford to let Siemian and the offense stay on the field and gain confidence. New York is 18th in first downs allowed with 20 per game. A staggering 38 of the 240 have come from penalties, the league’s second-highest number. Their grand total of 91 penalties ranks 28th.
The Jets and Broncos actually have the same amount of offensive first downs (217). That number is 25th in the league and even more of a reason for Gang Green to get off the field on defense. Denver hasn’t won because they haven’t moved the chains. As soon as that happens, their skid will come to a halt.
The Broncos are hurting on the right side of the line with Ronald Leary inactive, so New York is in a spot where their pass rush can finally get the ball rolling. Look for Jordan Jenkins to have several free runs at the quarterback. He’s producing at a high level and due for a career day.