The New York Jets are preparing for a tough Week 4 road game against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Here are their top three keys to victory.
Heading into Week 4, the New York Jets will have had 10 days to recover from their brutal Thursday night collapse against the Cleveland Browns. The Jets will visit the Jacksonville Jaguars in a rematch of last year’s slugfest. Last year, the Jets got the win in overtime after blowing a ten point fourth quarter lead.
This year’s matchup will be much different. Gone for the Jets is veteran Josh McCown, who has been relegated to mentor and backup duties for Sam Darnold. Sam has struggled in back to back weeks against some tough defenses, but it will get no easier against the Jaguars, who have allowed the third-fewest yards through the air this year.
On paper, the Jets do not have much of a chance. The Jaguars have two corners in Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye who can cover anyone in the league. The Jets will have a tough time finding separation for their young signal caller.
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Darnold has shown the ability to keep his eyes downfield and go through his reads, but that process will be sped up this week. Led by Calais Campbell and his three sacks, the Jaguars can get after the quarterback, so there will be limited time for Darnold. Campbell left last week early with an ankle injury, so it will be interesting to see if he is able to play Sunday.
Despite this bleak outlook, there is hope for the young Jets. If the Jets plan to beat the Jaguars on the road, here are their three keys to a big road victory in Week 4:
Stuff early down runs
The Jets need to stay ahead on the chains and limit the time their defense spends on the field. The Jaguars offense is built around their ability to move the ball on the ground on early downs, leading to easy throws for Blake Bortles. The Jets cannot afford to let the Jaguars get into their rhythm, and it starts with shutting down the run on early downs. They need to create third and long situations and hopefully force a few turnovers.
Take shots (and hit) on offense
Everyone is expecting the Jets to try and hide Darnold against this vaunted Jaguars defense. The key for the Jets on offense will be to loosen up this Jaguars defense with a few shots down the field. If he can get off the line against these corners, wide receiver Robby Anderson has the speed to outrun anyone in the league. If they can link up early, it should open up some holes for Isaiah Crowell on the ground as the game goes on.
Contain Blake Bortles
Bortles is not given enough credit for his ability to run when things break down. The Jets were torched a few times by Ryan Tannehill in Week 2, so it will be interesting to see how the Jets prepare for Bortles. In obvious passing situations, it would be wise to have one of their speedy interior linebackers keep an eye on him. Nothing saps the life out of a defense more than a quarterback sliding untouched for a long third down conversion.
If the Jets can do all of this, they will be in good position to steal one on the road. No pressure Sam, you got this.