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Vikings vs. Jets: Controlling the clock and other keys to victory

EAST RUTHERFORD, NEW JERSEY - OCTOBER 07: Sam Darnold #14 of the New York Jets hands the ball off to Bilal Powell #29 of the New York Jets against the Denver Broncos during the first half in the game at MetLife Stadium on October 07, 2018 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
EAST RUTHERFORD, NEW JERSEY - OCTOBER 07: Sam Darnold #14 of the New York Jets hands the ball off to Bilal Powell #29 of the New York Jets against the Denver Broncos during the first half in the game at MetLife Stadium on October 07, 2018 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
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EAST RUTHERFORD, NEW JERSEY – OCTOBER 07: Sam Darnold #14 of the New York Jets hands the ball off to Bilal Powell #29 of the New York Jets against the Denver Broncos during the first half in the game at MetLife Stadium on October 07, 2018 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
EAST RUTHERFORD, NEW JERSEY – OCTOBER 07: Sam Darnold #14 of the New York Jets hands the ball off to Bilal Powell #29 of the New York Jets against the Denver Broncos during the first half in the game at MetLife Stadium on October 07, 2018 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

The New York Jets will face their first big test of the season with a home game against the Minnesota Vikings. Here some keys for Gang Green to make it three straight wins at home.

Coming off their first win streak since Week 5 of the 2017 season, the New York Jets will be welcoming in the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday. With storylines aplenty, the Jets will have a tough task against the talented Vikings.

For starters, Kirk Cousins used the Jets to get the money he wanted from the Vikings. In a documentary detailing his offseason, he admitted to never intending on playing for New York. He merely used them as a pawn to get the Vikings to up their offer. It worked, so good for him. However, the Jets will definitely be looking to show him he made the wrong choice on Sunday.

The other storyline involves Sheldon Richardson,  a former first round pick who the Jets traded last offseason. He will be looking to get his revenge against his former team, who tossed him aside in an attempt to create a new, winning culture.

Even at home, the Jets are 3 point underdogs. In order to get a win, or even cover the spread, it will take a full team effort on Sunday. The Vikings have a potent offense, and a legit defense featuring play-makers at all levels. These up and coming Jets have to play their best game of the season this week. It is important for them to focus on these keys to victory.

EAST RUTHERFORD, NEW JERSEY – OCTOBER 07: Jamal Adams #33 of the New York Jets reacts against the Denver Broncos during the second half in the game at MetLife Stadium on October 07, 2018 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
EAST RUTHERFORD, NEW JERSEY – OCTOBER 07: Jamal Adams #33 of the New York Jets reacts against the Denver Broncos during the second half in the game at MetLife Stadium on October 07, 2018 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

Limit the Vikings quick passing game

The majority of the Vikings success on offense relies on their air attack. Led by Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs, Cousins has plenty of weapons to throw to. Most of that comes from high percentage throws via the screen and slant routes, while picking up huge chunks of yardage after the catch.

In order to contain this, the Jets must attempt to jam the wide-outs at the line. When beaten, it will be important for the Jets corners to make some difficult solo tackles to mitigate the damage.

Another strategy will be to create pressure up the middle. The short passing game requires a clean pocket to step up and drive the ball into tight windows. If Leonard Williams and company can get in Cousins’ face, it will help break up the Vikings timing. Although Kirk is no slouch when it comes to rolling out, taking away his first reads will disrupt their rhythm. Our next key involves both sides of the ball.

Next: Win the turnover battle

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ – OCTOBER 14: Inside linebacker Avery Williamson #54 of the New York Jets celebrates with teammates defensive end Leonard Williams #92 and free safety Marcus Maye #26 after breaking up a pass in the endzone on a third own against the Indianapolis Colts during the second quarter at MetLife Stadium on October 14, 2018 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ – OCTOBER 14: Inside linebacker Avery Williamson #54 of the New York Jets celebrates with teammates defensive end Leonard Williams #92 and free safety Marcus Maye #26 after breaking up a pass in the endzone on a third own against the Indianapolis Colts during the second quarter at MetLife Stadium on October 14, 2018 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

Win the turnover battle

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Although a cliché around the league, it is more important for the Jets to win the turnover battle. In their three losses this year, the Jets lost the turnover battle. In two of those games, they forced zero. Turnovers shift the momentum of games, and the Jets are becoming better at this aspect of their defense.

The Jets have caused the 8th most turnovers in the league this year taking the ball away 15 times. On the flip side, they are the 5th worst at turning the ball over, with 12 turnovers. The Jets cannot afford any careless mistakes on offense, as the Vikings offense will punish any team who gives them the luxury of a short field.

It will be critical for the Jets to create some turnover opportunities by getting the Vikings into some 3rd and long situations. The Jets are most successful at creating pressure on the outside with the likes of Jordan Jenkins and Jamal Adams. These types of blitzes will not work on early downs against the Vikings quick passing game, so it is crucial they set themselves up for success on early downs.

If the Jets can create some turnovers it will get the crowd involved, and put this offense in good position to put up a similar point total to the 42 they put up last week. We will take a closer look at the offense in our final key.

Next: Control the clock

Control the clock

The best way to beat a high powered offense is to keep them off the field. It helps in two ways; it keeps your defense rested, and helps keep that offense out of rhythm. The way to do this is to mix up the pass and the run, and convert on third down.

The Jets run game is ranked 7th in the league, so it will be important to get that going early. Isaiah Crowell had a quiet game last week. However, his trend this year has been one good week, followed by one bad, so look for him to step up in this one.

With Quincy Enunwa exiting with an ankle injury last week, Sam Darnold was able to get it going with Jermaine Kearse as his go to possession receiver. It will be crucial to get him involved in the short passing game as a chain mover, something he has done well throughout his career. Robby Anderson also showed some life on the slant route, and has shown he has moved on from his early season fumble woes.

Finally, the Jets must convert their drives into touchdowns. Featuring the worst touchdown percentage in the red zone of any team this year, the Jets must find a way to get it into the end zone. They will need to put up as many points as they can against these explosive Vikings. Look for newfound option Christopher Herndon to be a threat inside the 20’s.

Must Read. Breaking down the latest on Quincy Enunwa injury

If the Jets can hold true to these three keys, they will be able to come away with a sweep on their three game homestand. In an ideal world, Cousins will walk out with green stains on his jersey, thinking about what could have been if he had actually considered the Jets this offseason. It’s ok though Kirk, we got our guy, and his name is Broadway Sam.

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