NY Jets vs. Baltimore Ravens: 3 key matchups to watch for in Week 1

NY Jets, Lamar Jackson
NY Jets, Lamar Jackson / Scott Taetsch/GettyImages
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3. The NY Jets box defenders vs. Ravens all-world QB Lamar Jackson

It takes a nation to contain Lamar Jackson. And a ton of studying and discipline. And sometimes, all of that fails.

The Jets linebackers, Kwon Alexander, C.J. Mosley, and Quincy Williams, have their work cut out for them, but the Jets' edge players must also be on their toes and play gap responsibility.

Defenders are often left flat-footed playing Lamar Jackson, most of which is a result of defensive players playing the guessing game on Baltimore's run-action plays.

The Ravens are as old school as it gets. They line up with multiple fullbacks and tight ends and smack you in the mouth. But it's the deception in their playbook that creates hesitancy and indecision from defenses.

It's not just a diversified run playbook that can get you. It's the play fakes and openings created in the passing game. Everything is designed to simplify Jackson's reads.

One of the Jets' best high-profile signings in the offseason. Jordan Whitehead is a massive key to this game, and he will need to wear many hats in the secondary.

Not only will he help cover the Ravens' talented tight end duo of Mark Andrews and Isaiah Likely, but he will also act as a last line of defense to prevent long runs.

Even though preseason games were played, Week 1 can always be tricky for rookies and veterans because many new teammates are playing together for the first time.

Physical and mental fatigue are fundamental factors in the opening week. Being in the wrong place at the wrong time could get the Jets' defense off to an ugly start this season.

Players like Jordan Whitehead and veteran Lamarcus Joyner must work on avoiding communication issues with their secondary mates. Something that plagues newly formed rosters. 

The Ravens are one of those teams you don't play in Week 1, regardless if it's at home or on the road. Because they are an established team with so many front-line players that have already been through the wars together, there won't be any early season growing pains or a learning curve for them.

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The Jets, on the other hand, are the exact opposite. They have a newly formed roster with many inexperienced players, and Sunday will be baptism by fire for the Jets players.