On Sunday the New York Jets (3-6) take on the St. Louis Rams (3-5-1) at the Edward Jones Dome (1 p.m. EST). The Jets enter the game losers of three in a row while the Rams are coming off of a well played game against the San Francisco 49ers. Lets take a look at some of the keys to the game from the New York Jets perspective.
Get Sanchez some confidence- At this point Mark Sanchez is a battered and beaten quarterback. The Jets quarterback is not playing with a lot of confidence and it is up to offensive coordinator Tony Sparano to get the kid back in rhythm. Whether that means the short passing game or the hurry up offense something needs to be done to help get Sanchez back on track. The Jets offense cannot afford to have repeated 3 and outs.
Pass protection- The offensive line must remain consistent in terms of pass protection as the Rams have some guys that can get to the quarterback. Robert Quinn (8.5 sacks) and Chris Long (5 sacks) can easily disrupt the passing game while linebacker James Laurinaitis is a tackling machine.
Keep Keller involved- Dustin Keller is a coming off of a very disappointing game last week where he had two terrible false start penalties along with a couple of drops. The Jets have got to get Keller going early on in the game, especially considering that Cortland Finnegan is roaming around in the secondary. Keller can help keep the defense honest and spread the field for both the passing and running game.
Stop Steven- The Rams offense is built around running back Steven Jackson. If Jackson gets going then the play action pass opens up and the Jets will be in for a long day. The defensive line must get penetration and slow down the Rams back.
Defend Danny- Wide receiver Danny Amendola (43 catches 497 yards) is having a huge year for the Rams and will be a handful for the Jets defense. The Rams can move Amendola all over the field and Gang Green’s defense must find ways to slow him down. This could be a tough match-up for Antonio Cromartie.
Beat on Bradford- The Jets front seven must be able to generate pressure on quarterback Sam Bradford. Gang Green cannot allow Bradford to get comfortable in the pocket and should be prepared for some trick plays i.e. flea flicker. Lets not forget that Brian Schottenheimer is on the other side of the field and would love to shove some points in Rex Ryan’s face.
This game is full of a bunch of storylines primarily due to the fact that the Jets have brought the circus back to town. Will Sanchez get benched? Will Tebow play? Is Rex on the hot seat? Lost in all of the chaos is the fact that the Jets will be playing a physical Rams team on Sunday. A team that has former offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer more than motivated to prove himself to Rex and his Jets.
There is a decent chance that the Rams could suffer a bit of an emotional letdown from the 49ers game. St. Louis left everything that they had on the field and the Jets must take advantage of that. Gang Green should come out aggressive passing the ball, but at this point I am not sure how much confidence Sparano has in Sanchez.
I am going to take the Jets 17-14 but that is based on blind faith. In all honesty I have no idea what to expect from this Jets team on Sunday.