On Sunday the New York Jets (5-7) take on the Jacksonville Jaguars (2-10) at EverBank Field (1 p.m. EST). The Jets are coming off of a victory over the Arizona Cardinals while Jacksonville is still licking their wounds from a blowout loss to the Buffalo Bills. Lets take a look at some of the keys to the game from the New York Jets perspective.
Pound the rock- Statistically the Jaguars have one of the worst defenses in the NFL (28th pass, 31st rushing). Based on the struggles at the quarterback position look for the Jets to emphasize their ground and pound philosophy. Gang Green will try to wear down the Jacksonville defense with the running game which will open up the play action pass.
Quick strike- Mark Sanchez is most efficient when he gets in rhythm with his receivers. The Jets should utilize the quick passing game to help Sanchez get back on track. Quick slants, bubble screens, or anything else that can be done with a three-step drop. The less time to think the better off Sanchez will be, especially early on in the game.
Receiver by committee? Once again the Jets receiver/tight end group is decimated by injuries as Clyde Gates, Stephen Hill, and Dustin Keller are all questionable for Sunday. Players like Chaz Schilens, Jeremy Kerley, and Jeff Cumberland must step in order for the Jets to have any type of success passing the ball.
Hit Henne- The Jaguars will more than likely be without their top two running backs which means the offense could be built around Chad Henne and the passing attack. The Jets must hit Henne early and often and prevent him from getting comfortable in the pocket. If Chad has time he could find some holes in Gang Green’s defense.
Match-up with Marcedes- The Jaguars may have struggled offensively but they still have some formidable threats that the Jets must be aware of. Tight end Marcedes Lewis can do some damage in the passing game if he is not accounted for at all times. Gang Green’s safeties and linebackers must do an excellent job covering Lewis.
Blackmon vs. Cromartie- As of now wide receiver Cecil Shorts will miss Sunday’s game due to an injury which will put the #1 receiver spot on rookie Justin Blackmon. The young pass catcher has come on the past few games and it will be up to Antonio Cromartie to shut him down. This match-up should favor Cromartie.
There is truly no reason for the Jets to lose this game. The Jaguars are not a very good team and will more than likely be missing their best receiver and top two running backs. Gang Green should be able to maul Jacksonville with their running game which will take a ton of pressure off of Mark Sanchez. I would be surprised if this is a game in the 4th quarter. Jets 27-6
Side note: As many of you already know several areas of New Jersey have been drastically impacted by Hurricane Sandy. If are interested in donating to help out the victims from the hurricane please check out NJ Hometown Heroes website (www.njhometownheroes.org). This organization has done an excellent job raising funds for the victims with 100% of the proceeds going back to the communities. The group is now selling “Restore the Shore” t-shirts for only $10.