Jets-Packers Preview: Hungry For Cheese, Gang Green Returns To Action After Bye Week

The (5-1) New York Jets take on the (4-3) Green Bay Packers Sunday at New Meadowlands Stadium.

The game kicks off at 1 p.m. EST. and will air on FOX. Let's bring it down:



StatLine: Jets rank No. 2 in rushing offense at 159.2 yards per game, while Green Bay ranks No. 23 against the run giving up 124.3 yards per game.

Quirky Stat: Jets are 2-0 when one of their players is acquired by the opposition the week before the game is to be played. Well, former Jet DT Howard Green was picked up by the Packers on Wednesday!

Situational Advantage for Gang Green:

Jets are rested coming off the bye week, while the Packers just played a long game on Sunday Night Football and are coming off of a "short week." Squeaking out a tough win against a division rival with limited time to prepare for Sunday's game, many would call this a "letdown" spot for Green Bay. 

Packers are banged-up as it is and are suffering from a lot of injuries. Jets need to take advantage of this opportunity.

Jets X-Factor -- (QB Mark Sanchez)

OK, it may be cliché to pick a team's quarterback, but so be it. This is my first time picking Sanchez this season as ‘x-factor' and the NFL is a passing league now -- a lot of how a team performs hinges on quarterback play.

I think Sanchez is the key to a Jets win on Sunday as the Packers and DC Dom Capers are likely going to employ a lot of pressure schemes to try and rattle the young quarterback. He must get the football out of his hands quickly and make smart decisions in doing so.

There have been times in his young career though, that he has had "slow starts" in the first quarter and looked out of sync and rhythm. He says he used the bye week to study film from the rough first half he had in Denver and that he has learned from it. Let's hope he doesn't come out rusty, though.

The Packers will win if:

Sanchez comes out rusty with one of his patented slow starts in the first quarter and the Jets beat themselves with turnovers and penalties.

Jets cannot allow many "3rd and long" conversions tomorrow. Gang Green ranks No. 31 in allowing opponents to convert in "3rd and long situations," (allowing conversions 41% of the time). Aaron Rogers is a phenomenal player and the Jets cannot allow him to beat them with the big pass play. Packers like to spread the field with their group of young, speedy receivers (sans Driver) and Jets will need solid play out of guys like CB Drew Coleman and CB Kyle Wilson (when he's in) for some good depth in their secondary.

The Jets will win if:

They play their game: with plenty of balance on offense, using ball control to dominate the time of possession and wear down a banged-up Packers' defensive unit.

On defense, they need to stop RB Brandon Jackson and the weak rushing attack of the Packers and render Green Bay one-dimensional. The Packers O-Line is weak and the Jets need to generate a good pass rush to force Rodgers into making quick decisions with the football.

Prediction:

The Packers are a very good team, don't get me wrong. However, the cheeseheads have been unlucky this year in being hit by the injury bug, and the Jets are the healthiest they've been all season.

Packers have some serious injuries in the interior of their defensive line, which is why they gave up 196 yards rushing to Minnesota. This lack of depth was manifested in how quick they were to pick up Howard Green. Because of this, I like the Jets to "ground and pound" early and often, running to setup the play-action vertical pass. If the Jets can do this effectively and control the clock, I think they will wear Green Bay down, and by the fourth quarter the GB defensive unit will be gassed. 

As an aside, one can see a lot of similarities when comparing Jets defensive coordinator Mike Pettine's schemes to those of Dom Capers. A lot of pressure, a lot of well-timed blitzes coming from everywhere, and a lot of deceptiveness. However, on the other side of the ball, offensive coordinators Schottenheimer and Philbin's gameplans are antitheses of each other. The two are polar opposites in their schemes.

This is a tough spot for the Packers, and I think the Jets will capitalize.

Jets 27, Packers 20

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