It may only be week 4, but this is a huge game for us. We have a lot to prove to the football world, and to ourselves. We got punched in the mouth in Oakland, and we can't let that happen again. This is a new game, and a new test. There is a chip on the shoulder of every Jet going into Sunday, and I love it. I have been waiting for this game to get here as soon as I saw Mark's knee down on that dive for the end zone.
This week, our o-line is facing a bigger threat that weeks 1 and 3 combined. The Ravens have 4 of the best players at their respective positions. 3 of them are in their front 7. Suggs is just as dangerous as Ware was for the Cowboys. Ngata and Ray Lewis are bigger threats up the middle than Richard Seymour and Tommy Kelly. Our o-line is in for the battle of their lives. I would be a lot more confident with this matchup, if we had a healthy Nick Mangold to help in the middle. Winning this battle, especially when it comes to pass blocking, is key to this game.
I am already going to assume that we won't be running the ball very well against the Ravens. I'm predicting a lot of 1 or 2 yard runs by Greene. Our main avenue of of offense will be through the air. Sanchez needs to be able to get more time in the pocket than he did in the second half of the Raider game. The Ravens secondary is nothing special outside of Ed Reed. They are much like the Giants in that they rely on their pass rush to improve their secondary. If we can give Sanchez the time, he should be able to eat the Ravens up with our many weapons. The last time we played the Ravens, they were able to keep us without a TD in our Stadium/home opener last year. Our offense must want a little revenge for that.
On defense, we are going to face a lot of the the same problems we saw in Oakland. Ray Rice is a smaller version of McFadden. He won't run through tackles like Daren, but he uses his size to his advantage. He is so small, that he can hide behind his line, and shoot through a hole, before our d-line can even see him. He has the speed to get around the edge, just like McFadden. This is our biggest weakness against the run. We need to find a way to seal the edges, or we might be in for another long day of long runs. Rice is also a big receiving threat coming out of the backfield. The Ravens love to squirt him out, and get him the ball. He is way too fast for any LB to cover him. Ray Rice is public enemy number 1. We focus on ruining his day, before anyone else.
The receiving core for the Ravens, is a little different than the Raider's. The Ravens have that established number 1 WR in Boldin. As far as I'm concerned, he won't even be playing with Revis on him. This leaves Lee Evens, and Torre Smith. Lee might not even be playing. If he is a no go, look for them to go to their rookie speedster a lot. We need Cro back for this. The Jets listened to me last week, when I said Cro matched up better against Moore because of his speed. You might be saying "look how that worked out for us." The truth of the matter is, There was only 1 or 2 real holds Cro had. 1 of the calls, he didn't even touch the guy. The 1st, was just a case of him being dumb, and holding him, when he had very good position on the receiver. Cro needs to learn how to use his hands the right way, and realize when he doesn't need to hold. If Cro can't go on Sunday, we will need to have Smith in double coverage all day. That would be 1 less guy to pay attention to Rice or their TE.
Other than Smith and Rice, the only other weapons they have are their TEs. Dickerson has come out on top of the TE battle as their number 1 TE. Pitta is more of a Jeff Cumberland kind of guy. It is by no means the duel threat that New England has. We need to take out these threats in this order: 1. Rice, 2. Smith, and 3. Dickerson. If we can achieve that, we can win the battle on defense.
I find that the Jets play better when there is a chip on their shoulder. When there is something to prove, the Jets go out on all cylinders. They play with more of a passion, and emotion. Not only is this a game to prove ourselves, but it's also a revenge game. They came into our new home, and took the batteries out of our remote. It's time for us to return the favor.