There are a lot of similarities between the Jets and the Panthers. One of them is both teams have talented quarterbacks capable of taking over a game or losing it by constantly throwing it to the opposition. It's been more of the latter this year for Carolina. Jake Delhomme has only 8 touchdown passes against 14 interceptions on top of his all time horrific Playoff start last year against the Cardinals. His passer rating right now stands at 66.
Steve Smith will draw Darrelle Revis. Smith is one of the top deep threats in the game and owns great speed. He leads the Panthers with 45 receptions, 599 yards, and 4 touchdowns. With Donald Strickland and Dwight Lowery out, Lito Sheppard will rejoin the starting lineup. He'll spend much of his day covering Muhsin Muhammad. This seems like a decent matchup for Lito. Muhammad is not a deep threat. He does a lot of his work underneath, runs good routes, and battles. I like the matchup between the starters.
The Panthers are a better running team than passing team, but there are some areas they can try to exploit the Jets if they are willing to open up their playbook a bit. Then again, that requires putting it into Delhomme's hands instead of their excellent running backs. In any event, Drew Coleman will be the nickel. Coleman is coming off one of worst performances in NFL history against Wes Welker (and that is not hyperbole). In four years, Drew hasn't really developed any cover skills or shown he should be on the field in anything other than extreme passing subpackages. Carolina's third receiver, Jersey product Dwayne Jarrett, has only 10 receptions on the year, but the Panthers could look to exploit this matchup. We could also see them target tight ends Jeff King and Dante Rosario, who split time. They have combined for 31 catches.
The key will be bringing pressure and forcing Delhomme to make decisions quicker than he wants. This is how opponents approch New York's mistake prone quarterback. It's how the Jets should go after Carolina's. The Panthers are playing without Pro Bowl tackle Jordan Gross, who is on IR with an injured ankle. Travelle Wharton will start in his place. He had some struggles against the Dolphins last week. The overload blitzes this week could go primarily to his side.