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Jets-Lions Preview: Gang Green Looks To Return To Winning Ways In Ford Field

The (5-2) Jets take on the (2-5) Detroit Lions in Ford Field on Nov. 7, 2010. The game will be televised on CBS.

Some are calling this an easy win for the Jets. However, we told you yesterday that wasn't the case. These are not the Lions of 2009.

Jets have won last three matchups between the two teams, and are also 3-0 on the road thus far this season

Statline: Lions have 17 takeaways and 23 sacks this season - they are a defense that thrives off the big play.

Be Careful With The blitz

The Lions have two weapons which are perfect counters to any blitz:

  • WR Calvin Johnson - an athletic freak-of-nature, the 6'5" Johnson is the perfect ‘safety valve' for any quarterback. If the Jets blitz out of the secondary too often, which Mike Pettine does love to do, Johnson could find himself in man coverage without safety help and could make the Jets pay with a big play and a lot of yards after the catch.
    There is a reason "Megatron" has pulled in eight touchdowns as well as being involved in seven plays of 20+ yards this season.
  •  RB Jahvid Best - A speedy scatback who the Lions love to target with screen passes out of the backfield. As we've discussed, Best is actually second in receptions on the team (36). Best is a great open-field runner, and Jets must put a LB (Harris) or safety (Leonhard) to spy on him and make sure he doesn't have room to run in front of him.

Keep It Simple, Schotty.

There have been two games in which OC Brian Schottenheimer's gameplan has been focused on individual matchups, rather than simple, "bread and butter," football. Said games were against Baltimore and Green Bay, and coincidently, the Jets lost both of those games.

Last week, the Jets knew they had a favorable matchup in Jerricho Cotchery Vs. Packers' nickel back. The result: 13 targets for Cotchery, which were about as many targets as Holmes, Keller and Edwards saw  combined. We don't care who was matched up against who -- that's a problem. When you have as many offensive weapons as the Jets have, you need to spread it around, rather than focusing on one particular matchup.

We would like to see the Jets revert back to some good, old-fashioned, "smash mouth" football. (See next point for more.)

Run The Football. A lot.

The Jets need to employ a run-heavy offense on Sunday against the team that ranks No. 27 against the run and is giving up 130.4 yard per game. Jets need to run to setup the pass against the Lions, as their passing game was out of sync last week against Green Bay.

As previously stated QB Mark Sanchez threw the ball 38 times last week, yet Jets rushed only 29 times.  

Jets need to use their running game to utilize ball control on Sunday, and they'll do that by giving RB Shonn Greene more than six touches (his number of carries last week).

Bottom Line:

Jets are coming off one of their worst offensive outputs of the decade versus Green Bay last week, and to get back into a rhythm on offense they'll need to keep it simple. The No. 3 rushing offense in the NFL (153.4 yards per game) needs to put the ball on the ground and look to their power running game to set the tone.

On defense, Jets must do a good job of bringing and disguising coverage to keep QB Matt Stafford guessing, at the same time defending against the big play.

QB Mark Sanchez must make smart decisions with the football, because the Lions will be bringing a lot of pressure from their defensive front. The offensive line must have a better game than last week, in pass protection, giving Sanchez ample time and a good window to deliver the football through. Furthermore, they must be strong in run-blocking to allow the Jets to return what they're best at to control the game.

The Jets are the more talented team, but the Lions are playing slightly better football. I like the Jets to bounceback this week and win a close one in what will be an all-out battle on Sunday.

Jets 23, Lions 21