Week one is in the books, with the Jets failing to open their new $1.6B stadium with a victory.
Jets found themselves in a winnable game thanks to a great effort by the defense, but couldn’t convert in the red zone and lost a close one.
This week, they move on to their first divisional game of the season, against their rivals from New England. It’s a little early in the season to be talking about "must-win" games, but Jets must be careful not to start out 0-2 with two divisional road games on deck.
Let’s break this one down.
What has to be improve --- (Stronger play on third downs, on both side of the ball.)
Last week’s third down conversions by each QB:
- Flacco 9/14, 137 yards – 9 1st downs ------- Baltimore 11/19 on 3rd downs
- Sanchez 1/6, 9 yards --- 1 1st down -------- Jets 1/11 on 3rd downs
Jets were phenomenal against the run on first and second downs on Monday night, holding RB Ray Rice to just 43 yards on 21 carries. Ravens found themselves in many "third and long" situations.
However, if you live by the blitz, you can also die by it too. The Jets brought pressure on almost every third down, many times bringing ‘overload’ blitzes on one side which left man coverage in the secondary. Unfortunately, Joe Flacco made some nice throws under pressure, and Jets gave up a lot of conversions as a result.
Look for DC Mike Pettine to mix it up more by adding in more zone coverage schemes, and scaling back the blitzing a bit. The Jets did a great job of this in the matchup at home against NE last year, as it disrupted QB Tom Brady’s timing and take him out of any rhythm.
What I’d personally like to see tomorrow…..
MORE OF- Zone coverage schemes
LESS OF - Exotic blitzes on third down/overload blitzes
What you WILL likely see….
MORE OF – Sanchez airing it out down the field, more vertical routes to test NE’s secondary.
LESS OF – Pre-snap shifts and motion.
Matchup to Watch (Defense):
CB Kyle Wilson on WR Wes Welker
Wes Welker has been a Jets’ killer in recent years. The last three times he has faced the Jets, he has caught 29 balls for 372 yards! That’s an average of 12.8 YPC!
You have to play matchups, which is why we will seldom see CB Antonio Cromartie covering Welker. Jets will look to matchup speed vs. speed, which is why we can expect rookie CB Kyle Wilson to attempt to contain him in some zone coverage schemes. He will have some help underneath from LB/FS who will roll coverage over to him when necessary. Wilson loves to play physical, and he must jam Welker at the line of scrimmage in order to disrupt the timing on routes between him and Brady. Welker loves the bubble screens, which plays into his strength as he is great after the catch.
The Jets must utilize bracket coverage, which will allow either ILB David Harris, ILB Bart Scott, or FS Eric Smith to put a body on Welker as soon as he catches the ball underneath. They cannot allow him to accumulate yards after catch, which is when he’s most dangerous.
Matchup to Watch (Offense):
WR Braylon Edwards Vs. CB Darius Butler
Butler started five games as a rookie in 2009. While he may not have great size, he displays great coverage skills because of his tremendous athleticism. That is why he will likely be matched up against Edwards. However, he has struggled in playing receivers physical/pressing at the line of scrimmage.
Jets will need to do what they didn’t do last week, throw the ball high in the air and let Edwards go up and make a play on it. The 6’3" Edwards will be matched up against the 5’10" Butler, which means Sanchez doesn’t have to utilize pinpoint accuracy, just put some touch on the ball in throwing some "jump balls" in Edwards’ direction.
Jets will need to control the clock and utilize good ball control on offense to win this game. I believe the team that wins time of possession tomorrow, will win. Patriots have a veteran defensive front and are young at CB, we need to exploit this by keeping them on the field.
I look for a different team on offense. OC Brian Schottenheimer will go back to the basics and quit with the pre-snap shifts and motion. QB Mark Sanchez will take more chances down the field, and WR David Clowney will stretch the field with his vertical speed to help open things up a bit.
On defense, I look for Pettine to throw many different looks at QB Tom Brady, and coupled with a lot of press coverage from our cornerbacks, I think we can disrupt the timing of their passing game.
If you start 0-2 and are looking to make the playoffs, you put yourselves in a big hole. Only 7 out of 69 NFL teams have done it since 2000.
Jets won't have to worry about that trend, because they will grind it out and win tomorrow in a close one.
Jets 17, Cheats 16