The New York Jets come out of the bye at 3-1 with a favorable matchup at home against the 2-3 Washington Redskins. The Redskins lost a heartbreaker last week to the Atlanta Falcons, which ended in an overtime Kirk Cousins walk off pick 6. With shaky quarterback play, as John B detailed a few days ago, the Redskins will probably be bringing a very run-heavy attack. The Jets have only won twice against the Redskins (2-8 career record), with their most recent victory coming the last time these two teams met in December of 2011.
On that cold afternoon, the Jets employed a pretty balanced attack (32 pass attempts, 30 rush attempts), but found most of their success on the ground en route to a 34-19 win to push their record to 7-5. It was largely an uninspiring effort from the Jets for the first 45 minutes, gaining only 168 yards of offense through the first 3 quarters. Jeremy Kerley also fumbled away a punt in the 3rd quarter, the Jets' fourth straight game with a special teams turnover. Kerley was eventually replaced by sure-handed Jim Leonhard. Funny how that's Kerley's role almost exclusively now.
Mark Sanchez went 19-32 for 165 yards, including a 30-yard go ahead touchdown to Santonio Holmes. Even though Sanchez played a rare turnover-free 60 minutes, the player of the day was Shonn Greene, who ran for 88 yards and 3 touchdowns. The most important play was Aaron Maybin's 4th quarter strip sack of Rex Grossman to seal the victory for the Jets. Rex Ryan also won a pair of key challenges, one of which gave the Jets the ball after Roy Helu's fumble was ruled down by contact on the field.
The upcoming game on Sunday may have the same punt-heavy, grind-it-out type feel. As Bowles preaches, it's essential the Jets start fast. This is particularly true coming off extended rest. The Jets struggled mightily after the bye under Rex Ryan to the tune of a 1-5 record, including an embarrassing showing against the snowed in, misplaced Buffalo Bills last year in Detroit. An out of conference loss is obviously preferable to within conference, but it is essential the Jets keep pace with the Patriots who they face in Week 7.
What are the keys you are looking for on Sunday?