While football is a team sport, games are typically decided by a handful of matchups. With that in mind, every week I’ll be highlighting one matchup that I think will be extremely important in determining the outcome of the game.
For the week 3 game between the New York Jets and the in-division rival New England Patriots, one key matchup is that between offensive linemen Mekhi Becton and Alijah Vera-Tucker v. whoever the New England Patriots line up opposite them.
Why is this matchup so important?
Beyond the obvious concerns about the quality of the New York Jets offensive line, this week’s game is shaking up to be played in some of the worst weather of the year.
Something to watch: Tropical Cyclone 16 is expected to make landfall Sunday on the east coast.— uSTADIUM App (@uSTADIUM) September 21, 2023
• #Patriots vs #Jets
• #Bills vs #Commanders
• #Colts vs #Ravens
3 games that are in the direct impact zone. Storm is expected to bring 3-5 inches of rain with wind gusts up to 50… pic.twitter.com/BhpmtyWvZS
To state the obvious, throwing the football at any level, nonetheless the NFL, is very hard in 50 mile per hour winds. It’s also difficult to throw the ball in 3-5 inches of rain. For better or worse, this will be the case for both offenses, which is going to make the run game especially important for both teams.
For the Jets, they’re likely playing with either an injured Duane Brown or a typically ineffective Billy Turner at left tackle. While it’s possible that the run game could flourish on that side, I view it as extremely unlikely. As far as I’m concerned, the Jets best chance for success is to run behind right guard Alijah Vera-Tucker and right tackle Mekhi Becton. While this group hasn’t dominated to date, they are a very high potential duo as shown in the below rep where they both move their man significantly off the ball.
️ Run behind AVT/Becton/Ruckert pic.twitter.com/n5deXWpiEM— Michael Nania (@Michael_Nania) September 18, 2023
How can the Jets win this matchup?
There really isn’t much to scheme on this one. Simply put, Becton and AVT just need to win their reps and to do it often.
Beyond that, the Jets could opt to give them further assistance in the form of lining up tight end Jeremy Ruckert, who has had some initial success in the run game, on Becton’s right. Additionally, they may consider giving increased reps to running back Breece Hall who has significantly outperformed all other Jets running backs to date, but that may depend on the degree to which the Jets want to ease him into a full workload as he comes off an injury.
Who do you think wins this matchup?
This poll is closed
Becton and Vera-Tucker
Patriots’ front seven