Having a tough time thinking of a full article but have plenty of random thoughts going through my head, so I thought I might as well write them all down and post them in no particular order.
The Jets’ best defense on Sunday will be possession offense. Shonn Greene and LT need to keep the chains moving and take some precious time off the clock. This will keep Tom Brady off the field, meaning less of a chance for him to do damage.
Jerricho Cotchery and Dustin Keller need to play a crucial role in the Jets’ offense. The Patriots have a plethora of weapons on their offense and the Jets need to show that they have the same.
Although I hate it, if the Jets have a healthy Brad Smith, using him in the wildcat may prove to be extremely helpful on Sunday. Again, I hate how the Jets use the wildcat on most occasions, but if they can change things up a bit then it can be very useful. This may be one of the chances for Smith to throw. Someone always seems to be wide open when he attempts to throw and it’s just a matter of hitting the target. Also, they need to quit it with the straight handoffs out of the wildcat. I do not have an official stat for it, but the Jets cannot possibly be averaging more than 2 or 3 yards per carry on attempts like that. That will not get the job done. The option and bootlegs are the best bet.
Darrelle Revis will need to leave his island on Sunday. With all the weapons the Patriots have, keeping Revis on one receiver will not get the job done. Rex Ryan and Mike Pettine will need to guess who Brady’s primary target will be on a given play and stick Revis over there. I definitely see him splitting time on Welker, Branch, Hernandez, Gronkowski, and possibly Woodhead if necessary.
Where does this leave Antonio Cromartie? In this type of situation, he would be placed on the best receiver left. Cromartie’s best matchups may come against the Patriots’ talented rookie tight ends. He’s got the size and physicality to keep up with them and shut them down. Deion Branch and Brandon Tate are speed receivers and both tore Cromartie apart in the loss in Foxboro. Double coverage will be a big part of the Jets’ coverage on Sunday. Drew Coleman (if healthy), Marquice Cole, and Kyle Wilson will all see plenty of field time and will play many different roles. Sometimes they will blitz, sometimes they will play man, sometimes they will play zone. Whatever the situation, these guys will need to play the best games of their lives.
How dangerous is Danny Woodhead? He had more than 100 receiving yards against the Jets in their most recent matchup. One play that the Jets get torn apart for is one where it appeared the man covering Woodhead was DT Mike DeVito. When he’s in the backfield, things will need to change for the Jets’ coverage. Gang Green’s linebackers are too slow to keep up with Woodhead, and most running backs for that matter. We saw some excellent halfback coverage by safety Eric Smith last week against the Colts. He will need to play that same role on Sunday.
START FAST. The Jets must not fall behind early. We say it every week and they never seem to get it done, but if the Jets can get ahead early, this completely changes the pace of the game. In last year’s postseason, the Ravens scored on their first offensive play against the Patriots on an 83-yard run by Ray Rice. Their defense was also able to get pressure on Tom Brady and forced him to throw three interceptions and lose a fumble as well. The Jets will need to get some early pressure on Brady to set the tone for the game. They need to make him think they are blitzing when they are not, and that they are not blitzing when they are. Disguised coverage confused Peyton Manning last week and will be a huge part of the defensive game plan again this week.
HIT BRADY. Not only will this change the game, it’s always very fun to see him have his face pounded into the turf.
My last point will be about Mark Sanchez. He will NEED to keep his cool this weekend. He does not need to be great for the Jets to win this game, but he must not hurt the team in the process. Ball protection is the key to victory. If Sanchez can avoid the interceptions and can make the throws he needs to make, then he can leave it to the ground and pound to get the dirty work done as well as the defense. If Sanchez can have some sort of great outing, I have no doubt that this will lead the Jets to a victory like he did in Week 2.