The Jets will host the Jacksonville Jaguars at Metlife Stadium this Sunday in their second game of the regular season. The Jets and the Jags have met eight times in the regular season; Jacksonville has won six of those games.
The Jets lost their last meeting in 2009, a rough 24-22 loss.
Quarterback Mark Sanchez is calling this week, their first game against an AFC opponent, a “must-win” saying, “We want to get a home playoff game. You can’t get a home playoff game if you keep dropping games at home. It just doesn’t work. This is huge for us.”
The Jets also know they can’t suffer a letdown after Sunday.
In Wednesday’s team meeting, Rex Ryan called out the offensive line, asking them to rise to the occasion. Ryan pointed out how poorly the line played in Sunday’s opener and brought up memories of the Jets ugly loss to the Jaguars in 2009, which was due in large part to the team’s inability to rush (among other reasons).
Just last week, the line allowed four sacks and 12 hits to Sanchez.
Speaking of, the New York media is blowing up the story about Mark Sanchez taking a concussion test following Sunday’s game. Honestly, people? I can’t believe we are still talking about Mark Sanchez’s not existent concussion. It was a precaution. He is fine. He 100% passed the test, and he was medically cleared. It’s a non-issue.
That being said, the have got to protect him. So before we (myself included) continue on our weekly diatribe about how Sanchezneeds to improve, how about we also ask the offensive line to keep him upright and give him the opportunity?
Here is a closer look at the match-up:
- The offense has to get off to a better start. Rex Ryan, along with just about ever other member of the team, admits the team started slow last week. They speak the truth: The Jets have yet to score a TD in the 1st quarter in their last 16 games (per ESPN).
- Rex Ryan has said he would to run a more balanced offense than last week. The Jets threw a lot versus the Cowboys’ depleted secondary and it will be tempting to do the same this week, as the Jags are currently ranked 17th vs. the pass.
- Mark Sanchez wasn’t awful last week, but he could benefit from a solid performance to shut every one up. This is another excellent opportunity for him.
- Expect to see more of the running game. I’m not sure how successful it will be, considering we haven’t seen it yet this year and the Jags are currently the #2 ranked run defense in the league. I have a sneaking suspicion this will not be the last week I ask to see more from Shonn Greene.
- LT lead the team in receptions last week. He looked fresh and healthy. I imagine he will continue to play a big role but I don’t think they can run him out there as the workhorse.
- The passing game will be the star of this match-up because like it or not, I don’t see the Jets running the ball with the kind of success they are hoping for. Santonio Holmes is currently listed as questionable. Plan to see a lot of Plaxico Burress, regardless of Holmes’ status on Sunday.
- The offensive line has got to do a better job with protecting the Qb and blocking for runners.
- The Jaguars best defense against this team is to shut down the run. They allowed only 24 rushing yards last week to Chris Johnson and they will try to limit Shonn Greene in this game.
- CB Derek Cox is out again this week, as is DE Aaron Kampman. The Jets passing attack will benefit.
- The Jaguars linebackers and Dawan Landry will try keep this defense in the game. The Jags front seven in much better than people are giving them credit for.
- The Jets had four sacks vs. Dallas on Sunday, and I have no doubt they will get to McCown. The Jets will pressure him all day long.
- Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie will cover the receivers and I have no doubt Revis will render Mike Thomas, the superior of the two wide-outs, literally non-existent. Under normal circumstances, I would point to TE Marcedes Lewis in the middle of the field as the one match-up problem for the pass defense, but Lewis is injured (more of him in a minute). There is still TE Zach Miller, however, and I see him capable of doing the same thing.
- I imagine the Jags ultimately become a one-dimensional run-first offense this week. The Jets run defense did not perform well vs. the Jags the last time they played. Maurice Jones-Drew is one of the elite running backs in the NFL and he will be relied upon heavily in this game. The Jets cannot allow this to happen.
- Bottom line: The Jags do not fear the Jets front seven in the way they fear the secondary. Bart Scott and co. need a repeat from last week.
- This is the second game for newly named starting QB Luke McCown. It’s going to be tough for him against this defense. The offensive line will need to protect McCown much better than they did last week (they allowed 2 sacks; Jets had 4 vs. the Cowboys.).
- Jags RB Maurice Jones-Drew is fired up and ready to lead the charge for this game. The Jags are 8-1 in games when MJD rushes for 90-plus yards and the Jets have had some trouble stopping the run in years past. MJD holds the keys for the Jags win. If he has a good game, they have a chance to hang in there.
- TE Marcedes Lewis (strained calf) is listed as questionable for this game. He returned to practice today and the Jags are hoping he plays. Lewis is not only one of their best receivers, but he very will might have been their only receiver, as Revis and Cromartie will take away WRs Mike Thomas and Jason Hill. If Lewis is in the game, you can expect a lot of check downs to the middle of the field. If not, put in the books that he will look for Zach Miller.
- Speaking of Jason Hill, the WR appeared on Thursday’s injury report (hip) and hasn’t practiced all week. That hasn’t kept him has talking about how “overrated” Darrelle Revis is all week. Not smart, Jason. Not smart.
- Jets Special Teams showed up big on Sunday. A blocked punt return and a 50-yard FG came through in the clutch. Let’s hope they can continue to make these big plays when needed. Actually, let’s just hope we don’t have a need for that.
- The Jaguars have Deji Karim, who has the potential for a big-time return. The Jets have to contain him.
- David Harris (toe) sat out practice on Wednesday and was limited on Thursday. He is expected to play.
- Santonio Holmes (knee and quad), Eric Smith (ankle) are listed as questionable for Sunday. Holmes and Smith were limited but did practice today. I would imagine both play on Sunday but stay tuned.
- WR Logan Payne is listed as OUT for Sunday.
- NT Kenrick Ellis is a game-time decision.
Tags: Jacksonville Jaguars, mark sanchez, Maurice Jones-Drew, New York Jets, NFL, Santonio Holmes