Figured I’d put together a three keys to win and three things to watch for with the game less than 48 hours away now. Here it is;
3 Keys To Victory
1.) Attack, Attack, ATTACK THE QB.
The Jets went from having an average defensive line to an upper echelon group. Along with veterans Marcus Dixon, Mike DeVito and Sione Pouha, the trio of Muhammed Wilkerson, Quinton Coples and Kenrick Ellis have been living up to their hype and fulfilling their potential. There have been times this preseason where the young group has just wrecked havoc on opposing offensive lines. Additionally, Wilkerson, Ellis and Coples are consistently getting to the opposing QB. This is good as A.) we’ve had trouble doing this consistently over the past few seasons and B.) the youngsters have shown they can handle the load without the veterans (for the time being).
This all being said – last year LB Aaron Maybin had a field day against his former mates. With more help from the defensive line the Jets defense should make life a living hell for Ryan Fitzpatrick.
2.) Limit The Damage By The Buffalo Running Backs
If there’s one thing Buffalo has going for it, it’s a good run offense and the speed they have in the duo of Fred Jackson and CJ Spiller. Additionally, these two can catch out of the backfield. This may be a bit of an issue with our linebackers at times. Luckily we have safeties who can hopefully tackle *looks at the direction of Yeremiah Bell and Laron Landry.*
Jokes aside, there were times last year where lazy and slow linebacker player coupled with poor tackling by the safeties and linebackers alike allowed 5 yard dump pass plays to become 10+ yard gains. With the group of David Harris, Bart Scott, Bryan Thomas and Aaron Maybin that can’t happen. Fortunately, even with the loss of Brodney Pool and Jim Leonhard, the Jets secondary seems to have improved by adding Bell and Landry. With Bart Scott being revitalized and Landry laying bodies out over the field thus far, I feel pretty confident that those big plays we saw some teams break off against us last year are going to stay there. 5 yards means 5 yards.
3.) Mark Sanchez
This team will go as far as the Sanchize can take them. The NFL is no longer a team where you can win with an average QB. It’s time for Mark to step up and assert himself. And it starts September 9th, 2012 – Week 1 at the Meadowlands. This whole offseason hooplah would be draining on anyone – having your potential replacement come in and have all the attention on him, having some people question your spot as the face of the franchise/starting QB. Silence the critics Mark. Your time is now.
Frankly this is Sanchez’s year to do it; gone is the excuse of a poor offensive coordinator or offensive line problems. Both we’re addressed. Good QB’s find ways to make the players around them better. Time to get Dustin Keller and Santonio Holmes to elevate their games and get Stephen Hill off the ground and running. The weapons are there; Shonn Greene, Joe McKnight, Bilal Powell, Santonio Holmes, Stephen Hill and Dustin Keller are all more than capable NFL players. Utilize them to your strength and theirs and the offense will be fine. Don’t worry about Tebow; he’s not here to take your job (intentionally). His job is to help yours from time to time.
3 Things To Watch For
1.) The Wildcat
Ahhhh the Wildcat. The talk of the entire training camp. We’ll finally get to what Tony Sparano has cooked up for Tebow and the running backs. Ideally, I’d like to see the option/wildcat run with Tim and Joe McKnight because it’s what makes sense. They both have the skill to run this as Tebow calls and runs the play and McKnight is his option out.
2.) Stephen Hill
I haven’t been this hyped for a Jets offensive rookie for a long time (and no Sanchez doesn’t count as hype – was happy to have him but you know what to expect when you take a QB in the Top 5). Hill has the size and speed to contribute right away and from some of his highlights in preseason it looks like the transition from college to the NFL is going smoothly.
3.) Antonio Cromartie
Will Cromo get his wish and get to play some WR? Can he be as great as he was last year at corner? (2nd best corner in the NFL; 2nd only to some guy named Revis). Plenty to watch for with Cromartie – I’ll just watch to see if he can shut down the Bills WRs and be effective if he’s given punt returning or kick off duties.
SCORE PREDICTION: Jets 20 Bills 13
DT Sione Pouha and S Eric Smith have been ruled OUT for Sunday’s matchup. TE Dustin Keller, WR Stephen Hill and RB Joe McKnight all listed as questionable.