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Tag:Thomas
Posted on: October 1, 2009 4:06 pm
 

Jets v. Saints: Week 4 (Big "O" v. Big "D")

So what's more important, a good defense or a good offense?  That's the question that will be answered this Sunday when the New York Jets bring their revamped defense down to the Big Easy to take on the high powered offense of the New Orleans Saints. Everyone says that defense wins championships, but the Saints are trying to prove that a very good offense can get you to a championship.  Both units will be put to the test on Sunday. 

New York's defensive unit will face its biggest test of the 2009 season so far, going up against QB Drew Brees and the Saints offense.  Brees has been off the charts over the past two seasons.  In 2008, Brees threw for 5069 yards and 34 touchdowns.  So far, three weeks into this season, he has 841 yards and 9 touchdowns.  Brees' career has really taken off in New Orleans and the Saints have all the tools around him to make a successful run at the playoffs in 2009.

Brees' number one target in the passing game is WR Marques Colston.  So far this season he only has 195 yards receiving through three games, but he has 15 receptions with 3 of them going for touchdowns.  He will be matched up with Jets Pro Bowl CB Darrelle Revis.  All Revis has been able to do this season has been shutting down Andre Johnson, Randy Moss and Justin Gage in successive weeks.  The key for Revis will be keeping Colston out of the end zone.   

The Jets are hurting a little in the secondary with Lito Sheppard and Donald Strickland still nursing injuries and are questionable for Sunday.  Revis and S Kerry Rhodes are also a little banged up, but they will be in the lineup on Sunday.  The Jets have to do their best to take away the receivers and make the Saints beat them in other ways. 

That's where the defensive line comes in.  Last week against in Buffalo, the Bills held Brees to only 172 yards passing.  The flip side to that was that the Saints ran the ball for 222 yards and 3 touchdowns.  The Jets run defense is ranked 9th in the NFL giving up 82 yards per game on the ground.  If the secondary is able to keep the receivers quiet, then the defensive line will have their hands full with RB's Pierre Thomas and Reggie Bush. 

The front seven of the Jets defense will need to keep pressure on Drew Brees and the running backs.  It will be tough but I'm sure Rex Ryan has a good game plan in place.  

One player that could end up having a good game is Saints TE Jeremy Shockey.  So far this season, he been able to haul in 14 catches in the first three games.  The Jets gave up some yards last week to Titans TE Alge Crumpler, so Shockey could be a huge factor in this game.  Expect the Saints to use short passes to Shockey and quick screens to Bush to help them control the clock. 

On the other side of the ball is the Jets offense led by rookie QB Mark Sanchez.  Sanchez is having a good year by rookie standards so far with 606 yards and 4 touchdowns.  He has only thrown two interceptions through three games, but does have 4 fumbles.  Sanchez, the NFL's offensive rookie of the month in September, has been working on protecting the ball better in the pocket.  As expected, he has made a few mistakes this season, but not when it counts.  He has been very solid during the important moments of the games so far.   

The Saints secondary is ranked 22nd in the NFL against the pass, giving up 245 yards per game through the air.  Sanchez will have to try to expose this so he can open things up for the running game.  He does have the luxury of passing to WR Jerricho Cotchery, who is currently 3rd in the NFL with 285 yards.  Throw in TE Dustin Keller and WR Chansi Stuckey with Sanchez' pocket presence and the Jets should be successful through the air on Sunday. 

A main key for New York is to get the ground game going to control the game clock.  Last week against the Titans, RB Thomas Jones was only able to get 20 yards on 14 carries.  The Saints running defense is currently ranked 5th in the league, giving up 67 yards on the ground per game.  Jones and Leon Washington got plenty of carries last week but could not get the yards against Tennessee.  New Orleans defense has really improved since last season and may have a good day against the Jets running backs.   

They key on offense this week for Gang Green is try to establish the running game against the Saints.  If they can do this, then the passing lanes will open up even more on a poor Saints secondary.  They have to establish the run and keep Drew Brees and Co. off the field.  The key on defense is to keep the pressure on Brees.  Get him confused and try to force him into a mistake.  But do not over do it on the blitz or he will burn you.  The Saints offense is too talented and will find ways to score.   

I have confidence that the Jets can win this game.  As long as they can keep the Saints offense some what in check, then I believe their offense can do enough to win.  But they are going to have to put some points on the board.  Jets head down south and take it 28-24. 

Posted on: September 9, 2009 2:58 pm
Edited on: September 10, 2009 12:10 am
 

Jets v. Texans: Week 1 (The Sanchez Era Begins)

So here we go again.  The 2009 New York Jets season is about to start and a lot has changed since the end of last season.  The Jets will take the field at Reliant Stadium on Sunday to take on the Houston Texans.  They will be led by new head coach Rex Ryan, who brings his defensive mind to New York from Baltimore.  The Jets will be looking to bounce back from a disappointing end to the 2008 season and it all starts Sunday in Houston.

Rookie quarterback Mark Sanchez will at the helm for the Jets offense on Sunday.  Sanchez beat out Kellen Clemens for the starting job in the pre-season.  Sanchez will be starting with some lofty expectations from the Jets fans.  Since New York moved up in the draft to get him, he will be counted on to try to get this team in the playoffs.  It wont come easy though.  The Texans have one of the NFL's best pass rushers in Mario Williams.  Williams did have 12 sacks in 2008.  He will be going up against a very solid Jets offensive line.  This unit will be entering it's second season together after a strong 2008 campaign.  It will be up to them to keep Sanchez upright this season.

The Jets also return a strong running game this season with Thomas Jones and Leon Washington.  Jones led the AFC in rushing last season with 1312 yards.  He also had a personal best 15 touchdowns as well.  He will be up against a Houston defense that ranked 31st against the run in 2008.  And with the way the offensive line blocked for him last season, we should expect the Jets to have a good game on the ground on Sunday.  Mr. Everything, Leon Washington, should also have a good overall game as well.  If the Jets are smart, they will find a way to get Leon the ball 10-15 times on offense.  Whenever he touches the ball he seems to make something happen.  Ryan has said since he was hired that Leon needs to get the ball more.  So lets start off on the right foot on Sunday and get Leon some touches.

One problem the Jets will run into on offense is the passing game.  They only have one proven wide receiver and that is Jerricho Cotchery.  And the problem with that is that Cotchery does not seem to be a number one receiver, he is a very solid number two though.  This puts Chansi Stuckey as the number two receiver this season.  Stuckey had a couple of big catches last season as he became a favorite target of Brett Favre for a few games, but in no way does that make him a proven receiver.  The Jets round out the receiving corps with Brad Smith and David Clowney.  Smith, a converted quarterback, is someone who the Jets are high on and will be counted on to come up big as the slot receiver.  Clowney brings plenty of speed with him.  He had a very good pre-season for the second straight year.  However, he was hurt for a big part of last season and does not have that much experience behind him.

A man who could become one of Mark Sanchez favorite targets is second year tight end Dustin Keller.  Keller started out slow last season but really emerged as a very solid option in the passing game for the Jets.  He proved that he can handle pressure situations last November in Foxboro against the Patriots, catching a few key passes in overtime to help the Jets to the win in New England.  This season Keller will be counted on to be a relible option for Sanchez.

New York's run defense returns with a few new pieces in 2009.  Free agent Bart Scott joins David Harris, Calvin Pace and Bryan Thomas to form one of the strongest linebacking core's in the NFL.  Scott, a key in the Ravens defense for the past few years will be looked upon to help lead the Jets to one of the best run defenses in the league.  The run defense will be led by Kris Jenkins and Shaun Ellis.  The Jets had one of the best run defenses in the league last season until the beginning of December when they started to wear down.  The will have a tall order in week one against second year running back Steve Slaton.  Slaton is coming off a rookie year in which he ran for 1282 yards and 9 touchdowns.  Jenkins and Scott will need to shut down Slaton and make Matt Schaub beat them through the air.

Which brings us to the Jets achilles heal from last year, the Secondary.  Last season the Jets secondary surrendered 234 yards per game, good for 29th in the league.  To address this issue, New York brought in cornerback Lito Sheppard and safety Jim Leonhard to join pro-bowl corner Darrelle Revis and safety Kerry Rhodes.  These upgrades should bring the secondary back to respectability.  They will be tested on Sunday against the Texans' Andre Johnson.  Johnson is coming off a season where he had 1575 receiving yards and 8 touchdowns.  He will be matched up with shut-down corner Revis while Sheppard will be on Kevin Walter, who had a good season himself in 2008 with 899 yards and 8 touchdowns.

The few keys for the Jets this week will be to: A) protect Mark Sanchez.  The offensive line needs to try to keep the pressure off the kid so he can make some plays.  B) Establish the running game.  Jones should put up good numbers against a weak Texans run defense.  C) Get Leon Washington the ball more than 10 times.  The more he gets the ball, the more plays he is able to make.  This is a key for the whole season.  D) Get pressure on Matt Schaub.  Get the pressure on him and let the revamped secondary make some plays.  With Ryan's new attack style defense, the secondary should be able to make some key plays. 

The 2009 season is about to begin and the Jets are an enigma.  The have a very good defense on paper and have a very good running game.  The question this season is how fast Mark Sanchez will develop.  If he can settle in and have a season like Joe Flacco and Matt Ryan did in 2008, then the Jets will be in good shape.  If not, it may be another long season for Gang Green.  But for this week, the Jets will rely on the running game and should come out of Houston with a win to start the season.  I see the Jets winning 21-17.  Sanchez just needs to manage the game and let the running game and the defense do the rest.

Posted on: July 31, 2009 2:04 pm
Edited on: July 31, 2009 5:24 pm
 

Jets 2009 Training Camp Preview

So camp is finally open for the New York Jets.  "Another" new season of hope for Gang Green.  The Jets enter camp like most other teams in the NFL, with question marks.  A lot has happened for the Jets since the disappointing loss to the Dolphins to end the 2008 season.

The Jets did some house cleaning since January.  Out is head coach Eric Mangini, QB Brett Favre, WR Laveranues Coles, TE Chris Baker and CB Ty Law.  Mangini was let go right after the season ended.  The Jets had to make the move.  They were at one point 8-3 and leading the AFC East.  Only to lose four of the final five games to finish 9-7 and miss the playoffs.  When that happens, its on the coach as well as the players. 

Exit Mangini, enter Rex Ryan.  Ryan is a defensive minded coach from the Baltimore Ravens.  For the past 9 years or so, the Ravens defense has always been one of the best in the NFL.  Ryan was a big part of that.  He will be looked upon to get the Jets defense to one of the tops in the league.  His main focus should be on an average Jets secondary.  As good as the Jets defensive line was last season; their secondary was the complete opposite.  With the exception of Pro Bowl cornerback Darrelle Revis, the rest of the secondary was horrible.

Exit Ty Law, enter Jim Leonhard and Lito Sheppard.  Ryan brought in Leonhard, the hard hitting safety from the Ravens, to help bolster the team up the middle.  He was a solid backup for Baltimore playing behind Ed Reed.  He should be able to shine for the Jets with Kerry Rhodes in the secondary.  Lito Sheppard was brought in via trade with the Eagles.  Sheppard only started only 3 games last season for Philadelphia with Asante Samuel and Sheldon Brown playing so well for the Eagles.  Sheppard the former two-time Pro Bowler will be a nice compliment to Revis on the other side of the field.

New York's crown jewel of free agency is LB Bart Scott.  Scott was signed away from the Ravens as well this off-season.  He will be relied on to shore up an already strong Jets run defense.  A unit, which showed signs of wear and tear over the final month of the season.  Scott along with David Harris, Calvin Pace (suspended for the first 4 games) and Bryan Thomas give the Jets one of the best line-backing cores in the NFL in the 2009 season. 

With Pace suspended for the first four games of the season, the Jets will be leaning on last years first round pick Vernon Gholston to pick up the slack.  Gholston, who was force in the 4-3 defense that Ohio State ran, never really adapted to the Jets 3-4 defense last season.  Ryan is looking forward to working with Gholston and is confident he can get him back on track and get a return on the investment for the Jets.

With Brett Favre opting for retirement form the second time in two seasons, the Jets decided to make some moves at this years NFL draft.  The traded up with the Cleveland Browns to land the number five pick in the draft.  They drafted USC QB Mark Sanchez.  Sanchez will hopefully be the Jets long term solution for the quarterback position.  Whether or not he will be ready to start the season as the Jets number one QB remains to be seen. 

Rex Ryan has stated that QB Kellen Clemens will be the #1 quarterback on the depth chart heading into training camp, but there will be an "open competition", which gives Sanchez every opportunity to win the job.  2009 will be Clemens fourth season with the Jets and fourth year working with Offensive Coordinator Brian Schottenheimer.  Clemens definitely has a better understanding of the Jets playbook and should be listed as the number one QB for now.

Another question mark for Gang Green is their running backs.  Thomas Jones, who ran for 1,300 yards and 13 TD's last season, wants a new contract.  Leon Washington, who ran for 450 yards and 6 TD's last season, also wants a new contract.  Jones had an excellent season in 2008 after a disappointing 2007 season.  The Jets have said that they have no plans on restructuring Jones existing contract.  Will that affect Jones this season?  We will have to wait and see. 

Washington is in a different situation.  He is currently playing in the final year of his rookie contract and wants a big raise.  The Jets need to get him locked up for the long term.  Leon is the Jets "X" factor.  He does so much for the team between rushing, receiving, punt and kickoff returns.  He truly is irreplaceable for the Jets.

One of the Jets main concerns at this point is at wide receiver.  Right now, their only proven WR is Jerricho Cotchery.  Cotchery should not be considered a number one receiver either.  He is a very solid number two or a 1-A receiver.  The Jets now look at him as the number one with Chansi Stuckey, David Clowney and Brad Smith behind him. 

Stuckey had a few big catches last season and will be relied upon this season to fill the spot left open by Coles opposite Cotchery.  David Clowney was not activated until late in the season so he is not proven.  Although he is very fast, he has not made any impact as of yet.

As you can see, the Jets head up to Cortland with quite a few question marks for this season.  The way the team is constructed right now, they could be either an 5-11 team or an 10-6 team.  The defense will be strong with plenty of young veterans out there.  The offense will have its work cut out for them over the next six weeks.  Only time will tell where the Jets will end up this season, but this is just the start.
Posted on: December 29, 2008 3:06 pm
 

Jets v. Dolphins: Recap (The Ironic End)

Miami Dolphins 24.  New York Jets 17.  So how ironic was that ending?  Former Jets quarterback Chad Pennington comes into town and puts the final nail in the coffin of the Jets 2008 season.  Kind of fitting don't you think?  You know Chad would not have wanted it any other way.  It's amazing what can happen in a month's time in the NFL.  On Thanksgiving, the Jets stood at 8-3 and were in the top 2 or 3 of everyone's power rankings.  You were hearing talk all around New York of a Jets v. Giants Super Bowl.  Well at least the Giants are still on track to be playing on February 1st. 

So Brett Favre played on Sunday just like he has all season.  He threw for 233 yards with one touchdown and three interceptions.  Favre worked with what the defense gave him, which was not much.  Miami was solid on "D" like they have been all season and kept Favre under control every time he dropped back.  The offensive line kept Favre on his feet for the day, not allowing him to be sacked on the afternoon.  But either way you look at it, Favre was outplayed by Pennington this season in almost every category, and Sunday was no different.  Laveranues Coles had the best day among Jets receivers.  He had four receptions for 88 yards and a touchdown.  Dustin Keller was again a no-show with two receptions for 24 yards.  Jerricho Cotchery also saw limited action on Sunday with two catches for 41 yards.  Leon Washington led the team in receptions with six but for only 29 yards.  Not many stats jumped out at you from the passing game, and that is just sad against the 25th ranked pass defense in the league.

New York's running game was also non-existent on Sunday.  Thomas Jones, who came into the game as the AFC's leading rusher, was held to 23 yards on only 10 carries.  The man has been the team's workhorse all season, so explain to me how he only gets 10 carries.  Washington also had 10 carries in the game, but he was able to get 60 yards on those carries.  All Jets fans have been saying that he needs to get more touches per game and on Sunday he finally did.  On the Day, Leon ended up with 16 touches on offense for a total of 89 yards and a touchdown.  The running game, which had been a strong point of the team during the middle of the season, just kept declining at the end of the season.  This is one of the reasons the Jets lost 4 of those 5 games.  You need to have a solid running game to win in the NFL.  They had that earlier in the season, but they let it get away from them in December.

The Jets run defense had another poor performance on Sunday, their 4th in the last 5 games.  They did not allow one player to gain over 100 yards, but on the day, the surrendered 126 yards on the ground to the Dolphins.  Ronnie Brown led the team with 57 yards rushing on 11 carries.  His teammate Ricky Williams ended up with 50 yards on 10 carries.  The Jets defensive line just looked confused all day and did not know who to defend.  Bryan Thomas registered the Jets only sack of the day, his first in 11 games, and that was basically the only pressure they got on Pennington all day.  In the beginning of the season, the Jets pass rush was strong, being among the league leaders in sacks all the way into November.  Over the Past 6-7 weeks, the pass rush has really slowed down. 

The pass defense was nothing spectacular on Sunday either.  They allowed Pennington to pass for 200 yards while completing 22 of his 30 passes.  Chad did what he usually does, and that is short passes for first downs.  And here is a usual Pennington stat, two touchdowns and zero interceptions.  That is what Chad does best, he may not be flashy, but he knows how to win.  Ted Ginn, Jr. was the Dolphins leading receiver with 71 yards.  He had only two receptions, but one was for 44 yards and the other was for a touchdown.  As usual the Jets had to deal with a good tight end in Anthony Fasano.  He registered three catches for 39 yards and a 20 yard touchdown.  All season the Jets had problems covering the TE, and Sunday was no different.  The pass defense is something that needs to be addressed in the offseason in a major way, they were toward the bottom of the league all season.

The Jets looked lost all day on both sides of the ball.  They had a hard time stopping the Dolphins when they were in their wildcat formation and let Pennington have his way the whole game.  To me it came as no surprise with what Chad did in this game.  He played with a chip on his shoulder all season and capped it off by beating the Jets, winning the division for the Dolphins.  The Jets flaws were all exposed over the past month of the season and their offensive could not cover it up like it did during their five game winning streak.  At one point in the season, the Jets looked like they could hang with any team offensively, and that changed dramatically in December.  The rush defensive also began to struggle in December and that really hurt the team.  The game on Sunday was a sad one in many aspects, but it is ironic to see the Jets get burned by good old number 10 in his return.

Posted on: November 28, 2008 1:46 pm
 

Jets v. Broncos: Week 13 (Confidence a Mile High)

November into December 1998.  That was the last time the Jets had a six game winning streak.  If they win against the Broncos on Sunday, they can match that feat.  The Jets are flying high with confidence right now riding a five game winning streak, with the last two wins coming over the Patriots and Titans both on the road.  Now the Jets return home to the Meadowlands to play a 6-5 Denver team who has been anything but consistent this season. 

The Jets running game has been really hitting it's stride the past few weeks.  Thomas Jones, who is currently 5th in the NFL in rushing, should have a huge game against the Broncos on Sunday.  Denver has one of the worst run defenses in the league, surrendering about 145 yards per game.  The Jets offensive line has been one of the tops in the league during the Jets five game winning streak and I expect them to continue to get better.  Jones and Leon Washington had a field day against a very good Titans defense last week, totaling 178 yards on the ground between the two of them.  Jones looks like a man on a mission the past month or so.  He has become the workhorse the Jets thought they were getting when they traded for him before the 2007 season.  And Washington has become the Jets "X-Factor" out of the backfield.  Whether he is running the ball, catching a pass in the flat or on special teams, he always seems to make something happen when he touches the ball.  I can see each of them getting at least 75 rushing yards against the Broncos.

The passing game also continues to improve each week.  Brett Favre has really adapted to the Jets offensive game plan.  As much as he hates to say it, he really has managed games for the Jets.  He has only thrown one interception the past three games, while throwing for 649 yards and 5 touchdowns.  The offensive line has also kept Favre upright over the past 3 games, only giving up 5 sacks during that span.  Allowing Brett time to throw the ball has given him the ability to find receivers and not force passes into double coverage.  And one man who has benefited from this is the Jets rookie tight end Dustin Keller.  He is becoming one of Favre's favorite receivers.  Over the past three games he has 20 catches for 236 yards.  He only has one touchdown during that span, but i'm sure those will come in the next few weeks. 

With Keller becoming a bigger part of the offense, it has enabled Jerricho Cotchery and Laveranues Coles the ability to see more man coverage.  Favre has been able to keep his top two receivers happy this season with Cotchery having 54 catches for 652 yards and 4 touchdowns, while Coles has 53 receptions for 613 yards and 6 touchdowns.  And there is always a threat of Chansi Stuckey and Brad Smith being able to have a big catch here and there.  The offense has really come together over the past month and there is really no telling how far they can go.

The Jets run defense should have another big game this week.  The Broncos rushing offense are in the middle of the pack in the NFL, rushing for 110 yards per game.  But at this point in the season, they are already on their 5th starting tailback.  That tailback is Peyton Hillis.  He ran for 74 yards against a very bad Raiders team last week.  The Jets still boast the 3rd ranked rushing defense in the league, giving up about 78 yards per game.  New York totally shut down the Titans running game last week, limiting them to a season low 45 yards rushing.  The Jets still have not allowed a 100 yard rusher in any game this season, a big difference from last season.   They are also one of the league leaders with 35 sacks on the season, already more then they had all of last year.  Off season additions, Kris Jenkins and Calvin Pace have had big seasons so far.  And Shaun Ellis and Bryan Thomas are quietly having strong seasons of their own for the Jets.

The one area the Broncos may have success is throwing the ball against the Jets.  Jay Cutler is having a solid season for Denver and could have a field day against the Jets secondary.  He already had 3,036 yards passing with 19 touchdowns.  The Jets secondary has improved since the second half of the season started, but they have been following up a good performance with a bad one.  This week against Denver they could be in line for a bad one.  On average they have been giving up around 240 yards per game in the air.  If that trend continues, then Cutler could have a huge game getting the ball to Brandon Marshall and Eddie Royal.  The top two Broncos receivers have already combined for almost 1600 yards receiving.  Darrelle Revis, who may be having a pro bowl season, will most likely me matched up with Marshall, so I would not expect him to have a huge game.  But Royal will be going against Ty Law, who is still getting into game shape after only two weeks of practice so far.  That would mean that the need to keep their eyes on WR Brandon Stokley and TE Tony Scheffler.  Scheffler could be tough to cover since the Jets star line backer David Harris is still out with a groin injury.  If the safety's do not come up to help cover, these two could have huge days.

This is a very winnable game for the Jets, who for the most part have a very favorable schedule the rest of the way.  Right now the Jets are soaring with confidence and I do not think they will beat themselves in this game.  The Broncos have good corners so I would not expect Favre to be throwing deep too often. But I do not think he needs to anyway.  As long as the Jets can establish the running game, which I think they will, then they should again be able to control the clock and take home their 6th straight win.  Then they would keep pace with the Titans and keep their lead on the Patriots.  I say the Jets take it 27-13 and get one game closer to the playoffs.

Posted on: November 12, 2008 4:04 pm
Edited on: November 12, 2008 4:06 pm
 

Jets v. Patriots: Week 11 (Now or Never)

It's finally here...the Jets vs. the Patriots with first place in the AFC East on the line.  This is what we Jets fans have been waiting for, a late season matchup against the reigning AFC champs with a chance to put them in out rear view mirror.  This is the reason why the Jets got Brett Favre and all the other big names in the off-season, to beat New England in a game that matters.  The Jets have been getting knocked around by the Patriots ever since Tom Brady took over the reigns.  The Jets have been rolling the past three weeks and have plenty of momentum heading up to Foxborough on Thursday night.

Brett Favre, the old gunslinger, came here for a chance to win one more before he rides off into the sunset.  This is the game the Jets really need him to step up and flash some of that "Favre magic".  Last week against the Rams, Favre played a well managed game.  He threw for only 167 yards and a touchdown, but no interceptions.  They did not need him to do a lot with Thomas Jones running all over the field.  Brett has seen a ton of these games during his career, more than any of his teammates have.  The bottom line is that he is a winner and should be able to lead gang green to a win.  The offensive line has also played a lot better in recent weeks.  They have not allowed a sack the past two weeks, which has allowed Favre to cut down on his mistakes (one interception in the past two games).  Jones has also benefitted from this as well.  He now leads the AFC in rushing with 750 yards.  However, the best part of the Patriots defense is their defensive line.  If the Jets are to have any success on Thursday, then they need to somehow establish the running game.

As long as Favre is upright, then I expect the passing game to have success in this game.  The Patriots have no Rodney Harrison or Adalius Thomas playing in the game and the Jets need to expose that.  Laveranues Coles and Jerricho Cotchery are both having very solid seasons for Jets.  I expect them to be a huge part of the offense in this game.  Coles is always up for big games and he should be amped up for this one.  Another option that emerged for Favre is Dustin Keller.  He had his best game of the season last week against St. Louis to a tune of 6 receptions for 107 yards.  The Jets are very high on their first round draft pick, especially after the game the just had.  With Keller emerging and Chansi Stuckey out there, New York has plenty of good options for Favre to throw to.  The difference between this game and the game in week two is that the offense is finally on the same page.  The first time they played this season Favre did not know the playbook and the Jets were still meshing as a team.  Favre knows what is going on now and the offensive line is really clicking with each other at the right time.

As usual, the defense will have its work cutout for them.  In week two, Matt Cassel was making his first career start in the NFL and played a very smart game for the Patriots.  He threw for 165 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions, not flashy but it got the job done.  He still has Wes Welker and Randy Moss to throw the ball to.  The Jets need to find a way to slow them down.  They will have some help this week with the free agent acquisition of Ty Law.  He may not play all that much with only two days to prepare, but he is a veteran and knows both teams well.  He also may not be a shut down corner anymore, but with him on one side and Darrelle Revis on the other, the Jets secondary will be much improved for the rest of the season.  One of the keys will be to limit Welker as much as they can.  Even if that means giving Moss one or two deep ones in the process.  Welker helps that offense go.  He is their go to guy on third down.  Slow him down and they should be able to slow down the whole offense.

The defensive line, which in one of the tops in the NFL, needs to get pressure on Cassel.  The Jets are second in the NFL in sacks with 31.  Shaun Ellis is quietly having a pro-bowl season for New York, leading the team with seven sacks.  The defensive MVP has been Kris Jenkins so far.  What a huge difference he has had on the defensive line for the Jets.  The Jets are 5th in the league against the run, surrendering only 76 yards per game.  BenJarvus Green-Ellis will be starting for the Patriots this week and he is coming off a 105 yard rushing performance against a good Buffalo Bills defense.  The Jets should be able to limit him and force Cassel to beat him with his arm.  New York needs to keep constant pressure on him and force him to make mistakes.  They had constant pressure on Marc Bulger and Trent Green last week and Trent Edwards the week before.  They caused big turnovers that they turned into scores.  Abram Elam had an interception return for a touchdown and Calvin Pace had a fumble return for a touchdown the past two weeks.

The bottom line is the Jets have to win this game to establish them-selves as a force in the AFC.  This is a game that they went out and got Favre, Pace, Jenkins, Damien Woody, Alan Faneca and now Law.  This is a great rivalry in the NFL and I would expect both teams to come out with guns blazing.  The main key's for the Jets is just to keep pressuring Cassel and take advantage of his mistakes and for Favre to limit his mistakes and recapture some of the old "Favre magic".  The Jets finally get over the hump and take this one on the road by a 28-17 score.

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com