PREVIEW: NY Jets (8-5) @ Eagles (5-8)
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — The Jets take their three-game win streak and a high-flying offense to Philadelphia to face arguably the most talented 5-8 team in the NFL. Throughout their past three games the Jets have scored 13 touchdowns (tied for first in NFL) and averaged 33.0 points per game (fourth in the NFL). Mark Sanchez is a big part of the offensive surge, accounting for nine of the team’s 13 touchdowns while passing for over 500 yards and only turning the ball over twice.
The Eagles, albeit a consensus disappointment in 2011, present a unique set of problems for this Jets team, in particular the offense. Jason Babin (15 sacks) is among the league leaders in getting to the quarterback and lines up alongside Cullen Jenkins (6 sacks) and opposite Trent Cole (9 sacks). The secondary is where three Pro Bowl corners reside in Nnamdhi Asomugha, Asante Samuel and Dominque Rodgers-Cromartie — all of whom are adept at jumping routes and making big returns.
Defensively, Bart Scott and company will have their hands full putting a stop to the Eagles two-headed rushing monster in Michael Vick and LeSean McCoy. Against a weak Philadelphia offensive line the Jets will need another stellar performance from their pass rushers, after their 5-sack game against Kansas City last week.
WHEN: Sunday December 18, 2011 @ 4:15 p.m. EST (Can be seen on CBS or heard on 1050 ESPN Radio).
WHERE: Philadelphia, PA / Lincoln Financial Field (capacity: 69,144)
SERIES HISTORY: Ninth meeting, Eagles lead 8-0
LAST MEETING: Eagles, 16, Jets, 9, The Meadowlands (10/14/07)
- JETS — OFFENSE: 25.2 PPG (6th), 311.0 TOTAL YPG (25th), 206.1 PASS YPG (21st), 104.9 RUSH YPG (22nd), 37.5% 3rd DOWN (15th), 29 SACKS ALLOWED (14th-T). DEFENSE: 20.8 PPG (12th-T), 310.1 TOTAL YPG (6th), 200.8 PASS YPG (6th), 109.2 RUSH YPG (14th), 30.4% 3rd DOWN (2nd), 29 SACKS (17th-T).
- EAGLES — OFFENSE: 22.8 PPG (15th), 399.2 TOTAL YPG (4th), 250.3 PASS YPG (11th), 148.9 RUSH YPG (3rd), 40.9% 3rd DOWN (10th), 25 SACKS ALLOWED (11th-T). DEFENSE: 22.5 PPG (20th), 334.0 TOTAL YPG (11th). 218.9 PASS YPG (12th), 115.1 RUSH YPG (18th), 36.4% 3rd DOWN (14th), 42 SACKS (2nd).
- JETS – Rex Ryan / third season / 28-17 Regular Season / 4-2 Postseason
- EAGLES – Andy Reid / thirteenth season / 123-81-1 Regular Season / 10-9 Postseason.
- JETS — OUT: Marquice Cole (knee). PROBABLE: Mike DeVito (knee), Marcus Dixon (hip), Vladimir Ducasse (knee), Shonn Greene (rib), Nick Mangold (ankle), Joe McKnight (elbow), Brandon Moore (hip), Calvin Pace (groin), Eric Smith (knee), Matt Slauson (knee).
- EAGLES — DOUBTFUL: Darryl Tapp (ribs). QUESTIONABLE: Todd Herremans (ankle), Cullen Jenkins (groin), Jeremy Maclin (shoulder, hamstring), Vince Young (ankle). PROBABLE: Nate Allen (hamstring), Nnamdi Asomugha (knee), Ronnie Brown (hamstring), Riley Cooper (groin), Trevor Laws (knee), Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (ankle), Michael Vick (ribs).
- LeSean McCoy vs. David Harris — Now it’ll take a collective effort to stop McCoy, the NFC’s leading rusher, but if successful the Hitman can cross off one name high on his “hit list”. McCoy has been the Eagles offense for the season leading the team in rushing while ranking third on the team in receptions with 45. With the elusive Vick more than capable of making plays outside of the pocket, it will be McCoy lurking around the flats and underneath the secondary ready to take advantage from a broken down defensive scheme.
- Justin Babin vs. Wayne Hunter — Babin may be the lone free agent signee who has lived up to the mega deal he signed in the off-season for the Eagles. With 15 sacks Babin has taken advantage from the 1-0n-1’s with right tackles as the rest of the line is forced to deal will line mates Jenkins and Cole. Hunter has had his troubles against elite pass rushers this season, but the offensive line as a whole has been very productive — not giving up a sack in two of their last three games.
- Shonn Greene vs. Eagles Front 7 – It’s not secret that Greene has been a huge part of the offense’s resurgence and Sanchez’s efficient play, but against an Eagles front seven that likes to fly around and ranks second in the league in sacks, Greene will be the centerpiece to the offense. The best way to combat a fury of blitzing defenders? Run right at them.
- Brent Celek, Tight End, Eagles — The tight end position is usually one for concern when it comes to the Jets’ secondary. But with the loss of defensive field general Jim Leonhard at safety, the match-up becomes an even more glaring weakness. He leads the team with 49 receptions and is a steady target for Vick. With Eric Smith and Brodney Pool playing deep for the Jets, the pressure will be on to keep Celek from breaking free when Vick moves outside the pocket.
- Plaxico Burress, Wide Receiver, Jets — The Jets lead the NFL in red zone efficiency, scoring touchdowns on 71.4 percent (30-of-42) of their opportunities. New York has produced touchdowns on their last 12 possessions inside-the-20. A big part of the red zone success has been Burress, who does the brunt of his damage within the 20-yard line. Add in the fact that Burress has at least three inches on every defensive back the Eagles have to offer and that could be all the space Sanchez and Burress need to capitalize.
THE PREDICTION: NY JETS 28 — EAGLES 21. This is the Jets time of the season. We’ve seen it occur over the last two years now. Greene has yet another big day and the defense finds a way to keep the elusive Vick and McCoy in check.