The Jets secondary will have it's hands full covering Cardinals receivers Anquan Boldin and Larry Fitgerald (above).
Although it may be disappointing for fans, the Jets entering week three with two losses is not much of a surprise. What may be more of a surprise is Arizona on top of the NFC West at 2-1.
Last week, the Cards dropped a tough loss to the Redskins in the nation’s capital. This week, they will be without the jetlag since they opted to stay out east in preparation for back-to-back games in a different time zone.
The Jets, meanwhile, will be faced with their own ailments, among them a quarterback with a sore ankle that is getting better, and a nose tackle with a back that took him out of last week’s game at San Diego.
On the upside for Gang Green, NT Kris Jenkins and QB Brett Favre are both expected to play Sunday at Giants Stadium. How well they play though is another question.
Jenkins, who is instrumental for the Jets in stopping the run, is going to be needed against a Cardinals team that features the league’s 10th best rusher and 13th best of all time. Edgerrin James has 248 yards through three games, however he has yet to reach the end zone. With two touchdowns, however, is rookie RB Tim Hightower, a do-it-all back. Regardless, the Jets will have to do a better job stopping the run against Arizona than they did against San Diego.
Should Arizona go to the air, they’re even more dangerous. Veteran QB Kurt Warner—who at 37, Brett Favre joked about being young—has two lethal weapons in WRs Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin. The two have combined for six scores and more than 500 yards through three games.
Jets’ LB Calvin Pace, who played for Arizona last year, commented on the two receivers, saying how difficult it is to stop them.
“I think you are talking about two guys who in my opinion can be labeled as the best, but are still underrated being in Arizona,” Pace said Thursday. “You’re talking about Larry who has great hands and he can go up and get jump balls. Anquan is probably the most physical receiver I have ever seen. He is a good yards-after-contact type of guy.
“You stop Larry, Anquan might have a good game. You stop Anquan and Larry may have a good game.”
Either way, the Jets’ secondary looks to have its hands full. CB David Barrett, who has been seeing time at safety, mentioned getting physical with Boldin and Fitzgerald.
“You are going to have to get up there and be as physical as they are and let them know you are going to be there the whole game,” Barrett said.
CB/PR Darrelle Revis said he thinks that facing Arizona’s receivers will be the biggest challenge yet.
“Watching film on those guys, Kurt Warner throws the ball up to them,” Revis said. “They have great ball skills and they move them around.
“They move Anquan Boldin around in the slot sometimes to give him mismatches with linebackers and other players. Larry Fitzgerald is more of the deep-ball guy. Just throw it up and he’ll go and make spectacular catches.”
Revis sees this game as a big opportunity to get back on track after a rough loss to the Chargers.
“This would be a big win for us to get the fans rowdy, keep the energy up and positive,” Revis said. “We are trying to get back and move forward.”
WR David Clowney (shoulder), K Mike Nugent (thigh)
QB Brett Favre (ankle), P Reggie Hodges (thigh), NT Kris Jenkins (back), DB Justin Miller (foot), WR Laveranues Coles (thigh)
WR Brad Smith (knee)
DE Bertrand Berry (groin)
TE Jerame Tuman (hamstring)
DT Darnell Dockett (hamstring), WR Sean Morey (Achilles), SS Adrian Wilson (hamstring)
DT Gabe Watson (knee)
Jets ‘O’ vs. Cardinals ‘D’
Brett Favre will be Brett Favre. He’s getting better acclimated to his new offense and last week connected with seven different receivers, three of which—Laveranues Coles, Chansi Stuckey, and Dustin Keller—scored. Favre threw for 271 yards against San Diego, but the Cardinals eighth-ranked defense has yet to allow a 200-yard passer, 100-yard rusher or 100-yard receiver in a single game.
Jets ‘D’ vs. Cardinals ‘O’
With a healthy Kris Jenkins to anchor the Jets’ 3-4 scheme, Edgerrin James can be contained, but that means Kurt Warner airs it up, a dangerous threat with Fitzgerald and Boldin going deep. LB Calvin Pace may be familiar with what Arizona does, but that will be as much of an edge as Chad Pennington was against the Jets—not much. What’s more, Arizona has just four three-and-out drives, tied for fewest in the NFL.
Leon Washington is starting to look better. He had a 94-yard kick return at San Diego to go along with his 198 total yards. P Ben Graham was better against San Diego than he was against New England, but he’s been shaky for the Jets. In his best game returning the ball, Arizona’s Steve Breaston had 103 kick return yards on five attempts against Washington last week. His longest was 34 yards.
The Jets benefit being at home this week after a west coast road trip. Arizona hasn’t beaten the Jets since 1975, but the two are hardly familiar foes. The key for the Jets, as coach Mangini has said all along, is limiting the self-inflicted errors. What Gang Green needs more than ever is an interception-free performance from you-know-who. While on paper the Cardinals may appear to have the upper hand, too many intangibles make this a close game.
Score: Jets 31 Cardinals 24
Game time is 1PM local time on Sunday with television coverage on Fox and local radio on 1050 ESPN. Be sure to check back to JI for a complete recap following the game.
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