QB Jay Cutler and his up and down Broncos will try to get back on track agains the Jets after an embarassing loss against Oakland last week.
Road Warriors? Maybe, considering the Jets are making like the Giants of ’08 and beating big teams in big games on the road with the odds against them. They endured against New England in overtime and took it to the best team in football in the Tennessee Titans over the past two weeks. This week it gets even dicier for Gang Green (8-3) coming home to face off with the Denver Broncos.
The Broncos (6-5) have been up and down the last few weeks splitting two of its last four games, but have seen improvements in the offensive passing game and run defense. A gimme game for the Jets? No game ever is for anybody. A chance to show the league they should win the games they’re supposed to win? Absolutely. With the Jets riding high off of the last two successful weeks and the Broncos recovering from its 31-10 lashing from the Oakland Raiders, they need to kick the horse while it’s down before it bucks again.
But don’t count out the Broncos. They still have playmakers like QB Jay Cutler and WR Brandon Marshall to give opposing defenses trouble and especially the Jets since the secondary has been suspect up until the Titans game when they played their defenders tight and physical with Tennessee receivers. It wouldn’t be surprising if Shanahan and Co. line up receivers toward DB Dwight Lowery if he has one of his off days again. And players like Eddie Royal always give opposing coordinators headaches. This can also be said about Cutler who throws hard and accurate on the run. Cutler is third in the league in passing yards and fourth in YPG (yards per game).
The guy can be pretty darn good,” QB Brett Favre said of Cutler. “He has been good up to this point. He'll continue to get better. He has the right mentality. He has all the physical tools you need. He has a real strong arm and moves around well. Barring some injury, he'll have a great career.”
The Jets as a whole have improved since the 16-13 overtime loss to the Raiders five weeks ago. Gone are the slew of interceptions from Brett Favre and the inability of the offensive line to open holes for its two-headed monster running back tandem of Thomas Jones and Leon Washington. What has arrived is consistent play on both sides of the ball and level execution of game-plans that have resulted in big wins for a now considered powerhouse in the AFC (ESPN has them ranked second or third on power ranking boards).
“As a group, collectively, we've felt pretty strongly about our ability to play throughout the course of the season,” head coach Eric Mangini said. “What has gotten better and better as we've gone on is our practice tempo has gotten very consistent and our preparation has gotten very consistent.”
Gang Green fans hope that consistency continues to build with the coming weeks. Recent out-of-no where man FB Peyton Hillis has opened up many eyes around the league and could pose a threat to the Jets superb run defense if Hillis find some openings between the big three of Ellis, Jenkins and Coleman. Broncos LT Ryan Clady is having a Pro-Bowl type year.
Denver’s offensive line has only given up seven sacks in 12 weeks, but that’s also due to Cutler’s mobility. The Jets will need to get after Cutler hard and fast so the secondary will have time to keep up with Denver receivers. The Jets will need to stifle the passing offense to better its chances at coming out with a win at the Meadowlands this weekend.
“I think that as far as the zone scheme goes they run it to a science,” NT Kris Jenkins said. “I think they have a very good attack. I think that their quarterback (Jay Cutler) also does a great job being able to move around in the pocket. I think he does a great job with being able to make some plays with his feet even in situations where there might be a chink in the armor.”
Jets Offense v. Broncos Defense
The offense of Gang Green has been the fire-starter over the last few weeks, scoring on opening drives over the last six games. Look for the Jets to pound the run once again to wear down that line so it’ll open up the play-action passing game for Favre and his receivers. Also, look for TE Dustin Keller to make another big impact if DB’s Champ Bailey and Dre Bly shutdown WR’s Laveranues Coles and Jerricho Cotchery. It’ll be interesting to see how DT Dewayne Robertson fairs against his old team.
Jets Defense v. Broncos Offense
The Jets run defense has been the main attraction for opposing teams, and they can’t seem to contain them. Jenkins and DE Shaun Ellis have been terrors for offensive lineman, but this could arguably be the best line the Jets have faced this year since the Broncos are one of two teams still in single digit sacks (Titans). Cutler will look to bait and switch (play action, draws) New York’s defense to free up the running game since Denver will need that cog to beat them in East Rutherford this weekend. The secondary of the Jets is still the grey area even though they held their own against the Titans last week, before Collins started to develop a rhythm towards the end of the game.
Prediction: New York’s running game will wear down the line of Denver’s and the short routes that Favre likes to throw will be two much for the linebackers, which will draw safety help and free up a few deep routes.
Jets 29 Broncos 17
Game time is at 4:15 PM local time on CBS. Local radio is on 1050 AM ESPN and 103.9 WRCN Long Island. Be sure to log on to JI after the game for a complete recap!
ENTER THE JETSINSIDER.COM 2008 TAILGATING CONTEST!!
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