The Jets find themselves in an interesting position heading into their week six matchup with the Buffalo Bills.
The talk of the league just 13 days ago, Coach Ryan’s squad now finds themselves at just a single game over .500, and have seen each of unit of their club become suspect over their last two losses.
With the Bills, currently sitting at 1-4, coming to the Meadowlands, this is an opportunity for the Jets to get themselves right against a struggling team that hasn’t found its rhythm offensively in the season’s early going. But that doesn’t mean this game is going to be an easy victory – if Gang Green isn’t careful, this one could end up sneaking away from them, putting them at a disappointing 3-3 through the season’s first six weeks.
With that in mind, here’s three things the Jets must do to get back on the winning track in their week six matchup against Buffalo:
1. ATONE FOR LAST WEEK’S DEFENSIVE DUD: 413 yards of total offense, 151 of them coming on the ground? Not exactly the type of performance Jets fans expected when the defense lined up against the Miami Dolphins’ Wildcat attack. But that’s precisely the stinker the D put up Monday night, overshadowing an outstanding performance from newly acquired wideout Braylon Edwards and the offense.
Two things stuck out like sore thumbs in the loss: the unit’s inability to get to the quarterback, and the inability to get off the blocks being put on by the Dolphins offensive line, both polar opposites of the staples of a Rex Ryan-coached defense. The Jets will be dealing with an anemic offense in week six, so this is a great opportunity to get back to the basics of what they do on the defensive side of the ball, and doing them well. They can make this game hell for Trent Edwards and Company, so look for the group to get back to pounding the quarterback in a big way Sunday afternoon. The Bills offense has been terrible at best so far this season, so this should be a great chance for the defense to get back on track. But it’s important for them to be dominant in this game as a confidence boost as they head into the rest of their schedule.
2. GET THE RUNNING GAME GOING: Thomas Jones is currently sitting at 247 yards on the season, through five games. His
yards-per-carry average is down nearly a full yard from 2008, and he’s on pace for nearly 500 fewer yards then the 1,312 he put up last season.
If the Jets are going to win tough games in December when throwing conditions may be tough, they are going to need to get the running game going in a big way. The addition of Edwards should open things up in the box for Jones, Leon Washington and Shonn Greene, but the absence of wideout Jerricho Cotchery will allow the Bills to continue to stack the box with eight defenders, forcing Mark Sanchez to beat them.
The Jets have a high-priced offensive line that is talented and experienced, and it’s time they start creating some holes for their running backs. The Bills are currently giving up 4.7 yards per carry, good for 14’th in the AFC. So if the Jets aren’t going to run against this group, who are they going to run against?
3. MAKE USE OF THEIR NEWEST WEAPON: The Jets have brought running back-turned-wideout Danny Woodhead off the practice squad and will have him on the roster for Sunday’s game against Buffalo, due to the injuries to Cotchery and wideout Brad Smith.
While you may consider this a meaningless move, you should take a closer look. Woodhead has the versatility to be a productive player at the wideout spot – he gave the Jets defense fits in their preparation for the Patriots game posing as Wes Welker. He could give the squad a nice option in the slot with his speed and elusiveness. He might just be there to fill up the roster, but offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer should consider utilizing his newest weapon. With David Clowney and Edwards on the outside, there may be openings underneath for Woodhead and tight end Dustin Keller to wreak havoc on the Bills defense.
PREDICTION: The Bills are a hapless group right now, and the Jets are angry and embarrassed after their defensive performance against the Dolphins. The defense gets itself right Sunday, and the offense doesn’t miss a beat with the injuries at wide receiver. The Jets move to 4-2 on the season, and the Bills move further and further away from relevancy.
FINAL SCORE: Jets 31, Bills 6
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