|By Sean Deegan
Publisher, Jets Insider.com
The Jets will try to rebound after
a horrible loss to Chicago last week and another December where they had
their playoff destiny by the throat and blew it. The Jets playoff hopes
are dim but still alive and even if that is not incentive enough, surely
getting revenge for the Pats 44-7 thumping in game two is. If the Jets
are home in January it will be some solace to see the Pats there right
with them. A win in Foxboro will likely knock the Pats out. Coach Edwards
is playing down the revenge factor, but you can rest assure that the Jets
want payback. No matter what the backdrop is, the Jets/Pats game is always
Despite the Jets awful loss last
week, this team is much improved from the one that took the field in week
two. On both sides of the ball they are better. In week two this was Vinny
Testaverde's team. Now it's Chad Pennington's. Pennington's story in 2002
is similar to the one that Tom Brady had in 2001 except unlike Brady, everyone
was expecting excellence from him. Highly touted yet unproven, Pennington
has lived up to every bit of the hype. He is the top rated passer in the
NFL and has taken an offense that averaged 12.5 points a game to averaging
over 21. He has also helped in the breakout season of his favorite target;
Laveranues Coles who has 78 catches for over 1000 yards. Although he may
need some work on his long pass, he runs the offense like a seasoned veteran.
His best attributes are reading defenses and not making mistakes. Bottom
line, with Curtis Martin in the backfield and a much-improved offensive
line from the beginning of the year, this offense can score points.
Defensively the Jets are much better
as well. In the beginning of the year, the front four was horrendous and
during the first month of the season they were killed by the running game.
Since then, aided by the improved play of DT Josh Evans and DE Shaun Ellis,
the Jets defense has gone from giving up almost 200 yards on the ground
to averaging under 90 yards. The secondary has also improved by going more
man-to-man rather than the cover 2, which is Coach Edwards' trademark.
The Titans dismantled the Pats on
Monday night with a big dose of the running game and a tenacious defense
that gave Brady no time to throw and punished the receivers who caught
completions. For the Jets to beat the Pats these are the keys.
1. KEEP A CROWD UP FRONT ON DEFENSE:
Crowd the defensive line with at least four defensive linemen to take away
the running game. The Pats running game is weak to begin with so if the
Jets can stop the run, it gives them an edge.
2. TAKE AWAY THE SHORT PASS:
This is what Brady has feasted on all season what killed the Jets in the
September game. The Titans were masterful in stopping Brady's dink and
dunk. The Jets need to bring the corners and LB's up close to defend against
the short pass and jam the receivers at the line. If Brady is able to make
completions, it's crucial that the Jets make the receivers pay. Since the
long pass is mostly non-existent in the Pats offense, it's up to the safeties
to cover the possible deep attempt.
3. BLITZ AND ESTABLISH A PASS
RUSH: This is one thing that stumps me. Ted Cottrell has had a lot
of success blitzing yet he rarely does it. In order to get Brady off his
kilter, it's crucial that the Jets get pressure on him. John Abraham needs
a big game and the Jets need to blitz occasionally to fluster Brady. CB
Ray Mickens has been very successful blitzing from the blind side and should
be sent at least a few times on Sunday. The Titans forced Brady into interceptions
and many incompletions due to their pressure.
4. RUN CURTIS, RUN: The Pats
running defense has been awful. The Pats front four has been like a sieve
and if the Jets can establish a consistent running game early, they can
take control of the game. Despite being banged up, Jets RB ran for 127
yards last week and is 90 yards short of breaking 1000 yards. The Jets
need to stick with the running game even if they fall behind. The Pats
have shown that over the long haul they can't stop it.
5. AVIOID TURNOVERS: Pennington
has been extremely stingy in turning the ball over (6 Ints. in 342 attempts)
and he has to keep it that way. Chrebet's fumble cost the Jets the game
last week and it's important that the Jets don't give the Pats game momentum
by turning over the ball.
The Jets have shown great tenacity
all year after losses that were supposed to have knocked them out of contention.
When they were left for dead at 2-5 they came back and spanked the Chargers
in San Diego 44-13. then, after a heartbreaking loss against the Raiders
on Monday night they beat the Broncos 19-13. The Jets are still playing
for the playoffs, are seeking revenge and over the last 3 years have the
best road in the NFL.
PREDICTION: Jets win 27 -
24 in a hard fought game and bring their playoff hopes down to the wire.
||By Ian Logue
The Patriots are still reeling from
their 24-7 beating they took on Monday night at the hands of the Tennessee
Titans, and the result of the very physical game they played against the
Titans has found them with an injury report that certainly doesn't make
any Patriot fan very happy. New England put veteran cornerback Otis Smith
on injured reserve on Thursday after the shoulder injury he suffered earlier
in the week, ending the veteran's season while leaving a gaping hole on
the right side of the Patriots secondary. That's not exactly a good thing
considering that Jets receiver Laveranues Coles is coming off of performances
where he racked up 158, 126, and 71-yards respectively in the last three
weeks, which likely means that Ty Law will have his hands full. That leaves
back-up Leonard Myers against Jets receiver Wayne Chrebet, which will be
a tall order. Chrebet may be questionable with a neck injury, but Chrebet
has played well against New England, leading the Jets in receptions in
their two meetings against the Patriots last season.
As for Jets runningback Curtis Martin
he's coming off of a 21-carry 127-yard performance against the Chicago
Bears last weekend, and will likely cause New England problems this weekend.
Martin may have only rushed for 5-yards on 4 carries earlier in the season,
but he's running behind a much better offensive line that will be going
against a Patriots defense that will likely again be without linebacker
Tedy Bruschi who apparently may miss this weekend's game as well after
missing the last two weeks due to a knee injury he suffered back on Thanksgiving
day against the Lions.
The bad news for the Patriots is
they allowed 238-yards rushing to the Tennessee Titans Monday night, 101
of which came at the hands of Titans runningback Eddie George. As Bruschi
goes, so goes the defense. When he hasn't been at at least 100% this season,
or when he's missed the game completely the Patriots have had two games
where the opposing team has had more than 200-yards rushing this season.
Despite the fact that Ted Johnson may have lead the team in tackles the last
two weeks, he still doesn't bring the fire and passion that Bruschi does,
and that's an area where New England doesn't have anyone quite like him.
The Jets may have lost against the
Bears last weekend, but there's no question that with a sense of urgency
they will give the Patriots their fair share of problems. Although the
last meeting may have been a blowout, both of these teams have played eachother
close in the last few meetings. However the Jets are playing much
better football now and there is no reason to believe this won't be the
case on Sunday night. For New England to be successful, here are the keys
to the game.
1. STOP MARTIN:
It's no secret that stopping the running game of any team drastically changes
their game plan. That being said it's likely that Belichick will scheme
to shut down Martin and then plan on doing everything he can to force Chad
Pennington to beat New England through the air.
2. Confuse Pennington: Pennington has done well replacing Vinny Testaverde, leading his team back into the playoff hunt. But he's yet to face a tough Belichick defense, and even veterans like Drew Bledsoe struggle against the brilliant schemes Belichick is able to put together. Pennington has the challenge of making big plays
against a defense that will likely be without two of it's best players.
3. Avoid Turnovers:
Quarterback Tom Brady found himself on the wrong end of an interception
that unfortunately bounced the way of the Titans when Tennessee returned
it for a touchdown on Monday night. Suddenly instead of trailing 14-7 Tennessee
lead 21-7 which drastically changed the face of the game. It's something
they can't afford to do this weekend against New York.
4. Offensive Line: With
Joe Andruzzi and Kenyatta Jones listed as "Questionable" for this weekend,
all signs lead to another makeshift offensive line. Andruzzi has managed
to start the last couple of weeks, however he hasn't been able to play
a complete game which has caused Damien Woody to move to guard, not to
mention that with Jones leaving on Monday with a leg injury he's also questionable
for this weekend, and this leaves Adrian Klemm potentially playing right
tackle again. The Jets have good pass rushers, and this may be a problem
for Brady who may end up seeing a lot of pressure on Sunday.
5. Convert on Third Down:
The Jets have let their opponents out-convert them on third down in each
of the last three games by a margin of 23-of-40 to 14-of-34. They have
also lost the time of possession battle in each game over that span. If
the Patriots can keep New York's offense off the field on Sunday and score
points in the meantime, the result will be a season sweep along with one
game closer to a division title.
They may have walked over them in
week 2, but this will be a much different team the Patriots will face this
time around. If there was ever a time that the team needed a sense
of urgency, it's definitely here now.
PREDICTION: The Patriots win
23-20 on a last second field goal by Adam Vinatieri, setting up a dramatic
final game against Miami.