The rivalry continues, and is interesting as always. With the Patriots banged up—Gronkowski, Sudfeld, Vereen, Amendola, Dobson are all out—the Jets have an opportunity to capitalize. Still, the young squad will miss one of their own in WR Jeremy Kerley, who will sit out due to a concussion sustained in Week 1. Welcome to Foxboro.
Number 5: Feed off Week 1's Run Defense Success
The Jets were just plain bad at stopping the run in 2012, but showed very positive signs in the department, against the Bucs. Doug 'Muscle Hamster' Martin was limited to just 65 yards, 1 TD, and, most importantly, a 2.7 yards per run average.
Sporting a bolstered defensive line, with the drafting of Sheldon Richardson, and continued improvement of Mo Wilkerson, Damon 'Snacks' Harrison, and Kenrick Ellis, the Jets have a more balanced defense; the secondary was there last year.
With Brady, his biggest weakness is pressure in his face. These big men can make that happen.
But, you have to take away the run first, to keep the ball in his hands. The Jets were thrown a bone with Patriots RB Shane Vereen's injury. That leaves RB Stevan Ridley as the main target, who ran for 46 yards on 9 carries last week. He did fumble once against the Bills, so the Jets have to get some hands on the ball, and create opportunities for the offense.
Note: Don't count out contributions from LeGarrette Blount, the former Buccaneer, who may see some snaps with Vereen sidelined.
More after the jump...
Number 4: Play as if 18 points won't do it this week...
...because it probably won't. The Patriots are a bend-not-break team, and regardless of their missing playmakers, Brady will find a way to make someone else a star. (My prediction is WR Josh Boyce, out of TCU.)
The best way to counteract this? Score some points! The Jets defense controlled Tampa Bay for the most part last week, but caging the Patriots system is, by design, very improbable. It can be limited, so that's when the offense has to do their part.
Best example: The Patriots averaged 34.8 points last season—with 18 points being their lowest total for a game.
So, even seeing that average drop a little this year, the Jets will have to be firing on all cylinders to win. This means opening up to playbook more for Geno Smith, even if it leaves him, and the team, open to mistakes. Gotta put all the cards on the table.
Number 3: Give Santonio the dang ball.
Holmes is a little infamous at this point for his late-2011 aggravation with not receiving enough passes, and some carried over into 2012. After returning early to the lineup, last week, Holmes stated his disappointment with not being allowed more snaps. However, his demeanor has become much more positive.
Regardless, the Jets will need any and all contributions from the receiver to beat the Patriots, especially with Kerley out.
Analyzing 2012 film, Santonio Holmes was open—a lot—in the four games he played in. That should, in theory, happen even more in the Mornhinweg WCO.
Another positive result of Holmes on the field? WR Stephen Hill is allowed to become more of a downfield threat than a possession receiver, which is something that would greatly benefit Geno Smith. Let's see the strong arm on the rook.
Number 2: Blitz Your Pants Off
The Patriots are missing their main targets. The Jets have a defensive line that can finally get some pressure without blitzing. Best way to punish the Pats? Blitz anyway.
Like I stated earlier, Brady's one kryptonite is pressure. And without that quick dump-off man in Wes Welker or Danny Amendola on the field, Brady will have to force throws to very unproven receivers in the face of it.
Even if Wilkerson and Company can get to him alone, ensuring someone is in his face as many plays as possible, will be essential.
The last time the Jets beat the Patriots, the 2010-11 playoffs, the Jets sacked Brady 5 times, for 40 yards. The final score of 28-21 is higher than the Jets want to let it get to this game, but it shows how Gang Green can capitalize.
Number 1: The Top Target...
...not named Brady, is WR Julian Edelman.
He is the only other play-maker on the Pats offense with any veteran experience with the team. Edleman is built like a slot receiver (5'10", 198lbs.), but is often seen catching balls on the outside. That leaves an interesting decision for Rex Ryan—which CB to play on him.
Seeing as him may be the 'biggest' threat via Brady, Antonio Cromartie may be assigned to him, as the rookie Dee Milliner could cover a fellow rookie in Kenbrell Thompkins. However, size-wise the opposite would make more sense. Thompkins (6'0", 195lbs.) had 4 receptions for 42 yards in the Pats season opener.
As a result, I'd expect (and hope) the Jets continue to mix it up during the game, depending on who needs to receive safety help, and which wide receiver is doing any damage. With Brady's main guys out, any WR or TE may become the new big thing. It'll take in-game adjustments to keep the score in control.
Number 1A: Don't turn the ball over.
Enough said. The Patriots get too may opportunities to score to begin with.