Game Plan and Matchups v. Jets

The Jets blitz more than perhaps anyone in the league and the Broncos' ever-changing offensive line will have to be in synch to deal with the pressure.

SERIES HISTORY: 32nd regular-season meeting. Broncos lead series, 16-14-1. Denver has held New York to just 17 points in their last two meetings. The Jets are 7-9 in Denver. The most famous meeting was a 23-10 Denver victory at old Mile High Stadium on Jan. 17, 1999 in the AFC Championship Game.

GAME PLAN: The Jets blitz more than perhaps anyone in the league and the Broncos' ever-changing offensive line will have to be in synch to deal with the pressure. Denver did a better job of communicating up front in Baltimore, yielding just one sack. RB Correll Buckhalter has been valuable in blitz pickup on obvious passing downs, too. But New York likes to flood different zones with pass rushers and force quick decisions. It will take relentless film study and tidy in-game adjustments to help protect Kyle Orton, who figures to still be gun-slinging flanked by a limp running game.

MATCHUPS TO WATCH: Broncos WR Brandon Lloyd vs. Jets CB Antonio Cromartie. Cromartie had the downfield assignment of running with Minnesota's Randy Moss, and with Darrelle Revis' hamstring still balky, it's likely Lloyd will be his primary concern Sunday. Lloyd is averaging 19.6 yards per catch and it's not just by running by defenders. He and Orton have the timing mechanism down to where the receiver can stop short on a defensive back, then have the ball arrive on Lloyd's back shoulder. Denver at one point was a house of horrors for Cromartie. He was called for four penalties and had many of Brandon Marshall's 18 catches on him in a 2008 game while with the Chargers.

Jets vs. overconfidence. The storylines made the New York tabloids smile all last week with Brett Favre returning to town with a new team and, perhaps, an old scandal. But the Jets pulled off the emotional win on the Monday night stage, now have a short week to prepare for Denver, with a trip cross country to make. Those are several factors that will test New York's mental fortitude, against an opponent that is far removed from the Dolphins, Patriots and Ravens that take nothing to rev up the Jets.

INJURY IMPACT: RB Knowshon Moreno (hamstring) did not practice Wednesday, after participating in only one partial practice last week. McDaniels didn't project forward but if Moreno isn't on the field Thursday, consider it a sign he won't play.

--FB Spencer Larsen (ankle) hadn't played or practiced since the Sept. 26 Indianapolis game but was back on the field Wednesday. Rob Gronkowski, a converted tight end, had been filling the fullback role but was new to the position. A healthy Larsen would help a stuck-in-the-mud rushing attack.

--WR Demaryius Thomas (head/neck) didn't practice and if there is concussion-type symptoms involved then caution will be applied in this case. If Thomas is out, and he's officially day-to-day, it could present opportunities offensively for rookie Eric Decker or Matt Willis as a No. 4 receiver. But Eddie Royal has taken over both return duties. Thomas was injured on a kickoff return.

--With S Brian Dawkins (knee) out 2-3 weeks, expect David Bruton and Nate Jones both to have roles on the defensive back end depending on the substitution package. Bruton may play more run downs due to his size but Jones is better suited in coverage.



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