The New York Jets have a lot of issues on their football team. Their issues are not just on one side of the ball, but on both. The only things that the Jets do well are stopping the run and rushing the passer. That is because of Muhammad Wilkerson and Sheldon Richardson, their defensive ends in the 3-4 scheme. Those two are not just great run defenders, but they are great at getting pressure on the quarterback as well. Together, they are one area to be concerned about.
But this is an area where the Broncos can exploit the Jets weaknesses. Saying that everything but run defense is an exploitable area for the Jets, would be too short and simple. I am going to go a bit further than that.
The most obvious way the Broncos can exploit the Jets, is by matching up one of the best passing offenses against one of the worst passing defenses. The Broncos offense averages 317 yards through the air per game. The Jets are allowing 237.8 passing yards per game. Couple that with allowing 12 touchdowns through the air, while picking off only one pass, leads one to think that the Jets will have a hard time come kickoff.
The big problem with the Jets passing defense comes from their linebackers and safeties. Whomever they are matched up on tends to make the play. So, look for the Broncos to get tight end, Julius Thomas, going and get him going early. Against these Jets linebackers and safeties, he should have one of the biggest games of his career.
Switching over to how the Broncos defense can exploit the Jets offense is another exercise in strength vs weakness. The Broncos do an excellent job of getting pressure on the quarterback, while the Jets do an awful job of keeping pressure off of theirs. The weakest link for the Jets is offensive linemen, Brian Winters, who has allowed 14 total pressures on the season. The Broncos interior defensive linemen should be able to exert control at the line of scrimmage.
But the Jets troubles in protecting the quarterback stem from all over the offensive line. Tackles D’Brickashaw Ferguson and Breno Giacomini have allowed 23 pressures between the two of them, but no sacks. The only offensive lineman playing at a high level is center Nick Mangold, who has allowed just two pressures, a hurry and a sack. The Jets have rarely kept a tight end in to block, doing so only 35 times on nearly 200 passing plays. That, combined with the weakness of the Jets offensive line, should lead the Broncos to be able to get pressure on the quarterback with just a four-man rush.
Finally, the Broncos can exploit the Jets quarterback, whichever it ends up being. Both Geno Smith and Michael Vick are in the mix to start on Sunday, but all signs point to Smith, though it is uncertain how long he will stay in if he struggles. If Smith starts, it is even better for the Broncos defense. Smith is not the best decision maker at the quarterback position in the NFL. On a surprising note, he has struggled more when the defense has managed to put pressure on him, without blitzing, throwing 2 touchdowns to 5 interceptions.
If Vick starts, or comes in for a struggling Smith, it will be a little harder on the defense. Vick is more mobile at quarterback, something the Broncos defense has struggled with so far this season. Through the air, however, Vick is not the quarterback he once was. The Broncos should be able to limit him there.
There are plenty of areas for the Broncos to exploit against the Jets. These three however, are the major ones. If the Broncos can exploit these, then the game should end with a Broncos victory.