Game Preview: Jets at Buccaneers

Read on to find out everything you need to know about Sunday's game between the Buccaneers and Jets including which matchups to keep an eye on, who might be sidelined due to injuries and what each team needs to accomplish in order to be victorious.


New York Jets (6-6) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-11)



KICKOFF: Sunday, 1:00 ET

GAMEDATE: 12/13/09


TV: CBS (Ian Eagle, Rich Gannon)


SERIES HISTORY: 10th regular season meeting. Jets lead the series 8-1, including wins in each of the last six meetings.


Jets CB Darrelle Revis vs. Bucs WR Antonio Bryant. Revis is considered one of the top cover corners in the NFL. Bryant is finally healthy and has more than 200 yards receiving in his last two games.

Jets LDE Shaun Ellis vs. Bucs RG Davin Joseph. The Bucs are trying to jumpstart their rushing attack and instituted more power plays and man blocking than in the past. Ellis is a big body against a Pro Bowl player in Joseph.

Jets RB Thomas Jones vs. Bucs MLB Barrett Ruud. Jones, a former Bucs player, leads the NFL's No. 1 rushing offense. Ruud is a tackling machine that has played better the last two weeks since Raheem Morris took over the defense.

KEYS TO THE GAME: QB Kellen Clemens starting in place of Mark Sanchez (knee) won't change the Jets' gameplan. They've been focusing on simplifying the passing game as it is, and the Jets will use their league-best ground game (168.6 yards per game) to slowly wear down a Tampa Bay defense giving up 4.8 yards per carry. Bucs rookie QB Josh Freeman is coming off a five-interception game and has also struggled with holding onto the ball. And considering the Jets boast the league's top pass defense, this is a game the Bucs really need RB Cadillac Williams to take charge in.

GAME PLAN: The Bucs are coming off a huge offensive day in which they racked up 469 yards. QB Josh Freeman is a hot passer, but he made decisions in the red zone at Carolina last week and threw five INTs.

Freeman will get some help Sunday as the Bucs try to run the ball against the Jets' 3-4 scheme. But with the array of blitzes the Jets bring, Freeman may have to slow them down by making them pay for man coverage on the outside.

Defensively, the Bucs are playing better, which isn't saying much. When the NFL's top rushing team plays a defense that is 31st against the run, you can expect the Jets to finish with 160 yards on the ground.

That would make the job easy for QB Kellen Clemens. So look for a lot of eight and nine man fronts, especially on early downs.

FAST FACTS: Jets RB Thomas Jones has reached 100 rushing yards for the fifth consecutive season. ... Freeman has 12 turnovers in five starts.



--WR Michael Clayton (knee) did not participate Thursday or Friday in practice and is listed as doubtful for Sunday's game against the Jets.

--CB Derrick Roberson (groin) did not participate Thursday or Friday and is listed as doubtful for Sunday against the Jets.

--TE Kellen Winslow (knee) was full go at practice Friday and is listed as probable.

--LB Geno Hayes, who missed practice Wednesday with a hamstring injury, returned to work Thursday.

--CB Aqib Talib (hamstring) practiced Thursday.

--RB Carnell Williams and WR Sammie Stroughter were limited in practice on Friday but are listed as questionable for Sunday.

--DL Michael Bennett did not practice on Friday and is listed as doubtful for Sunday's game.


--LB Larry Izzo, an ace special-teamer in his 14 season in the NFL, has been placed on injured reserve with a herniated disc in his neck. It could be a career-ending injury for the 35-year-old Izzo.

--CB Dwight Lowery sat out practice Thursday and Friday because his sprained right ankle was too sore from Wednesday's practice and is out for Sunday.

--LG Alan Faneca (illness) didn't practice Thursday or Friday but is expected to play Sunday.

--FS Kerry Rhodes believes he should be back in the starting lineup after being demoted the last two games, but it's unclear whether he will be. Defensive coordinator Mike Pettine said it may depend on what package the Buccaneers use on their first offensive play.

--WR Braylon Edwards has been working hard this week to establish some chemistry with backup QB Kellen Clemens, who will start Sunday. Because Clemens had been working with the second team since Edwards was acquired in an October trade, the two hadn't worked together in practice until this week.

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