Gameday Primer: Cardinals @ Jets

Brett Favre and company hope to be less than gracious hosts this weekend against the Cardinals. After being demolished by the resurgent Chargers, the Jets are looking to rebound and get back on track. The Cardinals are also coming off of a disappointing loss against the Redskins. The Cardinals are looking for their first victory over the Jets since the Joe Namath era.

When the Jets Pass:

Unless you've been hiding out in a bomb shelter for the last few months, you probably know that Brett Favre is the new Jets QB. The adjustment has not been easy and after watching a few games it is apparent that Favre and his receivers are not on the same page. Most experts believe that it takes at least a year before a quarterback can fully grasp a system. Even with Favre's superb improvisational abilities, overcoming a deep lack of knowledge about the playbook is extremely difficult. With the wide array of defenses used by the Cardinals, it should be a tough week for Favre.

When the Jets Run:

Thomas Jones has lost a bit since his breakout game in the Super Bowl. He has not been the homerun threat that he once was. The Jones of today is more similar to the underachieving athlete of his Cardinals days than his Bears years. With the passing game in disarray, it has become important for Jones to help alleviate the pressure on Favre. For the most part he has been unable to do this. Last week the Chargers obliterated the Jets on Monday night. Jones should be hungry for retribution, but his task will be daunting as the much-improved Cardinals defense waits on the other side of the ball.

Just for Kicks:

Jay Feely is 2 for 3 to start the season and as equal as both teams are, this game could easily come down to a field goal. Feely is not exactly Adam Vinateri, but he is no Ray Finkle either (Please forgive the obscure Ace Ventura reference). The real issue for the Cardinals will be kick returns. Leon Washington is a poor man's Devin Hester and he can break the game open at any time. Momentum will be key in this match up and any lack of focus on special teams could easily come back to haunt either team.

When the Cardinals Pass:

Kurt Warner was solid against a tough Redskins defense. Unfortunately, solid just wasn't enough. Anquan Boldin and Larry Fitzgerald each contributed, but costly turnovers ultimately gave the game to the opponent. This week Warner must slice and dice against a defense coming off one of its worst showings in years. If Warner can exploit the mismatches, the Cardinals will be in good shape. So far this season the Cardinals have done a good job of limiting turnovers. If they are going to be successful against the Jets they must continue to value the ball.

When the Cardinals Run:

A rare fumble by Edgerrin James derailed the Cardinals hope for victory. James posted another solid game and has continued to keep Tim Hightower at bay. However, Coach Whisenhunt's emphasis on ball protection does not bode well for James if he coughs up another fumble this week. James' old friend Calvin Pace will be paying special attention to the run offense this week. Pace's breakout season with the Cardinals last year earned him a massive contract in the Big Apple. If Pace can use his experience dealing with the Cardinals offense, the enormous contract may actually be worth it.

Just for Kicks:

Neil Rackers was solid against the Redskins, although after a questionable decision on 4th and 3, his chance at making a pressure kick never materialized. Dirk Johnson remains a pleasant surprise and the special teams had been solid. If the Cardinals are going to win, they must contain Leon Washington. If the Jets' defense actually defended the other team at any point in last week's game, the special teams would have been able to keep them in the game. Steve Breaston is a quality punt returner and he is definitely due to break one out.

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