Head Coach Rex Ryan implored Jets fans to arrive earlier than usual this Sunday, rallying them to come out in full force to support Gang Green the instant they emerge from the tunnel at the New Meadowlands Stadium. New York will need the early boost as they have tallied a pitiful total of six first quarter points over the past five games, ranking them dead last in the NFL over that span. Rex's boys intend to wrap up this week's contest in regulation and avert a third straight overtime bout. The Jets can ill-afford to play another grueling extra session, with only three days of rest between this Sunday's game and their Thanksgiving night matchup with the Cincinnati Bengals.
KEYS TO VICTORY:
1. The Jets will need to bring the fight to the Texans from the get go. Losers of three straight, at a record of (4-5), Houston is a desperate team fighting for their playoff lives in a stacked AFC.
2. Gang Green must win the battle in the trenches with their physicality and toughness as controlling the line of scrimmage will prove instrumental in the Jets earning the W.
3. New York is (1-6) when they lose the turnover battle over the past two seasons. The guys in green will need to value their possessions, while maintaining their aggressiveness defensively, forcing Houston into a few mistakes.
WHEN THE TEXANS HAVE THE BALL:
Houston's Matt Schaub will hone in on superstar receiver Andre Johnson who amassed 146 receiving yards on nine receptions, including a touchdown in last week's heartbreaking-Hail Mary defeat at the hands of Jacksonville. Darrelle Revis will need to be at the pinnacle of his game as Johnson's game-changing speed and athleticism gives defenses fits. Schaub is dynamic through the air as evidenced by his 457 yard passing performance against the Washington Redskins in Houston's Week 2 overtime victory. The Jets pass rushers will need to unleash their fury, as Houston's offensive line has surrender 21 sacks this season, ranking near the bottom of the NFL. Texans running back Arian Foster has risen from obscurity to stardom, leading the league in both rushing with 920 yards and total touchdowns, with 11 (10 rushing and one receiving). Gang Green's fourth ranked rush defense will need to be on alert as Foster was undrafted out of the University of Tennessee and plays with a chip on his shoulder. In his debut as the Texans starting tailback, Foster rushed for a career high 236 yards against Indianapolis Week 1, making a name for himself from the onset of the 2010 season. New York boasts the NFL's fourth ranked rush defense and will aim to bottle up Foster early and often.
WHEN THE JETS HAVE THE BALL:
The Texans defense is vastly exploitable, surrendering 301 yards passing per game (31st in NFL), 410 yards of total offense (31st in NFL), 213 third down conversions allowed (32nd in NFL), intercepting only five passes (31st in NFL), while allowing a whopping 28.6 points per game, (31st in NFL). A telling indication as to how abysmal these rankings are: there are a total of 32 teams in the NFL! The Jets second year quarterback will have plenty of opportunities to make plays in the passing game and Mark Sanchez should spread the wealth among his receivers, tight ends and tailbacks. Ball security will be paramount for Sanchez, following his five game turnover-less streak to start the year, #6 has committed at least one hiccup in each of the past four games. A promising sign for New York was the resurrection of the ground and pound on full display in Cleveland as the Jets controlled the game clock with 45 bruising carries. Shonn Greene will likely split carries with LaDanian Tomlinson, hitting the Texans with a killer combination of speed and power. Right Guard Damien Woody draws the assignment of impeding former number one pick, and elite pass rusher Mario Williams. Super Mario has five and a half sacks on the season and has registered at least one sack in three of the four Texans' victories. Gang Green will need to eliminate miscues and capitalize on a favorable matchup against a vulnerable Houston defense in order to earn the victory this Sunday.
THE X FACTOR:
Santonio Holmes. The Texans secondary will direct their game plan at phasing out Dustin Keller over the middle, providing Santonio opportunities to bust free for big plays on the outside. Holmes has emerged as the Jets feature wide out and is geared up to have a break out performance. Look for Holmes to shred a beleaguered Texans pass defense as he will try to propel Gang Green to their third straight victory. (Who knows, maybe in regulation this time).
Rick's Pick: Jets win, 31-13.