This week the Jets will go up against an NFC North team for the third straight week. Could this be the week the Jets crack the code? History says the Jets should have a good shot. In the last three meetings the Jets have beaten the Lions dating back to 2002. This Lions team however, is a different animal than those last three teams.
On the offensive side of the ball there is really only one name the Jets need to concern themselves with, and that is Calvin Johnson. Johnson has been widely acclaimed by people in NFL circles as the best wide receiver in the league. They are right as far as I am concerned. Johnson is coming into this game as the fourth leading receiver in the league. The issue with Johnson is that he has been battling a bit of an ankle issue and that has slowed him down some.
On the defensive side of the ball the Lions have one of the best defensive lines in football anchored by Ndamukong Suh. Rex Ryan compared Suh to, “today’s version of Warren Sapp.” Suh is a feisty player who plays a little dirty at times so watch out for him to be a key for the Jets game plan this week.
When: Sunday September 28, 2014 @ 1pm EST. (TV- Fox, Radio ESPN)
Where: MetLife Stadium East Rutherford, NJ
Jets: Willie Colon (Calf) limited, Eric Decker (Hamstring) DNP, Chris Johnson (Ankle) full, Nick Mangold (Shoulder) Limited, Dee Milliner (Quad) DNP, David Nelson (Illness), Muhammad Wilkerson (Knee) limited.
Lions: Don Carey (Hamstring) DNP, Calvin Johnson (Ankle) DNP, Travis Lewis (Quad) DNP, Cassius Vaughn (Ankle) DNP, Ezekiel Ansah (Knee) limited, Joique Bell (Knee) limited, Nick Fairley (Bicep) limited, Montell Owens (Hamstring) Limited, LaAdrian Waddle (Calf) limited, James Ihedigbo (Neck) full, George Johnson (Groin) full.
Keys To The Game
Pressure on Stafford- Last week against the Bears the Jets failed to get much of a pass rush on Jay Cutler. This week the Jets will have to get pressure on Stafford if they want to be in this game. It has been a reoccurring trend the last couple of weeks but that is because the Jets have and will continue to face pro-bowl caliber quarterbacks for weeks to come. If the Jets can get to Stafford and rattle him into making some mistakes the Jets will be very much alive in this game.
Playmakers Have To Step Up- The last couple of weeks the Jets key offensive playmakers haven’t showed up. Eric Decker and Chris Johnson are the main culprits. Obviously Decker has been dealing with a hamstring injury and hasn’t been one hundred percent. Johnson on the other hand has disappeared since week one and is barley getting the ball. Last week against the Bears it was Chris Ivory who was the feature back because he has the hot hand. However when Johnson has been in there he hasn’t shown any significant contributions to the offense. The Jets might very well be without Decker for this game but Johnson has to start showing up and fast because before you know it the Jets could dig themselves in a hole they cannot get out of.
Limit “Megatron”- Calvin Johnson has not been one hundred percent because of that nagging ankle. The Jets need to capitalize on that and limit Johnson as much as possible. Johnson is a big guy with speed and good hands. Who ever is covering Johnson is going to have a lot on their plate and must scratch, claw, and fight on every play. Dennis Thurman said on Thursday that Johnson has set the standard for every receiver in the NFL and the Jets will no doubt have their hands full on Sunday.
Win The Turnover Battle- The Jets have been on the wrong side of the of the turnover battle in every game this season. Right now the Jets turnover differential for this season is -4 which is in the bottom half of the league. The Jets must force some turnovers and hold on to the ball if they want to win this game. It has been a big problem for the Jets since last season and so far this season it doesn’t seem that they have fixed the problem.
Chris Johnson- Johnson has been a complete non-factor in the last two games. In week one Johnson was a huge contributor with five catches and a touchdown. In the last two games he has had zero catches and no touchdowns. Johnson needs to step up this week and I expect him to bounce back and have a solid game.
Quinton Coples- Coples a former first-round pick hasn’t really lived up to the hype in his first few seasons. Coming into his third season the Jets are expecting him to have a breakout season. So far this season Coples has three tackles and one sack. Not flashy numbers but he has been contributing with taking on blocks and helping provide a run stopping presence. Coples is going to have to step up and start living up to the hype because the Jets need him.
Brian Winters- It is unusual for an offensive lineman to be an x-factor. However Winters has been a factor in Geno Smith turning over the football. Against the Packers it was Winters who got beat bad off the ball and his man hit Smith while throwing the ball which caused an interception. Last week Winters got beat again, off the ball, and his man hit Smith and was picked off. This week Winters will be going up against Ndamukong Suh a top defensive lineman in the league. Winters will have to hold his own against Suh and try to do whatever he can to keep Suh away from Smith.
The Jets are itching for a win after losing two in a row. I wouldn’t say this is a must win or that the Jets are desperate but it is getting close to that point. The NFL is only 16 games long so there is no time for the Jets to have a bad couple of weeks. The Jets cannot get into a situation where they dig themselves into a hole they can’t climb out of. Based on that I think the Jets come out and beat the Lions. The fact that Calvin Johnson has not been practicing with that ankle tells me he’s not one hundred percent, which is a good thing for the Jets. I think the Jets come out fired up knowing they need this win in a bad way. I’m taking the Jets over the Lions in this one by a score of 24-20.