It doesn't take much for Jets fans to spiral into despair, in fact we've learned it takes just two losses.
Two weeks ago the Jets were sitting at 4-1 and Jets fans were raving about their new coach and eyeing-up potential playoff matchups as they thumped their chest with pride. Two losses later and they're complaining about the "terrible" defense, wondering if the players quit on their new coach and proclaiming that they'll be lucky to win a game ever again. Okay so, maybe that last one was a slight exaggeration but be honest, you wouldn't really be surprised if you heard/saw a Jets fans saying that.
Obviously we can all recognize it's #notallJetsfans wallowing in pits of misery, it's always the vocal minority that stands out but god lord are they vocal and if the Jets can't beat the Jaguars this weekend the noise will be deafening. All week long reporters peppered players with questions about whether this game means more because of two straight losses and if they feel like they have something to prove to the doubters out there. Every player brushed that off, they don't have anything to prove to anyone outside the locker room and they don't really have to prove anything to anyone inside the locker room because they already know what this team is about.
Losing 34-20 to the Raiders is not what this team is about and the players know that they are better than that and will be better than that. Everyone was disgusted and disappointed with their performance last week but those types of games happen and one of the job requirements of a professional athlete is to put tough losses behind them and quickly move onto the next one. So, it's onto the Jaguars.
WHEN: Sunday November 8, 2015 1 pm EST
WHERE: MetLife Stadium East Rutherford, NJ
INJURY REPORT AND PREVIEW VIDEO: Click here
KEYS TO THE GAME:
Get back to success on the ground - This is fairly simply, the Jets offense is at it's best when Chris Ivory is run past, and over, defenders. Without the running game the Jets offense struggles. Ryan Fitzpatrick has played well this season but he's still a limited quarterback and in order for him to be at his best he needs the running game to be working at an optimal level. This week the running game is of even more importance as we aren't sure how much more limited Fitzpatrick could be due to the torn ligament in his left thumb.
Two weeks ago the Patriots focused on taking away the running game and it worked. Fitzpatrick still managed to play well, and probably would have played well enough to win the game had Brandon Marshall and Jeff Cumberland caught the passes they dropped in the end zone. Last week the Raiders stout run defense took away the Jets running game early and once the Jets fell down 21-6 they had to somewhat abandon the running game. This week the Jets get Nick Mangold and face an average Jaguars run defense. The Jaguars have the 14th ranked rushing defense, allowing 103.6 rushing yards per game, and the Jets will need to have Ivory run for at least that many yards in order to sustain drives and put up enough points to win the game.
Bilal Powell is listed as doubtful for the game, so he is unlikely to play, but it might not have to be all Ivory doing the dirty work as Stevan Ridley should see a handful of snaps for the first time this year. The Jets don't need much out of Ridley this week but if he can spell Ivory just enough to keep Ivory fresh for the end of the game this week might be a great week to give Ivory 25 plus carries.
Protect against the deep-ball - Last week Derek Carr shredded the Jets secondary, more specifically he shredded Antonio Cromartie, this week the Jets face another talented second-year quarterback in Blake Bortles. Carr had a few big throws downfield but the Raiders offense is more built on the short passing game and yards after the catch, Bortles and his receivers, Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns, live off of deep passes much more than Carr and the Raiders. Robinson is on his way to becoming yet another star receiver in this league and Hurns has become a solid number two option. The Jets secondary will be tested by these two receivers but they should be able to pass this test.
As you've undoubtedly heard thousands of times the secondary helps defensive fronts get sacks and pressure from the defensive front helps the secondary cover and get turnovers. The last two weeks the Jets generated no real pass rush but a lot of that was because of how fast Carr and Tom Brady get rid of the football. The Raiders and Patriots offenses are built on quick releases and a short passing game, the Jaguars are much more of a downfield passing team and as a result Bortles tends to hold onto the ball much longer, often too long. The Jets defensive front should be able to be much more disruptive this week and if they find success the secondary will have a much easier time defending the deep pass and they should be able to get back to creating a turnover or two.
Tackle - Again this is simple, Todd Bowles said the Jets had over 20 missed tackles last week. You can't expect to win when you miss over 20 football games and you can't pride yourself as having an elite, or even halfway decent, defense if your missing anywhere near close to 20 tackles a game. This week Bowles had the team practicing in pads and put an emphasis on getting "11 hats on the ball." He wants his defenders flying to the ball in unison, if one guy can't make the tackle by himself then he wants the other 10 guys chipping in to help bring the ballcarrier down.
After coming out so flat and getting flat out embarrassed last week the Jets defense is eager to redeem themselves. All week long they said they don't have anything to prove to anyone outside the locker room and that they have confidence that they will not repeat the sins of last week but make no mistake about it they are looking forward to returning to a smothering defense.
Allen Robinson vs. Darrelle Revis - Last week the best matchup was between Darrelle Revis and Amari Cooper, even though the rest of the defense got scorched Revis held Cooper to five catches for 46 yards. You may have noticed Revis giving Cooper some extra cushion, protecting against the deep ball and you may have noticed Revis has been doing more of that as of late in his career but it's not because Revis is washed it's because that's what Bowles is asking him to do. The nonsense about the demise of Revis has gone too far, it's absurd. Sure he got beat bad, when he guessed wrong on a two yard touchdown pass to Pierre Garcon, and yes Julian Edelman dropped a touchdown pass with Revis in coverage but Revis is still one of the best corners in the game and to suggest otherwise is foolish.
Robinson is well on his way to becoming a star receiver in this league, not quite at the level of Cooper though, and it will be a lot of fun to watch Revis and Robinson battle all game long. One other thing that should be pointed out Revis doesn't play strictly press-man coverage on virtually every snap like he did with Rex Ryan, Bowles has mixes in more zone than Ryan did. Just because you see a receiver catch the ball in the vicinity of Revis doesn't mean Revis got beat. Robinson is a hell of a player but no one would blame you if you decided to bench him in fantasy this week.
PREDICTION: Jets 23-13
The Jets are simply the better team. The Jaguars have a decent amount of talent spread out throughout their team but their are holes on both sides of the ball and they have struggled to put all that talent together to play as a unit. Assuming Fitzpatrick doesn't struggle too much, and turn the ball over, with his injured thumb the Jets should be able to run the ball consistently and make enough plays in the passing game to score around 23 points. Bortles and the Jaguars offense look good at times but a lot of those times, and yards and points, come in garbage time when they are playing catchup. Bortles can be rattled and the Jets defense can get to him and force some turnovers.
A 23-13 victory for the Jets seems more than reasonable.
Chris Nimbley is the Eidtor-in-Chief of JetsInsider.com/Scout.com. He can be reached on Twitter (@cnimbley), or via email (firstname.lastname@example.org)