The Jets enter the game with the obvious advantage in the quarterback derby. Vinny Testaverde is entering his 17th season in the NFL, and has passed for 39,558 career-passing yards.
The Redskins are going with second year pro Patrick Ramsey. The Redskins selected Ramsey with the 32nd overall selection of the 2001 NFL draft. Last season he entered the season as the team's number three quarterback, however he finished the year as the starter.
Ramsey has played in nine games as a professional, and started five. He has thrown for 1,539 yards, nine touchdowns, and eight interceptions in his NFL career, for a quarterback rating of 71.8. He has studied hard this off-season to master Steve Spurrier's offense, but don't expect him to put up big numbers, in this his first game of his sophomore campaign.
"Patrick Ramsey has a whole lot of potential, but he hasn't done a whole lot," said Steve Spurrier.
The Jets hope to keep teams off-balance with the two-headed monster of Curtis Martin, and Lamont Jordan. Both are healthy this week.
Martin has rushed for over 1,000 yards in each of his first eight seasons in the NFL. Last season Martin was nursing badly sprained ankles and still managed to rush for over 1,000 yards.
Jordan is entering his third year in the NFL, and could easily be a starter on a number of teams. The Jets will probably use both backs because of their contrasting running styles.
Jordan uses more of a down hill power running style, and Martin uses more of a "happy feet" approach, constantly confusing opposing defenses.
The Redskins had Stephen Davis last season but Steve Spurrier didn't give him the ball much because of the pass happy offensive system he likes to use. This year the Redskins acquired Trung Canidate to be the starting running back. Canidate, was a first round draft selection of the Saint Louis Rams in 2000.
Canidate likes to run against the Jet's defense.
While playing with the Rams, Canidate had a day to remember against the Jets defense. He ran for 195 yards, on 23 attempts. He also had two receptions for 37 yards, in this his first career start.
The question now is will Steve Spurrier give him an opportunity to be productive, behind a very good offensive line.
The Redskins have the makings of a potentially great offensive line. They signed Randy Thomas away from the Jets in the off-season.
"Randy Thomas has great attitude, and he can back it up," said Randy Cross, a CBS football analyst.
Moore (center) has been a solid starter in the NFL, during his six years in the league. Moore also provides good size 6-2, 309. Jon Jansen, 6-6, 305, is the starting right tackle. Jansen has the reputation around the league as a hard working, and competent right tackle. Last season he started all 16 games for the Redskins.
Guard Dave Fiore rounds out this offensive line. The Redskins offensive line is a very good pass-blocking unit. One of the more interesting things to keep an eye on, Thursday night, will be how well the Jets defensive line can keep pressure on Patrick Ramsey.
According to rookie Dewayne Robertson the Redskins offensive line "can really pass block."
This would have been a toss up, but rookie Taylor Jacobs is doubtful for the contest with abdominal trauma.
With Taylor probably out, this leaves the Redskins with only two dangerous receiving threats, rather than three.
Laveranues Coles is someone the Jets know very well; he was their leading receiver last season, with 89 receptions and 1,264 yards. He will start fir the Redskins on Thursday.
Rod Gardner is their other starting receiver; He had 71 receptions for 1,006 yards last season. He is also a target because of his ideal size 6-2, 213. Darnerien McCants, and Cliff Russell round out this receiving core.
All three receivers are versatile. Conway and Moss are legitimate deep threats.
Both Conway and Chrebet have over 500 career receptions each.
Jonathan Carter is someone people do not hear about much, but many within the organization feel that he is the fastest player on the team.
Carter can be the "Dark Horse", in this game. The Jets will need to use all of their receivers to offset the Redskins two brilliant starting cornerbacks, Champ Bailey, and Fred Smooth; both of these players excel in pass coverage.
Carter can be a useful receiver, in this game because of his speed, and the fact that a nickel cornerback will probably be lining up with him.
Carter has the speed to beat less talented cornerbacks deep, he and Testaverde have been developing great chemistry since the beginning of camp, when they were both practicing with the second team.
Kevin Swayne and Carter will alternate at the #4 Jets receiver spot.
With five capable wide receivers the Jets should have a great third down conversion ratio.
The Redskins may have the best starting cornerback tandem in the NFL, with Champ Bailey, and Fred Smoot.
"Champ is the best cornerback in the NFL," said Deion Sanders, a former Redskin cornerback, and current CBS football analyst.
Bailey 6-0, 192, is in his fifth season in the NFL. He was drafted with the seventh overall selection in the 1997 draft.
Smoot, at 5-11, 174, is a bit smaller than Bailey, but is extremely quick, and had four interceptions last season. Rashad Bauman is the nickel back.
The Redskins have Matt Bowen, and Ifeanyi Ohalete as their respective starting free, and strong safeties. The 6-1, 207 pound Bowen was originally a sixth round draft pick of the Packers, and started only six games last season. Ohalete, at 6-2, 222, has good size for the position. The Redskins signed him as an undrafted free agent in 2001. He started 10 games last season. Their safety play is suspect, but the great cornerback play gives the Redskins secondary the edge over the Jets defensive backfield.
New York could use these linemen in a variety of different formations, and scenarios.
The defensive lineman for New York, are the defensive key to this game. If Ellis, Abraham, and Thomas can apply pressure on Ramsey, this will take the second year quarterback, and Spurrier, out of their down field passing game.
Getting to the quarterback will not be an easy task, as the Redskins have a great pass blocking line.
The Redskins have a Hall of Fame right defensive end in Bruce Smith, but his best days are behind him.
Renaldo Wynn is the starter at the left end, he is not really a threat to get to the quarterback, after registering only 2.5 sacks last season.
The defensive tackles are a work in progress. Jermaine Haley is the starting left tackle. He did not start any games last season.
Bernard Holsey is the other starting tackle, he was out of football in 2001, returned in 2002, with New England, and played in eight games, making no starts. Advantage: Jets
The Redskins have three perennial Pro-Bowlers, each one starting at their respective position.
Lavar Arrington leads the group. He is coming off a 2002 season in which he represented the NFC as their starting strong side linebacker. Last season Arrington registered 11 sacks, and 107 total tackles.
He is a threat to get to the quarterback, and to stop the run, if his defensive lineman can keep the jets starting guards at bay.
Jessie Armstead also has 107 total tackles last season. He is a seasoned veteran entering his 11th NFL season. After the 2001 season he was elected to his fifth consecutive Pro-Bowl. He is also a threat to play the run, and get to Testaverde.
Jeremiah Trotter is the starting middle linebacker. He has been elected twice to the Pro-Bowl, in 2002, and 2001, after leading the Eagles defense in tackles both years. Last season Trotter had 104 total tackles.
"The speed of the defense is what sticks out to me, especially the speed of the linebackers," said Curtis Martin.
The Jets will be able to get pressure on Ramsey, forcing him into making bad throws, and cause him to throw interceptions.
The Jets will probably run the ball a lot, looking to exploit the weak, and inexperienced interior of the Redskins defensive line.
Vinny Testaverde will look a bit rusty early, after having virtually no work with his starting wide receivers in game situations.
However the Jets will run the ball enough on first and second downs to keep it at third and manageable, allowing their third, fourth, and fifth wide receivers, and two pass catching tight ends (Anthony Becht and Chris Baker) to exploit the Redskins reserve cornerbacks, and suspect safeties, giving them a high third down conversion rate.
Score: Jets 24 Redskins 16
You can reach Dan Feit at Dfeit09@hotmail.com