New York Jets

Coming off two straight losses, the New York Jets come into Week 9 aiming to take out Blake Bortles and the Jacksonville Jaguars.

New York Jets (4-3)
Jacksonville Jaguars (2-5)
NFL, Week 9
MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ

By Jeff Jarboe

Todd Bowles was not happy with his team’s performance last week against the Raiders in the Black Hole, which is why he had them throw the pads on this week to prepare for Jacksonville.

New York looks to bounce back from their debacle in Oakland and end its two-game losing streak today, and here are three keys to doing that.

1. Keep the tempo up on offense, and bring the pressure on defense.

With Ryan Fitzpatrick and Brandon Marshall playing through their injuries today and Chris Ivory still lining up in the backfield, the Jets offense is all systems go against a Jacksonville defense that ranks 19th against the pass and 10th against the run. The key for the offense in this one is getting off to a fast start and pushing the tempo all game long. After Fitzpatrick left the game in the first quarter against Oakland the Jets tried leaning on the running game and failed to keep the tempo up as a result. Ivory still remains a crucial part of this offense and should be established early on, but in order to open things up for number 33 this offense needs to take some shots downfield to put the Jacksonville defense on their heels.

For the Jets defense the key is much of the same–keep the tempo up by pressuring Blake Bortles all day. Bortles currently ranks as the eighth-most sacked quarterback in the league, but when he’s on his feet he has been dangerous. He’s big and strong enough to shed tackles and extend the play outside the pocket, and once he’s outside the pocket is when he takes deep shots down the field to Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns. With the way Antonio Cromartie has been playing lately, it’s going to be key for the Jets pass rush to get to Bortles before he can take these deep shots down the field. Expect Todd Bowles to get creative with his blitz packages this week, bringing pressure from all angles.

2. Generate turnovers, and capitalize on these turnovers

In the first quarter of the season the Jets thrived off of their defense’s ability to generate turnovers and get the ball back in the hands of Fitzpatrick. As of late however, the Jets defense has had trouble getting to the quarterback and forcing arid throws. If Bowles brings the type of pressure that he should bring in this game…it’s up to the secondary to make the necessary plays and generate some much needed turnovers. Bortles has been good through the first half of the season, but he’s been human, throwing eight interceptions to contrast his 15 touchdowns. If they pressure him consistently with different looks, the defense is bound to get to him and either get a sack or force an arid throw into the secondary. The question is going to be whether Revis and Cromartie can keep up with the young speedy wideouts, Robinson and Hurns.

3. Protect the football

Last week in London the Jaguars were able to jump out to an early lead against Buffalo because of their defense. Cris Clemons returned a fumble six yards for a touchdown and on the very next drive Telvin Smith picked off E.J. Manuel for a 27-yard touchdown. The key for the Jets offense is going to be pushing the tempo while taking care of the football. Based on the amount of times Ryan Fitzpatrick has been sacked this season (4-least among active starters), I’m not worried about any strip sacks being taken back for touchdowns. But Fitz has made some questionable throws early in the season that resulted in interceptions–that can’t happen today. New York is trying to end a two-game losing streak and to do that you can’t turn the ball over, plain and simple.

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I'm a senior journalism and communications major at THE University of Connecticut, as well as a die hard Jets and Knicks fan. College football and basketball have their place in my heart, but the NFL is my pride and joy.