New York Jets vs. Jacksonville Jaguars Preview: Gang Green's O-Line To Be Seriously Tested 1
EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - AUGUST 11: Linebacker Darron Lee #50 of the New York Jets in action against the Jacksonville Jaguars during an NFL preseason game at MetLife Stadium on August 11, 2016 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Al Pereira/Getty Images)

When the New York Jets host the Jacksonville Jaguars during Week 4 of NFL action, fans actually ponder a record of 2-2.

Whoa. Wait a second …

Weren’t the New York Jets supposed to be the worst team in the NFL? I mean, we’re not talking about just a bad team. We were led to believe that this crop of personnel was on course for a historically terrible season.

Everywhere you turned it was one or two wins, tops. Even Gary Myers of the New York Daily News mapped out a crystal clear 0-16 season for Gang Green in 2017.

First of all, it’s absolutely senseless to predict or even discuss a zero-win squad in this league. Too many variables are involved: injury, schedule, etc. It’s silly.


New York Jets

More importantly, if any of these guys actually understood the game of football, they’d understand that this personnel base has actually improved since the end of the 2016 season. Sure, nobody would claim contender status, but improving off a 5-11 record could have easily been the narrative heading into the season.

These Jets could actually be 2-2 after four weeks of play. Tank that.

This week sees the Jacksonville Jaguars come to Jersey — the 2-1 Jags who look legit on defense. There are studs everywhere. From Jalen Ramsey to Telvin Smith, Malik Jackson to Dante Fowler Jr., the Jags are currently the league’s No. pass defense (124.3 yards against per game).

Injury Report

It looks as though Brian Winters is ready to go. We’re still not positive about his status, but all signs are looking like the Jets will have their right guard back.

He’s not their biggest issue at the moment, however. Dakota Dozier filled in admirably last week and the Jets were finally able to get the running game going against the Miami Dolphins. Elijah McGuire will see an increase in production with Matt Forte out.

Brandon Shell is doubtful which means Brett Qvale will have to step up on that right side. Muhammad Wilkerson will enter the game as questionable as he deals with a shoulder.

The road team comes into the game much healthier. Young Jalen Strong will miss the game due to a hammy, but from a top-level perspective, the Jags are running healthy.

Keys to Jets Victory

Jets O-Line Must Hold Its Own

In the Phins victory, the Jets offensive line did more than hold its own. Without Winters on the right side, the unit put together a nice rushing day of 103 yards on 34 attempts. Against the Jags, there will be no Forte and most likely, Shell. Winters’s status will likely come down to a game-time decision.

All of this chaos can lead to serious disaster thanks to the opponent.

Jacksonville enters Week 4 with the most sacks (13) in the league. Their young defensive line has been dominant while getting after the QB. Coupling that with excellent secondary play has firmly placed them as the league’s top passing defense (124.3 yards per game).

The contrasting note here is the Jags rush defense has been bullied at times. They’ve surrendered the fifth most rushing yards in the league.

The game plan here is an easy one. Establish the run early and make the Jags creep up to the line. Establish the run, but still allow Josh McCown to take what the defense provides. The Jets O-line isn’t big and bad enough to plow through eight-man boxes. But the rushing attack must provide something as Jalen Ramsey will be able to shut down whoever he lines up against.

Load the Box, Force Blake Bortles in the Pocket

Perhaps the most stunning aspect to the Jets 20-6 dominating victory a week ago was the fact they actually looked dominant against the run. The unit entered Week 3 as, by far, the worst run defense in the league. By the time Week 3 had ended, they now rank in the middle of the pack somewhere.

The Jags look to run that rock with rookie Leonard Fournette. Much like Bowles’s game plan of allowing Jamal Adams to creep up near that line of scrimmage to stop the run is exactly what the defensive game plan will look like against the Jags.

Stop the run and force Bortles to beat you from the pocket.

Game Predictions

This is going to be one defensive game. The Jets will play it conservatively from an offensive perspective. The Jags will do the same.

I expect both defenses to line up in aggressive eight-man boxes and both offenses attempting to run the ball against rough rushing defenses.

Give me the Jets on a late Jamal Adams interception of Blake Bortles, leading to a game-winning Chandler Catanzaro field goal to win it.

Imagine it, folks. A Jets team at 2-2 ready to take on the Cleveland Browns. All those tank-accusers better start covering their tracks.

New York Jets 13, Jacksonville Jaguars 10

https://twitter.com/KevinMawae/status/913865733125402624

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