Jamal Adams Matthew Stafford Trumaine Johnson
Robby Sabo, ESNY Graphic, Getty Images

Paul Esden Jr.

The New York Jets will put their secondary against the Detroit Lions passing game on Monday Night Football. Who will prevail?

New Jack City vs. Eight Mile? No, this isn’t a Detroit back alley epic rap battle. This will be the New York Jets against the Detroit Lions on Monday Night Football for Week 1 of the NFL season.

One of the leading themes will be the New York Jets putting a strength—their new look secondary—immediately to the test against the high flying Detroit Lions passing game.

That new look secondary has the second highest paid cornerback in all of football with Trumaine Johnson jumping from the west coast to the east coast and he will have huge expectations thrust upon him. The rest of the secondary includes Morris Claiborne, who the Jets re-signed on a one-year deal, and Buster Skrine, who will man the slot for the Jets.


ESPN broadcaster and Syracuse legend Beth Mowins will be on the call for the Jets and Lions on Monday Night Football and she joined me on ‘The Jets Zone’ this week discussing the massive task the Jets have to face in their secondary:

“Isn’t that crazy? Matthew Stafford is entering year No. 10 at the helm for the Detroit Lions. It’s hard to believe that he’s been around that long. It’ll also be 113 consecutive starts for Stafford as well on Monday Night Football. So obviously there’s quite a contrast from a seasoned Pro Bowl talent in Stafford to a rookie making his first start in Sam Darnold.

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“Speaking of that, look at wide receiver for the Detroit Lions: the team is really excited about Kenny Golladay they think he can have a breakout year, but make sure you remember this name rookie wideout ‘Brandon Powell‘ he’s going to be super intriguing to watch because Golden Tate has been phenomenal but he’s 30-years-old and is in the last year of his contract. Tate has been one of the leading receivers in the entire NFL over the last handful of years but how long can he maintain that? It seems like the Lions think Powell can be that next slot guy of the future. The Lions have one of the most undervalued receiving corps in the league.” — ESPN Broadcaster Beth Mowins on ‘The Jets Zone’

Irony?

How ironic is that last nugget from Beth suggesting the Lions have one of the most undervalued receiving corps in the NFL? Not saying she’s wrong, but many Jets fans feel the same way about their own receiving corps. They don’t have a true No. 1 wideout on this team, but they seem to have a lot of effective pieces.

One of the pieces Beth mentioned during the interview as well was Marvin Jones. Here’s a fun fact I’m sure you didn’t know, only one pair of wide receivers in the entire NFL last year both eclipsed 1,000 yards receiving. That tandem was Marvin Jones and Golden Tate. Crazy to think about.

Although this isn’t a science experiment, it won’t be a seven-on-seven drill, the Jets will have to put the rest of their defense on the field. Which is unfortunate for them because they have arguably the worst set of edge rushers in the entire league.

Which adds an interesting dynamic to this “strength on strength” matchup between the Lions and the Jets. While the Jets certainly match up interestingly with the Lions, their lack of edge rush could jeopardize their ability to cover the Lions receivers for inordinate amounts of time. Which seemingly gives the Lions the edge in this matchup.

So how will the Jets counter-balance this? Blitzing for $400, Alex.

That’s going to be a theme not just for Monday night, but also for the rest of the season. Head coach Todd Bowles already likes to blitz, so this is giving him the green light he’s been waiting for.

If he can get Stafford off his spot with creative blitz concepts, I really like the Jets chances of coming away from this game with a pivotal cross-conference victory.

Although on the other side of the fence if the Jets are unable to create any kind of edge rush—which is not entirely out of the question—this could be some horrible foreshadowing for the rest of the season. Despite the apparent strength in the secondary, the Jets could get picked apart on a weekly basis, which highlights the Jets interest in Khalil Mack a few weeks prior.

Which brings us to this point, if the Jets get lit up on Monday Night Football, it could light a fire under general manager Mike Maccagnan to pull the trigger on a hired mercenary to come in like Shane Ray, Dante Fowler Jr, or another edge rusher on the trade block.

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