The New York Jets will pad up on their home field for the first time in 2013 tonight when they host the Jacksonville Jaguars at MetLife Stadium. This is the second preseason game for the Jets, and an important one on many fronts. There are position battles still to be decided, a quarterback controversy with a twist and the debut of Chris Ivory. Mark Sanchez will start at quarterback for the Jets, with Geno Smith sitting out.
New York Jets vs. Jacksonville Jaguars: What to Watch For:
Mark Sanchez: How will Mark Sanchez react to being gifted with a second straight start? It's a golden opportunity to widen the gap in the quarterback competition with Geno Smith. If Mark Sanchez can play a truly clean game and command the offense tonight, it will be tough to justify giving Geno Smith the start next week against the New York Giants. Geno Smith will not play tonight against the Jaguars.
Chris Ivory: The Jets acquired Chris Ivory to be the workhorse and provide some punch to their running game. He will strap up in a game situation for the Jets for the first time tonight, a great chance to see what he has to offer as the main back this season.
Offensive Line: Don't be surprised to see some shuffling over the course of the night. While the starting five appear to be settled (D'Brickashaw Ferguson, Stephen Peterman, Nick Mangold, Willie Colon and Austin Howard, left to right), the Jets will likely mix in Vlad Ducasse, J.B. Shugarts and Caleb Schlauderaff to get a feel for how they will fit in as the first men in off the bench.
Safety Battle: Antonio Allen and Jaiquawn Jarrett continue to battle it out for the starting safety spot next to Dawan Landry. Jarrett appears to be in the lead and is slated to start, but a big game from Allen could tip things back in his favor. Two talented players looking to claim the only spot on the defense truly up for grabs.
Front Seven: It will be interesting to see how the Jets fare against Maurice Jones-Drew, who will make his preseason debut tonight. The front seven of the Jets is expected to be a dominant unit that helps carry the team and should be the bedrock of the defense. Muhammad Wilkerson, Quinton Coples, David Harris and the rest of the gang on defense will look to build off a strong, albeit short outing against the Detroit Lions last week.
There's a chance that a lot of questions can be answered tonight for the Jets. There are huge opportunities out there for Mark Sanchez, Chris Ivory, Jaiquawn Jarrett and Antonio Allen. All in all, the biggest hope for tonight should be that the Jets establish a physical presence in the trenches and emerge from the game without any major health issues.
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