The entire country will be watching tomorrow as the New York Jets try to make a big statement when they take on the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium. Although the Patriots are a tough team to play, this game is very winnable if they do a few things well.
Take care of the football: The Jets will have to bring their A-game and play mistake-free football. Turnovers should be very costly in this game for both teams. It will be very important that Geno Smith does not force any throws in coverage and just throw the ball away if he has nowhere to go. If the Jets can march down the field, avoid giving the ball away, and put points on the board, they will be able to keep up with New England.
Geno must show his skill set: After being drafted in the second round, Geno Smith set out on a mission to prove that he deserved to be drafted in the first round. In week one, he showed some very positive signs against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Against the Patriots, Smith will have to show everything he can do. That means he must throw as well as he did on Sunday, and maybe even better, and run for the first down if he cannot find an open receiver. Showing his abilities on the ground and in the air can make it confusing for the Patriots defense in terms of how to approach him.
Pressure Tom Brady: As great of a quarterback as Tom Brady is, he looks very average when defenders get in his face. The Jets pass rush did not look too bad against the Buccaneers, and they will have to get in Brady’s face all game. Brady already has a depleted group of receivers compared to last season. With constant pressure coming at him, he may have to force some throws that could lead to turnovers and big scoring opportunities for the Jets. Stopping Brady will be the most important thing on this week's to-do list.
Block, block, block: The offensive line definitely has room for improvement. It is no secret that the Jets will still run the ball quite a bit, especially on short yardage situations. In addition, Geno Smith is still learning the pace of NFL action. The big guys up front need to give Geno Smith enough time to make confident decisions and allow room for Chris Ivory and Bilal Powell to run through and pick up yards. They will need to keep their drives alive and moving and keep Tom Brady off the field.
Stay disciplined: Not only is this a road game at Gillette Stadium, but it is also the Patriots' first home game of the season. Nerves will be high whether players admit it or not, which can cause a great amount of penalties. The Jets cannot find themselves making mistakes. You cannot defeat the Patriots if you give them chances to keep moving and stay in the game.
On top of all that, the Patriots will be missing a few key players. This does not guarantee a victory, but this gives the Jets a chance to take advantage of players who are not as dynamic as Rob Gronkowski, Danny Amendola, and Shane Vereen. It will not be easy to defeat New England on their home turf, but it is very possible as long as the Jets follow this guidelines and attack at full speed. For the Jets, it will be sweet to leave Gillette Stadium 2-0 and leading the AFC East, especially after all the low expectations and criticisms that have come from analysts and reporters all off-season.
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