Saying the New York Jets’ upcoming showdown with the New England Patriots is a big game is an understatement. This is a must-win for several reasons. The Jets can emerge victorious by following a few steps.
Bring the pressure to Tom Brady: Any team that plays the Patriots knows you must do this to win. As great of a quarterback as Tom Brady is, he does not operate well when defenders are in his face. The front seven will have to really come up big and take him down for the sack or make him throw the ball away. Rex Ryan and Dennis Thurman will have to create some If Brady does not play well, then the Jets have done their job on defense.
The secondary must step up: Those who watch football and follow it religiously will tell you that the Jets have a great defense. However, their secondary is the biggest weakness. Antonio Cromartie has not been the cornerback everyone is used to seeing, and Dee Milliner has been missed most of the season due to a hamstring injury. Both will need to have a strong game and help put together the last piece of the puzzle on defense to help seal a victory.
Make Gronk useless: One of the biggest stories, if not the biggest, of this game is the return of Rob Gronkowski. Brady has had a hard time connecting with his tight ends this season, but having Gronkowski back will give him a reliable target at the position that can do a lot of damage. Injured or not, Gronkowski is still dangerous for any defense to face. When Jets are facing the Patriots’ offense, they cannot give him any room to get open. If the Jets can hold Gronkowski to a mediocre performance, it will put more pressure on New England's young receivers who are still trying to adjust to playing with Tom Brady.
Get going on the ground: The Jets have a good rushing attack. Last week against the Steelers, they stepped away from running the ball and put heavy concentration on throwing the ball downfield. Bilal Powell has proven to be a solid halfback who will fight for extra yards, and Chris Ivory. In addition, Geno Smith is quick and can move the chains with his legs. If the Jets can establish the run and move the ball effectively, it will keep Brady off the field, take pressure off of Smith, and lead to the Jets scoring points. With Vince Wilfork and Jerrod Mayo missing the game due to season-ending injuries, the Jets can really hit them where it hurts.
Get loud, Jets fans: Jets fans are loud and passionate and should show it at MetLife Stadium, especially when the Patriots’ offense is on the field. Doing so can cause communication issues, delay of game penalties, false start penalties, and the Patriots to call timeouts that they may need later in the game. The 12th man could be a huge key to a big Jets win. When the videos are playing to tell the fans to get loud, they need to deliver. Like Rex Ryan said, Brady and company will have to face the fans as well.
The next few weeks will be tough for the Jets as they will face the Cincinnati Bengals and the New Orleans Saints after they finish their game with the Patriots. This is not only a big divisional game, but a big game that can help define their season. It will be tough, but it is very possible for the Jets to stand at 4-3 at the end of the game.
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