With the AFC playoff picture looking murkier each week, it’s very possible that the New York Jets can still make a late-season playoff push for one of the conference’s wild-card spots. In order to do that, the Jets will have to win most of their remaining games. First up, the Carolina Panthers. The Panthers will enter MetLife stadium sitting at 7-3 and one of the teams leading the charge in the NFC. In order to get a win, the Jets will need to play perhaps their best ball of the season.

Time of Possession

Every minute that Josh McCown and the offense is on the field means that arguably the Panthers best player, Cam Newton, isn’t tearing up the Jets defense. In order to win the game, the Jets will need to dominate the time of possession. Long, sustained drives will be vital in keeping Gang Green’s defense well rested and the Panthers offense off the field. If this game turns into a shootout the Jets will undoubtedly be the team that will leave the field without a win.

In order to ensure that doesn’t happen, the Jets need to establish long, sustained drives that highlight the run game. Between Bilal Powell and Elijah McGuire, some semblance of a run game needs to be initiated. Due to the stingy Panthers defense, this may consist of short passes being an extension of the run game.

Pass Rush

Through Newton’s career, most notably in the super bowl, a ferocious pass rush can heavily disrupt his rhythm. It isn’t just Newton, almost all quarterbacks get frazzled by teams disrupting their timing. That is exactly what the Jets need to do. With their young core of defensive lineman who are starting to get hot and should be well rested after the bye-week, it’s the perfect time for them to have their best game of the season.

The attack, led by Leonard Williams, will have to continuously get after Newton and company to keep the Panthers from utilizing all of their weapons. When Netwon gets rattled, he overthrows even high percentage targets. Between Marcus Maye and Jamal Adams, the Jets may be able to garnish one or two turnovers, giving them a short field to work from.

Limit the Turnovers

The 2017 season has been an interesting campaign for journeyman quarterback McCown. He has done a better job of limiting his turnovers this season, however, his decision-making doesn’t reflect the stat sheet. It seems that in each pivotal movement he throws an interception at the exact wrong time. Exhibit A- the end of the first half against the Patriots. That is just one of many, many examples of McCown turning the ball over when the Jets needed a drive down the field the most. If the Jets are somehow going to upset the 7-3 Panthers, they will need McCown to make good decisions and have his best game of the year.

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