On Sunday the New York Jets (2-0) try to build on their fast start as the team takes on the Philadelphia Eagles (0-2) at MetLife Stadium (1 p.m. EST). The Jets are no doubt flying high following their impressive win over the Colts while the Eagles are battered and bruised after a disappointing performance against the Cowboys. Here are some of the keys to the game from a New York perspective.
Next man up– The wide receiver position has quickly become a concern for the Jets as Chris Owusu will be out 2-3 weeks while Eric Decker is a game time decision. Rookie Devin Smith is expected to make his season debut on Sunday with Jeremy Kerley to see significant reps as well. Both of these players must maximize their opportunities to pick up the slack for Decker and take some coverage off of Brandon Marshall.
Running back by committee- With Chris Ivory nursing an injury the Jets could utilize Bilal Powell and Zac Stacy to establish their rushing attack. The Eagles defense could be without several starters including Kiko Alonso therefore Gang Green must wear them down with the ground and pound. Look for the Jets to attack the middle of the Eagles front.
Dominate the line of scrimmage- The Eagles offensive line is off to a rough start as they have been unable to set up any type of ground attack. Philadelphia is ranked last in the NFL in rushing and that is due in large part to the struggles up front. The Jets front seven must continue this trend and apply consistent pressure in order to disrupt Chip Kelly’s offense.
Beat up Bradford- As is the goal each week the Jets defense wants to get as many hits on Sam Bradford as possible. Bradford has struggled getting the ball down the field and is starting to look a bit uncomfortable in the pocket. Gang Green must use a variety of schemes to not only confuse the Eagles signal caller but force him into bad throws as well. Keep an eye on cornerback Buster Skrine as he has been very effective in blitz packages.
Account for Sproles– With DeMarco Murray dealing with an injury there is a decent chance the Eagles offense could feature Ryan Mathews and Darren Sproles. Both of these backs have the ability to put up big numbers most notably Sproles who is an electrifying playmaker with the football in his hand. The Jets defense must account for Darren at all times, especially as a receiver out of the backfield.
Outside linebackers– An area of concern for the Jets defense is at outside linebacker where Lorenzo Mauldin is returning from a concussion while Trevor Reilly is out with a finger issue. There is a chance that the Jets could have to bring up Deion Barnes from the practice squad for some depth. Not an ideal situation for a position that you rely on to generate some type of pass rush.
The Jets seem to be firing on all cylinders while the Eagles are somewhat dazed and confused by their disappointing start. The key for Gang Green will be to get off to a fast start and put some points on the board. If the defense can generate consistent three and outs, the offense must then grind down the Eagles defense with time consuming drives.
It is hard to not like the Jets in this game as the team should come out very inspired in front of their loyal fans. The defense should be able to get after Sam Bradford while the offense could do some damage with the rushing attack. Brandon Marshall versus Byron Maxwell will be a match-up to watch. Jets 21-17