By Peter Schwartz
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Coming off of their brutal 9-0 loss to the Packers, the Jets hit the road on Sunday to face the up and coming Lions in Detroit. The Jets will be looking for their seventh straight road win dating back to last season.
The Lions come in at 2-5, but the Jets are approaching this game with caution.
Detroit is not your typical 2-5 football team.
They have won two straight at home and have been prolific on offense averaging over 26 points per game, the sixth best mark in the NFL.
They’ve done a lot of losing over the years, but all those high draft picks are paying off.
“I think when you’re drafting that high, it’s just a matter of time before it pans out,” said Jets head coach Rex Ryan. “You look at the talent that these guys have. You’ve got the quarterback (Matthew Stafford) who is clearly going to be an outstanding quarterback in this league. You’ve got Calvin Johnson, high number one. He’s outstanding.”
Johnson has 38 receptions and 8 touchdown catches and is expected to be shadowed by Darrelle Revis for most of the game. Antonio Cromartie might just cover Johnson here and there and he’ll also have to keep an eye on rookie Jahvid Best who has 36 receptions so far this season.
On defense, the Lions are tied for sixth in the NFL with 23 sacks. Defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, the second overall pick in the draft, has 6.5 sacks so far and was just named the NFL’s defensive rookie of the month for October.
“He’s an outstanding player,” said Ryan. “That’s going to be a great match-up to see this young man who I think is extremely talented against the best guard in football in Brandon Moore. That ought to be a great match-up.”
The Lions defense will present a tough challenge for the Jets. They might be ranked 21st in the league giving up over 350 yards per game, but the Lions have some guys who can make plays. One of them is defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch who has 4.5 sacks in five career games against the Jets.
“They’re just an active front four and they’re relentless,” said quarterback Mark Sanchez. “Vanden Bosch is known as just a blue-collar, tough player around this league. They’re in the right spots in their secondary. It’s a good team that’s playing well right now, coming off a big win at home. We need to play our best on the road. “
That won’t be easy against a Lions team that is averaging 37 points per game on offense at Ford Field. But the Jets do have plenty of motivation after the Green Bay disaster. They want to get the bad taste out of their mouths and the Lions are just the next team on the schedule.
“That’s the thing about the NFL,” said wide receiver Jerricho Cotchery. “There are so many games in the season. You can’t dwell on one game. We have a game coming up real fast and that’s the Detroit Lions, and those guys play incredibly hard. Their coach (Jim Schwartz) preaches to play four quarters and we just have to come out ready to play from the beginning. “
It seems like a cliché, but the Jets will need to have their motor running in Motown for sixty minutes. The sputtering offense needs to get things on track and the defense will have their hands full with the Lions’ emerging high-octane offense.
The Lions lead the all-time series 6-5 but the Jets have won two straight. The last meeting between their two teams was a 31-24 Jets win in 2006 at Giants Stadium. These two teams last squared off at Ford Field in 2002 when Chad Pennington threw four touchdown passes in a 31-14 Jets win.
While the Jets will be facing the Lions in Detroit, the team’s practice facility will be put to use on Sunday. Local boys and girls will compete in the round robin, daylong NFL Flag Football Regional Tournament at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center in Florham Park, New Jersey.
The tournament is being coordinated by the NFL and the Jets. The winning teams from each age bracket (9-11, co-ed; 12-14 boys; 12-14 girls) will advance to the National Tournament of Champions on February 26, 2011 at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports at Disney World in Orlando, FL.
Former Jets Bruce Harper and Randy Beverly will be in attendance.
Ok it’s prediction time! I think this is a tough match-up for the Jets but I can’t see them coming up with another stinker. I think the Jets offense will get back to the “ground and pound” and squeak out a 24-20 win over the Lions.
Enjoy the game!