By Peter Schwartz
» More Columns
Jets head coach Rex Ryan won’t be getting an easy bounce-back opponent after watching his team get their doors blown off by the 49ers.
While he would prefer to face Summit High School, Ryan’s team will have another tough task on their hands Monday night as they face the 4-0 Houston Texans at MetLife Stadium.
“I think we have to get better,” said Ryan. “We can’t worry about who we play. The fact that we’re playing the team that is regarded as the best team in the National Football League, we have to improve ourselves.”
Jet fans — start worrying!
The Texans can pretty much do it all. They have an explosive offense led by Matt Schaub, Andre Johnson and Arian Foster. In the air and on the ground, the Jets’ underachieving defense has to find a way to slow down the Texans.
“They’re a great football team,” said defensive lineman Mike DeVito. “They can do a lot of stuff. (They have) a great running attack. It can be a long day if we don’t stop the run. We recognize that. We’ll focus on that and we’ll get it done.”
Andre Johnson has one touchdown in five career games against the Jets — but Darrelle Revis isn’t around to shut him down. That job belongs to Antonio Cromartie, who has never covered him before.
“He’s one of the best receivers in the game,” said Cromartie. “Throughout his whole 10-year career, I think he’s averaged 90, 91, 92 yards a game, every single game. He’s a big, physical receiver that can get in and out of his breaks, (and can position his body to make the catch). He knows how to use his body very well. The biggest thing for me is just going in and playing my game, trying to be physical and just do the things I need to do.”
The Texans are not too shabby on defense either. And that’s an understatement.
“Yeah, they’re a very good defense,” said Jets backup quarterback-slash-wildcat specialist-slash-punt protector Tim Tebow. “They make a lot of plays, they’re very sound, it’s hard to get over the top (and) they have a lot of great playmakers up front.”
Let by J.J. Watt, the Texans can really get after the quarterback as they have registered 13 sacks through four games. Mark Sanchez is no stranger to taking a hit so he could very well feel the pressure on Monday night.
“They’re tough,” said Sanchez. “J.J. Watt looks great. (Brian) Cushing, former roommate and good friend of mine, looks good. In the secondary, a really improved group with (Johnathan) Joseph and (Kareem) Jackson, so it’s a heck of a group. We’re going to have our work cut out for us, just like every week. We’re excited about the challenge.”
While moving the ball through the air will be difficult against a Texans secondary led by Joseph, it won’t exactly be any easier for the Jets anemic running game to establish anything themselves. The Texans are giving up just over 90 yards a game on the ground.
Any way you break this game down, it figures to be another struggle for the Jets.
JETS/TEXANS ALL-TIME SERIES
The Jets have never lost to the Houston Texans. They lead the all-time series 5-0. In the last meeting on November 21, 2010, at what was then called New Meadowlands Stadium, Mark Sanchez hooked up with Santonio Holmes on the game winning six-yard touchdown pass with ten seconds left.
JETS ON MONDAY NIGHT
The Jets are 19-25 all-time when they play on Monday Night Football. They are 12-8 at home on MNF, most recently a 24-6 victory over the Dolphins last season.
Gang Green has been no stranger to prime time games, but it’s still very special to be chosen to play on Monday night.
“Absolutely,” said Tim Tebow. “It’s going to be very exciting. I think we’ll be fired up, we’ll be ready to go. It’s going to be a lot of fun.”
“It’s great,” said Mark Sanchez. “It’s fun. Everybody back home watches and you get the music, (the) Monday night music going and all that. It’ll be a great atmosphere and we’re excited to play at home.”
This will be the first time that the Jets and Texans have met on MNF. For what it’s worth, the Jets never faced the Houston Oilers on a Monday night — until the Oilers moved to Tennessee.
The Texans, by the way, are 1-3 on Monday Night Football.
BEHIND ENEMY LINES
The Texans bring their fearsome defense to MetLife Stadium, and one of their tasks will be preparing to face both Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow. So far through four games, opponents have been successful in shutting down the Jets wildcat package and Sanchez has not been very good since the Jets’ season opening win over Buffalo.
Still, the Texans are doing their homework.
“I think they’re very difficult to prepare for because there’s basically two forms of offense that you could encounter on game day,” said Texans head coach Gary Kubiak. “The time you have to prepare doesn’t change. Obviously, we have a lot of work to do this week in preparing for them, our defense preparing for them offensively.”
The Texans have to be licking their chops when look at the Jets defense on film. The Jets are ranked 31st in the NFL in defending the run while the Texans are averaging over 136 yards on the ground.
On paper, it looks like a mismatch, but the Texans aren’t taking anything for granted.
“For us, we know we’re going to face a great defensive football team, always have,” said Kubiak. “We haven’t beaten them since I’ve been here and we’re expecting their best and know we’ll get it. We’re trying to stay focused on what we can do to prepare to win and stay focused on our team and the things that we have to do to be successful. That’s where we’re trying to approach this game.”
The Texans won’t have to worry about Revis, who is out for the season with a knee injury. That means that Johnson will likely be matched up against Cromartie.
“I’ve never had a chance to play against him,” said Johnson. “I think he’s a good player. I think he has great length as a defensive back. It’s rare that you find defensive backs his size. I think he’s a good player. A lot of the times he doesn’t receive a lot of the credit that he should receive because he plays with Revis, but I think he’s a pretty good player.”
Other Texans notes…
You might see some No. 46 Texans jerseys in the stands Monday night. Texans long snapper Jon Weeks is from Bethpage. He played college football at Baylor after being discovered at a special teams camp conducted by the school’s special teams coach.
If the Texans win, they will become Houston’s first 5-0 pro football team since the USFL’s Houston Gamblers in 1985.
Hey Jets fans! Do you remember the 1995 game against the Raiders? You know what I’m talking about… the game when Rich Kotite thought it would be a good idea to start Vance Joseph at cornerback against and Oakland receiver group that included Time Brown. Yeah, that Vance Joseph… the guy who had never played cornerback before.
“It’s not a good time to put an inexperienced guy out there,” said Brown after the game that night. “On an NFL, Sunday night TV game? That’s not a smart thing to do. The problem is if he makes a mistake, it’s probably going to lead to some points being put on the board and that’s what happened.”
It wasn’t smart as the Jets were pummeled 47-10 at Giants Stadium.
With a rash of injuries, the Jets turned to Joseph, a former running back and cornerback for the University of Colorado. On that fateful Sunday night against the Silver and Black, Joseph was torched for two touchdowns.
Joseph will be back at the Meadowlands Monday night, this time as defensive backs coach of the Texans.
Hey, it’s a Monday night game. You know what that means. I don’t need to tell you what channel the game is on. I don’t even need to let you know the broadcasters.
The Jets want to remind ticket holders to bring “Texans Game 3 parking pass and tickets.” I’m guessing that, in the past, some fans may have brought the wrong tickets to the game.
Parking lots will open at 3:30 p.m. while will call opens up at 5:30 p.m. Stadium gates will open at 6:30 p.m. and warm-ups will commence at 7:30 p.m.
The Jets are asking that all fans get to the stadium gates by 7:45 p.m. so they can be in your seats for a special Monday night version of player introductions and pyrotechnics.
The national anthem will be performed by the Broadway cast of “Jersey Boys.”
Don’t forget to pick up a Ring of Honor poster on your way out of the game.
The Jets will recognize breast cancer awareness month on Monday night. The Atlantic Health Jets Women’s Organization will partner with the American Cancer Society for their Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk on October 21st in Parsippany, New Jersey.
IT’S RING OF HONOR NIGHT
Defensive end Mark Gastineau and wide receiver Wesley Walker will be inducted into the Jets Ring of Honor at halftime Monday night. The former Jets greats will be honored at halftime of the Jets-Dolphins game on October 28 at MetLife Stadium.
Gastineau set what was then an NFL record with 22 sacks in 1984. No. 99 registered 107.5 career sacks, which is a franchise record.
“It’s incredible,” said Gastineau of his selection. “I’m taken back by it. It’s a big honor and it’s an honor that I will cherish. It brings back memories.”
Walker spent all 13 of his NFL seasons with the Jets and had 438 catches for 8.306 yards and 71 touchdowns.
“I am honored,” said Walker. “I’m also privileged to have played with Mark Gastineau and privileged to have been a New York Jet. I’m honored to be in with the cast that has already been inducted.”
Since the Jets could use some help with their pass rush and they are a little thin at wide receiver, perhaps they can dust off No. 99 and give Chaz Schillens another number and have Mark and Wesley suit up!
No really, it would be a good idea!
Okay, I’ll stop now!
My record this season: 3-1
I fully expect to go 4-1. The Jets have no chance in this game. They had very little chance with Revis and Holmes. They just won’t be able to compete with the Texans. If Sanchez has a rough first half, even if it’s not all his fault, it just might be Tebow Time!
Texans 45, Jets 9
That’s all for now — check back Tuesday for a recap.
What’s your prediction? Be heard in the comments below!