By Tyson Rauch
The New York Jets (1-2) enter Sunday’s game against the Detroit Lions (2-1) as a team battered and beaten following two very disappointing losses. Unfortunately for Gang Green things will not be getting any easier as the Lions field a very talented and physical football team that will take it to the Jets if they do not show up to play their best game.
Contain Calvin & Co.
The Detroit Lions offense features a dynamic passing attack spearheaded by quarterback Matthew Stafford and wide receiver Calvin Johnson. Stafford is a big armed quarterback that can make every throw on the field while Johnson remains one of the best offensive players in the National Football League. The Detroit passing offense also features wide receiver Golden Tate and the very versatile running back Reggie Bush.
The first step for the New York Jets defense will be to get significant pressure on the Lions’ quarterback. Defensive linemen Muhammad Wilkerson and Sheldon Richardson must continue to collapse the pocket and force Stafford to rush his throws. Quinton Coples and Calvin Pace must control the edge and generate pressure from the outside.
New York’s pass coverage will more than likely feature Antonio Allen on Calvin Johnson with some type of safety help. The goal for the defense will be to prevent Johnson from taking over the game. After Calvin the defense must account for Reggie Bush at all times as the explosive running back is a major threat out of the backfield. There will be a premium put on tackling as the New York defense cannot afford excessive yards after the catch.
One of the best defenses in the NFL
Statistically Detroit has one of the best defensive units in the NFL as the Lions are ranked 3rd in points allowed, 1st in yards allowed, 3rd against the pass, and 2nd against the run. The Lions are fast and physical on defense and will dominate the line of scrimmage if you do not have a smash mouth approach to the game.
The New York Jets must be able to match Detroit’s intensity in the trenches and utilize a fierce ground and pound approach led by running back Chris Ivory. The Jets cannot afford to become a one dimensional pass first offense as that will fall right into the hands of Ndamukong Suh and an aggressive Lions’ pass rush . Keep an eye on the play of left guard Brian Winters as he struggled mightily the last two weeks for Gang Green.
All hands on deck
A win on Sunday will require an all out team effort from the New York Jets. Gang Green must be able to match Detroit’s physicality on both sides of the ball and play with a sense of urgency. Quarterback Geno Smith must eliminate poor decisions with the football and the team has to improve their red zone efficiency. The Jets defense and special teams cannot give up big plays due to blown assignments and mental mistakes. Bottom line: The New York Jets cannot afford another meltdown against a team that can easily blow them out of the building.
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Tyson Rauch is a freelance writer covering all things NFL. His work can be found on Examiner.com.