New York Jets (2-1) at Baltimore Ravens (2-1) Game Preview

Last Meeting: The Ravens spoiled the opening of New Meadowlands (now MetLife) Stadium with a Week 1 Monday night 10-9 victory. The Jets did not look sharp at all. Mark Sanchez hit only 10 of 21 passes for 74 yards, while New York racked up 13 penalties and 120 yards.

Key Matchup When the Jets Have the Ball: Mark Sanchez vs. Ed Reed

Mark Sanchez has taken a lot of chances early in the season. Some have resulted in huge plays, but he also has four interceptions in three games as a result. In a game with two stout defenses, turnovers and field position are going to be very important. Nobody is better at jumping routes, reading the quarterback, and making plays on bad throws than Reed.

Key Matchup When the Ravens Have the Ball: Ray Rice vs. David Harris

Joe Flacco gets some headlines, but Rice is the most important player on Baltimore’s offense. The Ravens love to run it up the gut. According to Football Outsiders, over half of their run plays this season have been up the middle. Can Harris, New York’s best tackler, finish his tackles to limit Rice?

Three Simple Keys for the Jets:

1. Take Advantage on the Outside:
The temptation will exist to try and assert the run game that has been a staple of New York’s offense but has struggled so far. The Ravens have a ton of really good run defenders in the front seven (Ray Lewis, Haloti Ngata, Terrell Suggs, Terrence Cody), though, and Nick Mangold’s status is up in the air. The Jets can exploit Baltimore’s sometimes shaky corners with Santonio Holmes and Plaxico Burress through the air. That is where the edge is for New York.

2. Correct the Breakdowns: The Jets did not get blown off the ball consistently in Oakland last week when the Raiders had a big rushing day. The Raiders just took advantage of a handful of plays where Jets got out of position and blew tackles, breaking some huge gains. Gang Green needs to be more fundamentally sound this week defensively.

3. Give Wayne Hunter Help: The Ravens play an attacking style on defense. It seems likely they will look to exploit Terrell Suggs against Wayne Hunter the same way the Cowboys used DeMarcus Ware Week 1 to avoid D’Brickashaw Ferguson. The Jets need to give Hunter help consistently when this happens in the form of an extra blocker or at least a chip by a back or a tight end in the area to throw the rusher off balance.

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