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Jets At Lions: When New York Has The Ball

The question becomes, which Mark Sanchez is the real Sanchez? If the skittish interception-prone rookie returns for a third straight game, trouble will follow. But if it’s the cooler game manager who played without a turnover for the first five games, success is a likelihood with his arsenal of weapons. The 2009 first-round pick is 200 yards short of 4,000 for his career, and the Jets are 6-1 when he reaches 90 or better on the passer rating chart. Sanchez hands off to a unit that’s grinding out 153.4 rushing yards per week, good for third-best in the league, while the overall 337.9 yards per game average is 15th. The Jets are 12th in scoring offense, even after being shut out by the Packers last week. In his last start against the Lions, running back LaDainian Tomlinson had 116 yards in 15 carries and scored twice. Backfield mate Shonn Greene is 115 rush yards short of 1,000 for his career. On the outside, Edwards needs five catches to get to 300 and fellow wideout Santonio Holmes is 34 yards shy of 4,000. New York’s Dustin Keller is third among tight ends with five touchdown catches this year.

The Lions have been nothing short of generous when it comes to allowing yards and points, surrendering the 21st and 26th-best totals in the league through seven starts. Except for a Week 5 outing in which St. Louis managed just six points, every other team facing Detroit has scored at least 19, with five cashing in for a minimum of 24. Yardage-wise, the 275 yards the Lions allowed to Washington last week, including just 80 on the ground, was their second- stingiest performance of the season. Much havoc was created around Redskins quarterbacks Donovan McNabb and Rex Grossman, with the Lions registering seven sacks, their most since generating eight against Indianapolis 13 years ago. Rookie tackle Ndamukong Suh had two of the seven and scored on a 17-yard fumble return. He leads first-year players, not to mention the team, with 6 1/2 sacks. Veteran end Kyle Vanden Bosch has 4 1/2 sacks and a forced fumble in five career games against the Jets. Cornerback Alphonso Smith is tied for third in the league with four interceptions.