For the Ravens vs Jets Week 7 matchup, here are the top three keys to victory for Gang Green.
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Oct 17, 2016; Glendale, AZ, USA; New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles looks on during the first half against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports
In the Ravens vs Jets Week 7 matchup, Gang Green will return home to take on the Baltimore Ravens in a game that means a lot for both teams. Gang Green’s campaign can turn into a circus while John Harbaugh’s group is in need of a win to get them back in the postseason discussion. With a loss, the Jets would fall to 1-6. The Ravens, on the other hand, would sink to 3-4 after beginning the year 3-0.
New York continues to trip over their own feet. Redzone miscues, blown coverages, dropped passes and ineptitude at quarterback have plagued them big time. It’s gotten to the point where Geno Smith is now the man under center. Ryan Fitzpatrick deserved to be benched after a league-high 11 interceptions through the first six weeks, although Smith is by no means a long-term answer. This move is a last-ditch effort by the coaching staff to save the season.
Baltimore is falling apart as well, but not nearly as bad. They’ve lost three contests in a row by one possession, unlike the Jets who have gotten hammered. The secondary is taking a turn for the worst and the injuries on the offensive side are piling up. Mike Wallace isn’t 100%, Steve Smith is sidelined and Joe Flacco might not play either. With that being said, look for offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg to tread lightly given the receivers and perhaps quarterback they’ll be using.
A 1-5 start was obviously possible for Todd Bowles and company, however, it wasn’t expected. This team still has talent and the Ravens in the Meadowlands could be their most favorable matchup thus far. Can they finally come out on top? Here are top three keys to victory for New York.
Sep 11, 2016; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Cincinnati Bengals running back Giovani Bernard (25) runs through New York Jets defensive tackle Leonard Williams (92) and defensive tackle Lawrence Thomas (97) in the second half at MetLife Stadium. The Bengals defeated the Jets 23-22. Mandatory Credit: William Hauser-USA TODAY Sports
3. Load the box
The Jets front-seven is tremendous, which makes the spectacle last Monday night quite the head-scratcher. David Johnson put on an absolute clinic. He carried the ball 22 times for 111 yards and three touchdowns, something that hasn’t been done on Gang Green’s defense in a long time. You’d have to date back to 2011 when LeSean McCoy and the Eagles dropped 45 points on New York in Week 15. ‘Shady’ that day had 18 carries for 102 yards and three touchdowns.
What’s scary is that Baltimore has established a similar rushing attack. Terrance West has already racked up 414 yards and three touchdowns on 88 carries. Let’s not forget, Justin Forsett was poaching a lot of his touches before he was released. It wasn’t until two outings ago where West finally earned the bulk of the work. Had he been the featured back since Week 1, he’d probably have well over 500 yards.
Whether Flacco suits up or not, Mornhinweg won’t ask much of his quarterback. The receiving core is ridden with injuries and West has been very productive. As a result, Bowles needs to keep everyone close to the line of scrimmage and brace for the run. First and second down will be extremely predictable. On third down, you can expect plenty of quick timing routes. The Jets know Mornhinweg’s west coast offense well, so there’s no excuse to get ripped apart yet again.
Oct 9, 2016; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; New York Jets wide receiver Quincy Enunwa (81) runs the ball against Pittsburgh Steelers safety Sean Davis (28) during the first half of their game at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports
Quincy Enunwa was surprisingly a non-factor until garbage time against Arizona. Offensive coordinator Chan Gailey for some reason used Charone Peake, Robby Anderson, and Jalin Marshall more frequently. Not to mention, he continuously ran on first and second down when it wasn’t working at all. The Cardinals were feasting on turnover opportunities as every play seemed forced. Fitzpatrick is lucky only one of his footballs were picked off.
The Nebraska product has been an underrated piece of the disastrous 2014 John Idzik draft class. He was rarely utilized in 2015 outside of his blocking ability and still managed to post 315 yards on 22 receptions. This season, he has 336 yards and a touchdown on 30 catches. Eric Decker‘s absence is giving him more looks, but you can’t hide his emergence and meaning to the offense. If he were to go down (knock on wood), things would be laughable at wideout until Devin Smith returns.
Gailey must use Enunwa in every way possible. Slants, drags, posts, jet sweeps, anything to get the football in his hands. The Ravens are at an advantage with interception-prone Geno Smith under center, although their secondary is a bit banged up. Jimmy Smith, Shareece Wright, Jerraud Powers and Kendrick Lewis are all nicked up in some way. All Smith needs to do is take care of the football. Involve Enunwa early and often.
Since the IK Enemkpali incident in August of 2015, Smith has been itching to get back on the field. Due to stellar play from Fitzpatrick, there was never a thought of him regaining his job. A touchdown to interception ratio of 2.06 to 1 is one of the best stats the Jets have seen at quarterback in over a decade. However, a dismal start to the 2016 campaign for the Harvard graduate proved to be enough to give Smith one last shot.
The 2013 second-round selection was inconsistent in his first two years throwing for 5,571 yards with 25 touchdowns and 34 interceptions. His mobility is the part of his skill set that kept him in charge. In those two seasons, he totaled 604 rushing yards and seven touchdowns. When you factor in his arm and how accurate he can be, the potential is there. The only issue is and always will be his decision-making. He does a lot of things most quarterbacks wouldn’t dare to do.
At 1-5, New York had no other choice but to make this move. It’s a risk that had to be taken and maybe it could give them the boost they need to string together a few wins. What Gailey needs to do is take off this guy’s leash. Let him air it out, scramble and be the leader of the unit. What do they have to lose? Unless we see Mark Sanchez 2012-esque play from Smith, it can’t get much worse, can it? Let him try to be the hero before seeing what the youngsters have in store.