Keys to Victory: Jets at Broncos

Sunday’s Storyline:

Less than four days removed from New York’s disappointing 37-16 home loss to New England, the Jets trek to Denver aiming to put Sunday Night’s loss in their rearview mirror. The Jets squandered a golden opportunity to surge ahead of the Patriots in the standings along with a chance to host a home playoff game for the first time since 2002. Now with division title hopes fading, Gang Green sets its sights on Tim Tebow and Denver’s unconventional offensive attack. The Broncos are 2-0 with Tebow under center and the fans at Invesco Stadium will be in full throat as they support their unorthodox and spirited new quarterback. The Jets look to avoid a Sunday Night hangover as they fight for their playoff lives in a Thursday night showdown.


1. Do it for Dad

Deep rooted in football lore, Buddy Ryan’s 46 defense revolutionized the NFL. A staple of the Chicago Bears 1985 championship team, the “46” as it was called, gave opposing offenses fits. Since that time offensive coordinators have implemented spread formations to find matchups on the outside and force linebackers to play coverage instead of stacking the box for the run and pressuring the quarterback. In 2011, the Denver Broncos run a read option offense, frequently used at the college level to take advantage of a quarterback’s rushing ability. With Rex Ryan’s father inventing the kryptonite to a read option offense, it behooves the Jets to harken back to the days of the ’85 bears and use six linebackers to bottle up Tim Tebow and the Broncos bruising rushing attack.

2. Get offensive

Given the Broncos run heavy offense, the Jets will be left with fewer offensive possessions to produce points. New York can ill-afford to start slow as Denver’s ball control offense will make it doubly difficult for the Jets to mount a comeback. Gang Green’s red zone efficiency is critical as finishing drives with touchdowns will force the Broncos to move the ball through the air to get back in contention. Opposing a 20th rank pass defense, Mark Sanchez can exploit a secondary that has allowed four quarterbacks to pass for at least 300 yards. If the Jets can establish the run early they’ll have opportunities for big yardage with their play-action passes.

3. Let the Special Teams be Special

In Week 10 against New England, Jets punter Mike Conley did an exceptional job of pinning the Patriots deep in their own territory. Conley average 48.4 yards per punt while downing the ball inside the 20 yard-line twice. New York will need a repeat performance from Conley to force Tebow and the Broncos to drive the length of the field to score against Rex Ryan’s defense. Kick returner Joe McKnight muffed a punt last Sunday Night and in doing so handed New England three points. McKnight has been brilliant for New York this season averaging over 40 yards per kick return. The Jets will need McKnight to bounce back from his hiccup in Week 10 and revert to his game breaking ability in the return game. Placekicker Nick Folk will have to rebound also as he hooked a 24 yard field goal on Gang Green’s opening drive against the Patriots. If the Jets gain the extra boost from the special teams unit they will be in tremendous position to get back on the winning track.

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