The Jets stroll into Baltimore on Sunday still in control of their playoff destiny. The fans would love to see the Jets continue their roller coaster season since this week is supposed to be a W if we’re going by that. Baltimore will be tough for the Jets and Geno Smith. Here are five things to keep an eye on Sunday in Baltimore.
All Eyes On Geno
The Jets have dialed back the pass the last few weeks and when they do pass, Geno Smith has been terrible. He’s been criticized for staring down receivers too much and holding onto the ball. Rookie mistakes. But, the fact that they are staying away from Smith’s arm is the real concern. It doesn’t give him confidence. He needs to keep throwing to get his confidence back.
I suspect the Jets won’t try and pass too much again this weekend. If Geno falters with limited passing plays, it’ll be another long day and yet another hit to Smith’s confidence.
See what I did there? Man, the Jets offensive line is STRUGGLING. Mainly D’Brickashaw Ferguson and rookie guard Brian Winters. In Buffalo, Geno rarely played with a clean pocket. Buffalo’s front is no joke and neither is the Ravens, though it’s possible Haloti Ngata will not go again this week.
Smith’s best throws are when he has time to read the defense and make a strong throw. He senses pressure? Look out. They are playing with two new lineman this season but their struggles are still somewhat surprising.
If they protect Geno, they should win. Plain and simple.
The Stephen Hill Project
Word is, Stephen Hill is going to be or at the very least, on the verge of being benched. Quite honestly, he should be. He’s played terrible. He has 10 catches over last 7 games and has a 15.3 yards per game average. Not exactly exciting numbers for a second-year receiver taken in the second round. Hopefully losing some snaps will wake Hill up.
He gets dominated by much smaller defensive backs. Right now, he’s struggling and we’ll see how he responds to losing snaps.
The Deep Ball
I’m going to say it, Ed Reed will have a positive effect this week on the deep ball attempts. I predict he’ll get his first interception as a member of the Jets. The Ravens will attempt to rush with Ray Rice but the Jets aren’t going to allow Rice to beat them. It’ll be the same test, week in and week out for the Jets: Stop the deep ball. And all that starts up front with the defensive line. When they pressure, the defense is successful (see Saints game), when they don’t, the secondary takes a hit (see Bills game).
Joe Flacco has been wildly inconsistent after last years amazing playoff run and eventual Super Bowl victory. He was rewarded this offseason with a huge contract and rewarded the organization with a mediocre season so far.
Ed Reed has to know Flacco’s tendencies. If he doesn’t, let me help: Flacco throws wildly when under pressure and he tries to do to much. He’ll lob it up for grabs a lot. The secondary needs to be on their heels. If mistakes from Buffalo re-emerge. Flacco will get bailed out by the lack of attention being paid by the Jets secondary.
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