Jacksonville at New York Jets 11-15-09

November 15, 2009


An impressive start made the New York Jets one of the biggest surprises this season. Losing four of five with a struggling Mark Sanchez at quarterback has dropped them to .500 and tempered their brash confidence. The Jets emerge from their bye week looking to get off to a strong start to the second half of their season Sunday against the visiting Jacksonville Jaguars, another .500 club trying to show improvement. New York (4-4) got off to a surprising 3-0 start to the season behind strong play from Sanchez and its revamped defense under new coach Rex Ryan. That surge – which included a 16-9 upset of New England in Week 2 – appeared to make the Jets a contender in the AFC East. However, dropping four of their next five has left them two games back of the division-leading Patriots.

Sanchez, who turned 23 Wednesday, was solid in the first three games, accumulating 606 passing yards with four touchdowns and two interceptions. He wasn’t nearly as effective in the next five, completing 49.6 percent of his passes for 837 yards with four TDs and eight picks, five coming in an overtime loss to Buffalo on Oct. 18. He ran for a score in each of the last two games and went 20 for 35 for 265 yards and two touchdowns against the Dolphins in Week 8. In an effort to continue his development, Sanchez spent the bye week watching video and when he’d see an errant throw, a missed read or poor footwork, he wanted to run out onto the field and redo the play.

The Jaguars (4-4), losers of three of four road games, are looking to get after Sanchez, and their defensive changes could help them accomplish that after they beat Kansas City 24-21 last week. Coach Jack Del Rio switched to a 4-3 defense against the Chiefs after the 3-4 proved to be ineffective. The unit, which was called “insulting, ugly and embarrassing” by Del Rio after a 30-13 loss at Tennessee on Nov. 1, turned in its best performance of the season against Kansas City, allowing 301 yards – only 60 on the ground – while recording three sacks. Jacksonville’s eight sacks are the fewest in the NFL.

Jacksonville has won five of seven meetings with the Jets, including all three at the Meadowlands. The Jaguars took the last matchup there 26-20 on Sept. 25, 2005, and beat New York again at home 41-0 on Oct. 8, 2006.  Jets need this game badly, coming off the bye week i like them to be motivated.

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