NFL Preview: Packers at Jets : Packers Insider

NFL Preview: Packers at Jets

October 28, 2010 by  
Filed under News

Oct 28, 2010 ~ by Jeff Maillet & Rob Reischel, PackerInsider

~When: Noon. Where: New Meadowlands Stadium.

Television: Fox. Radio: AM-620 in Milwaukee metro area.Wayne Larrivee will call the play-by-play action for the Packers Radio Network with Larry McCarren providing the analysis.

Line: Jets by 5. Series record: Jets lead, 8-2.

Last time they met: Jets38, Packers 10, on Dec. 3, 2006, at Lambeau Field.

Jets quarterback Chad Pennington put together three touchdown drives of 70 yards or more in the second quarter as New York cruised to an easy victory.

New York (7-5) built a 31-0 halftime lead as snow flurries floated to the ground and boos showered down from the grandstands on a windy 19-degree day.

Pennington, who was 25 of 35 for 263 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions, connected with eight receivers. Cedric Houston carried 22 times for a career-high 105 yards and two touchdowns.

Fans booed the Packers (4-8) several times and loudly as they jogged to the tunnel at halftime.

“I’d be booing too,” McCarthy said. “Shoot, they should boo us. I’ve got no problem with that. This is a man’s league, a man’s business and a man’s game.”

Packer spotlight: Receiver James Jones, who entered the Minnesota game with 177 yards receiving this season, caught four passes for 107 yards against the Vikings. The Packers need Jones, who had a costly fumble against the Bears in Week 3, to put up solid numbers to help fill the void left by injured tight end Jermichael Finley.

The defensive line is in shambles. Cullen Jenkins strained a calf muscle before the Vikings game, and Ryan Pickett left the game after hurting his ankle.

The loss of those two, plus the likely season-ending shoulder surgery to rookie end Mike Neal, leaves the team with three linemen: starting nose tackle B.J. Raji, second-year end Jarius Wynn and rookie end C.J. Wilson.

Jets spotlight: Darrelle Revis is one Jet who really needed the bye week. The star cornerback has an injured hamstring, which was not fully healed in New York’s last game in Denver. Revis rehabbed his injury at the Jets facility all last week.

The team reviewed video of the 24-20 win over the Broncos and saw lots of room for improvement, but also something coach Rex Ryan said is becoming a hallmark of this year’s team.

“We made plenty of mistakes, a ton of mistakes, yet we never gave up faith,” Ryan said. “I see the confidence we have in each other and how hard we play for each other. We don’t quit.

THE MATCHUPS

QUARTERBACKS

Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers has already thrown more interceptions this year (nine) than he did all of last season (seven). Rodgers’ two interceptions against Minnesota came in Vikings’ territory and likely took points off the board.

New York Jets Mark Sanchez throws a pass against the Minnesota Vikings during the 2nd quarter at The New Meadowlands Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, Monday, October 11, 2010. Sanchez didn't throw an interception or fumble over the first four games of the season. He's gone from a huge weakness, to a nice game-manager.

New York’s Mark Sanchez is an emerging young player. Sanchez’s arm strength isn’t special, but he’s extremely poised for a 23-year-old quarterback. He hasn’t made many big plays, but he hasn’t made any critical mistakes.

→ ADVANTAGE: Packers

RUNNING BACKS

New York’s LaDainian Tomlinson has discovered the fountain of youth and is averaging 5.3 yards per carry and 81.7 yards per game. Tomlinson isn’t as nifty as he once was, but he’s running hard and with a purpose. Second-year man Shonn Greene, a star in last year’s playoffs, was supposed to be the lead back but has taken a back seat to Tomlinson.

Future Hall of Famer LaDanian Tomlinson is showing he still has legs left after the Chargers cast him away. Somewhat similar to the spark New England got when Oakland jettisoned Randy Moss to New England, the AFC East has benefitted from the AFC West. The Jets also plunked away CB Antonio Cromartie from San Diego. These are two of many key moves the Jets have made to build their team, in a manner that Ted Thompson would never do.

Still, Greene is a load who lacks breakaway speed. Green Bay’s Brandon Jackson is averaging a respectable 4.5 yards per carry.

→ ADVANTAGE: Jets

RECEIVERS

Green Bay’s James Jones had a big game vs. Minnesota, crossing the 100-yard barrier for just the fourth time in his career. Greg Jennings also has produced at a high level the last two weeks, with 207 total yards and two TDs. The Jets traded for troubled Santonio Holmes this off-season and then played without him the first four weeks as he served a suspension for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy. When focused, Holmes is a legitimate No. 1. Braylon Edwards, the No. 3-overall pick in the 2005 draft, is explosive but extremely inconsistent. Tight end Dustin Keller is a beast and already has five touchdowns.

ADVANTAGE: Packers

OFFENSIVE LINE

The Jets have arguably the best offensive line in football. C Nick Mangold is football’s best, playing with great leverage and strength. LT D’Brickashaw Ferguson is another budding star. Ferguson started his career slowly but has come on in the last two years. Green Bay held Minnesota without a sack Sunday after allowing 14 to the Vikings in two games a year ago. Quietly, Scott Wells is having a terrific season.

→ ADVANTAGE: Jets

DEFENSIVE LINE

Green Bay’s depleted front got spirited performances from reserves C.J. Wilson (eight tackles) and Jarius Wynn (one sack) Sunday night. The Jets allow just 90.0 rushing yards per game, the sixth-best total in the NFL. New York also is holding foes to 3.5 yards per rush, which ranks fourth. NT Sione Pouha has filled in admirably for the injured Kris Jenkins (ACL).

ADVANTAGE: Jets

LINEBACKERS

Green Bay’s Desmond Bishop has excelled in place of Nick Barnett. His 32-yard interception return for a touchdown against Minnesota was the first by a Packer linebacker since Barnett in 2005. Jets ILB David Harris, a fourth-year pro out of Michigan, continues to blossom into one of the game’s top players at his position. Bryan Thomas and Calvin Pace – the two outside linebackers in New York’s 3-4 scheme – have combined for just 2 1/2 sacks.

ADVANTAGE: Packers

SECONDARY

Jets CB Darrelle Revis has battled a hamstring injury and hasn’t performed at his 2009 level when he had 37 passes defensed and six interceptions.

Darrell Revis may be the game's best cover corner. But he gets away with more clutching, grabbing, mugging and groping than any other player in the NFL. If Rex Ryan has refs watching Charles Woodson for this, Mike McCarthy needs to make sure refs keep a close eye on Revis.

Still, he ranks among football’s top corners. Antonio Cromartie, acquired from San Diego this off-season to team with Revis, is a terrific athlete with ideal size (6-foot-2, 203 pounds) but lacks maturity. Green Bay’s Tramon Williams is having a Pro Bowl season. Could this be the week we see CB Al Harris and S Atari Bigby?

ADVANTAGE: Even

SPECIAL TEAMS

Green Bay’s Pat Lee showed some burst on kickoff returns. Still, he runs east-west too much instead of north-south. The Jets are terrific in virtually all special teams phases. New York ranks second in the league in kick returns (29.4) and 10th on punt returns (10.1). Brad Smith, a college quarterback, handles kicks (31.8) and Jim Leonard handles punts (12.3). Kicker Nick Folk has made 86.7% of his attempts, while punter Steve Weatherford ranks fifth in net average (40.1) and seventh in gross (45.5).

→ ADVANTAGE: Jets

COACHING

New York’s Rex Ryan is bold and bombastic – and he doesn’t care. His players love him and do everything possible to back up his brash proclamations. Green Bay’s Mike McCarthy, runner-up for NFL Coach of the Year in 2007, is 21-19 since.

ADVANTAGE: Jets

Rest of story HERE, including 5 Things to Watch

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