By Brad Carroll
The New York Jets will take a giant step up in competition from Week 1 to Week 2 Sunday, as they go from playing one of the league's worst teams, the Raiders, to a road game against one of the league's better teams, the Packers, despite what Green Bay showed in a season-opening loss to the Seahawks. While nobody is expecting a Jets victory, it could turn out to be a season-defining game.
If the Jets beat the Packers on the road, and the Seahawks proved in Week 1 a good defense can shut down Green Bay, then they automatically become contenders. The fact the Jets are all about defense, led by coach Rex Ryan and the best defensive line in football, only increases the team's chances to pull the big upset.
The Jets will have to improve in an area they had problems last season to do that, however, and that's winning games on the road. They were 2-6 away from home last year, with a couple of embarrassing blowouts among those losses. Here are three ways for the Jets to change those road woes and pull the upset against the Packers in Green Bay.
Steal A Page From Seattle
The world champion Seattle Seahawks gave the entire league the blueprint on how to beat the Packers, and especially how to slow down its high-powered offense. Many teams in the NFL don't have the talent Seattle does, but the Jets are pretty close defensively. While Seattle has the superior secondary, the Jets have the best defensive line in football and one of the best front sevens. So, if any team can do what the Seahawks did to the Packers, it just might be the Jets. Of course, a lot depends on how well Darrin Walls, Antonio Allen and a limited Dee Milliner play on the outside. If the Jets get a big day from the secondary, they should pull the upset at Lambeau Field. The Packers are going to have a tough time running the ball against the Jets defensive front, so it's up to the defensive backs to stick with a talented group of Packers wide receivers. The front seven just can't stop the run, however, they have to sack Aaron Rodgers multiple times to take the pressure off the secondary.
Jets Can't Beat Themselves
Against the Raiders in Week 1, the Jets dominated, but penalties and turnovers turned what should have been a blowout victory into a closer-than-needed 19-14 win. The Jets had 11 penalties for 105 yards and added two killer turnovers, one fumble and one interception on their side of the field. Jets guard Willie Colon said he was embarrassed by the penalties, as he was called for three himself. The entire team should be embarrassed by that number of penalties. Jets quarterback Geno Smith made a pair of horrible mistakes as well, throwing an interception that gave the Raiders the ball at the Jets 28. It eventually turned into an Oakland touchdown. He later lost a fumble at the Raiders' 3-yard line going in for a touchdown. If the Jets repeat the penalties and turnovers, they don't stand a chance in beating the Packers. The Jets have to play clean football to put themselves in position to win.
Everybody Loves The Chris's
The Jets have a special duo at running back this season, with Chris Ivory and Chris Johnson. Both backs had a huge impact against the Raiders last week. Johnson was explosive throughout the game, rushing for 68 yards on just 13 carries and adding 23 yards on five catches. Ivory had the biggest play of the game, busting free for a 71-yard touchdown run with about eight minutes left to put the Jets up 19-7. It was the game-clincher for the Jets. Ivory finished with 102 yards on 10 carries. If the Jets find ways to get Johnson and Ivory involved in both the running and passing game, and they find success, it can open up the passing game for Smith and company to move the ball downfield quickly. A Jets victory Sunday starts with the running game.
Read our predictions for the game right here