LULZ: Scouts Inc Jets at Broncos preview
Jets-Broncos: 10 observations
By Matt Williamson
New York at Denver
When: 8:20 PM ET
More scouting reports: Week 11
Scouts Inc. Position Advantage
After breaking down film of both teams, Scouts Inc. offers 10 things to watch in this week's Jets-Broncos matchup.
1. Deal with a very short week: Denver is coming off another win, but the story of that game was how the Broncos were able to beat Kansas City despite Tim Tebow throwing just eight passes -- and completing just two of them. And with this being a Thursday night game, the Jets have an extremely short week to prepare for such a unique Broncos offense. The Jets have a major advantage overall when considering the turnover department. But Denver didn't turn the ball over last week or cause a turnover, while New York lost the turnover differential in its Sunday night loss to New England. The Jets' Joe McKnight has emerged as one of the top kickoff returners in the league. His production in this capacity has been fantastic.
2. Who visits Revis Island? Eric Decker is the most likely candidate to spend time stranded on Revis Island. Overall, the Jets will most likely play a ton of press man -- especially against a very ordinary group of Broncos wide receivers. As we saw last week, New York loves to employ a high number of defensive backs on the field and it often brings defensive back pressure. But the Broncos' offense and New England's could not be any more different. It will be interesting to see how Rex Ryan schemes for Tebow.
3. Get Miller blocked: Broncos LB Von Miller is the best defensive rookie in the league this year and has been simply spectacular as a run defender, but he's also is a demon off the edge getting after the quarterback. Mark Sanchez will have to be especially wary of his ball security in the pocket this week. But outside of Miller, the Broncos are not getting enough of a pass rush and their defense really has struggled versus the pass when they rush just four or fewer. The Jets will face a fair amount of 3-3-5 from Denver, with Miller as one of the linebackers who can quickly move to an end position or come off the edge as a pass-rusher.
4. Feature Holmes: Santonio Holmes should see plenty of Champ Bailey this week, but he still needs to be featured more in New York's passing game. Denver held Kansas City to 124 yards through the air in Week 10, but overall, opposing wideouts have had field days against the Broncos. Sanchez could be in for a bigger day than usual.
5. Matchup to watch: Jets LT D'Brickashaw Ferguson vs. Broncos DE Elvis Dumervil: Ferguson is an exceptional pass-blocking left tackle, but he was thoroughly abused by Andre Carter on Sunday night. Dumervil has not played up to his usual standards this season, but he certainly should not be taken lightly. Denver had four sacks last week.
6. Protect the edges: The Broncos do not throw very much at all, but when they do, they often go deep downfield -- often off play-action. Pretty much the entire Broncos' offensive line has struggled with pass protection, but the Jets did not record a sack last week. Aaron Maybin's career has been reborn in New York. The Jets don't ask a lot of him, but his edge pass-rush ability is prevalent.
7. Dominate on the ground: New York will have to be prepared for the read option and Tebow's ability and extreme willingness to run with the football as a physical ball carrier. Denver tortured the Raiders two week ago with the read option. And it did the same to Kansas City last week. The Broncos rushed for 244 yards -- even though they lost Willis McGahee and Knowshon Moreno early in the game to injury. If healthy, McGahee has broken off quite a few long runs and looks more explosive than in recent seasons. Moving Sione Pouha out of the middle of the formation is going to be an extremely difficult task for the interior of Denver's offensive line. And the Bronco's run blocking has been atrocious this season. The Jets have a fine pair of inside linebackers, with David Harris having a particularly strong season. The Jets did do a great job of limiting the Patriots ground game last week, keeping New England to a paltry 2.1 yards per rush.
8. Defend the middle zones: Sanchez is most comfortable throwing in the middle of the field and can struggle to generate the velocity to complete passes along the sidelines in tight coverage. His stats throwing outside the numbers are quite poor in fact. Sanchez also consistently gets better as the game goes along, which is a tremendous trait to have, although that was not the case at all last week. Sanchez has also been very efficient and productive in the red zone, while Denver's red zone defense has been a huge problem.
9. Compete up the middle: Nick Mangold is the best center in football and the Jets want to run between the tackles with Shonn Greene. The Jets have used a lot of two-back sets with FB John Conner playing a prominent lead-blocking role as a downhill banger. Broncos DT Brodrick Bunkley has done a real nice job against the run inside, but the entire Denver defense will be tested in this regard.
10. Matchup to watch: Broncos QB Tim Tebow vs. Jets head coach Rex Ryan: Ryan is going to show Tebow a lot of things he has never seen before, but also will most likely do everything possible to eliminate Tebow's run threat and force him to make throws. The Jets are a base 3-4 defense, but only in name, as Tebow will see a wide variety of personnel packages and fronts, which could be very difficult for the young signal-caller to decipher. New York has been known to use as many as seven members of the secondary on the field at once -- and the Jets are able to get away with it more than most teams because of the physical nature of their defensive backs. Quarterbacks have done little statistically against New York, and overall, the Jets' defense has been terrific in the red zone.
New York 14