The goal for this week remains the same as it was for the last three weeks: establish the running game.
In three games this year, runningback Shonn Greene has rushed for a total of 134 yards, or 15 fewer yards than Ravens’ runningback Ray Rice gained in a week one match up against the Pittsburgh Steelers. But this will not be easy against a defense that has allowed an average of 84 rushing yards so far this season. Making it even more difficult will be the fact that Jets’ center Nick Mangold will miss his second consecutive game with a high ankle sprain. replacement Colin Baxter has played well, but has a tough match up against defensive tackle Haloti Ngata. Baxter will need to neutralize Ngata if the Jets are going to be successful on the ground.
The other key for the Jets is stopping the run, something that the Jets have done without fail since Rex Ryan took over the team in 2009. Until now. The Jets defense now ranks 31st in the league against the run after Raiders’ back Darren McFaddon ran for 171 yards and two touchdowns. Passing against the Jets defense will also be easier as cornerback Antonio Cromartie will likely miss Sunday’s game as well.
This will be a tough game for the Jets, and a defining one. The result of this game will tell Jets fans whether the rest of the 2011 season will resemble the last two seasons, or the two seasons before those.
Projected Score: Jets 17, Ravens 27