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2016 Regular Season
Preview: Jets @ Cards

Setting the Stage:
Monday Night Football (Oct. 17 - 8:30 pm ET). Both teams entered last week 1 & 3. But, whereas the Jets dug themselves a deeper hole at 1 & 4 after losing to the Steelers, the Cards took care of business with an impressive 33 - 21 Thurs. night road win over the Niners to go 2 & 3. With another victory, the Cards will have clawed their way back to .500. Should they beat the Cardinals, the Jets would still only be 2 & 4.

Opponent's Last Game
Jets got Roethlisbergererd, losing to Steelers 31 to 13. The Jets managed to keep it close early; heading into the halftime locker room down only 14 -13, but the Jets couldn't generate much offensive production in the 2H and lost going away. Although QB Ryan Fitzpatrick avoided the interceptions he's become known for, he couldn't get very much going later in the game,

First Quarter
Jets received (TB on the KO) and drew first blood with an 8-play scoring drive marked by a 35-yard Nick Folk FG. Jets 3 - Steelers 0.

(TB on the KO) - On the third play from scrimmage, Roethlisberger hooked up with Coates on a (deep right) 72-yard TD pass. Steelers 7 - Jets 3.

(TB on the KO) - On the ext Jets possession they moved from their their 25 to the Steeler 42 where Edwards' punt rolled into the end zone for a TB. Pittsburgh moved from their own 20 to their own 45 where their punt was fair caught at the Jets 11. The Jets moved to their own 20in two plays to end the quarter. Steelers 7 - Jets 3.

First Quarter Score: Steelers 7 - Jets 3.

Second Quarter
On the 1st play of the quarterForte ran for 28 yards off RT. Fitzpatrick survived a minus-8 yard sack and used short passes to reach the Steeler 30, where the Jets settled for a 48-yd FG. Steelers 7 - Jets 6.

Coates returned the KO to the Steeler 22. Pittsburgh moved to the Jets 27 in 9 plays. On the 10th play - on a 4th & 2 - Tomlin dialed up a fake FG. It didn't work. Jets took over on their own 31. Completions of +13 yards (to Powell), +18 yards (to Enuwa) and +16 (Marshall) helped set up a 15-yard scoring pass to Marshall. Jets take the lead! Jets 13 - Steelers 7.

(TB on the KO. 2:06 till halftime) - Masterful 11-play TD drive (set up by a +19-yard completion from Roethlisberger to Coates) capped by a one-yd completion from Roethlsiberger to James with 0:44 left on the clock. Steelers 14 - Jets 13.

(TB on the KO). Jets ran off one play and let the clock run out.

2nd Half Score: Steelers 14 - Jets 13.

Third Quarter
(TB on the KO) - Steelers ball on their own 25. They managed to reach their own 44 but punted on the 6th play of their possession. Punt downed at the Jets 13. The Jets went three & outs. The Steelers ran a punt back 33-yards to set up a 47-yard FG. Steelers 17 - Jets 13.

The two teams exchanged 3 & outs. Jets held Steelers to a second 3 & out. Jets fair caught a punt on their own 13 and managed to get to midfield in 8 plays but had to punt. (TB on the punt) - Steelers moved to the Jets 5 in 8 plays as the quarter ended. (Key plays were completions of +14. +11, +11,and +22 yards).

Third Quarter Score: Steelers 17 - Jets 13.

Fourth Quarter
On the first play of the 4Q, Roethlsibergerf hooked up with A Brown for a 5 yard TD to expand their lead. Steelers 24 - Jets 13.

Ross retuned the KO to the Jets 20. Jets went 3 & out. Punt downed at the Steeler 38. Steelers moved to the Jets 14. On the sixth play of the Steeler possession, L Williams sacked Roethlisberger for minus-8 yards. Fumble - recovered by Richardson. Richardson injured on play. Jets ball at their own 19.

After Fitzpatrick hit Marshall for +19 yards, the Jets punted from their own 46. (Coach Bowles was criticized for not "going for it" on 4th & 2 with only half a quarter left to play). Punt was fair caught att the Steeler 21. Steelers ran off a 12 play (5:43) TD drive ending with a 5-yard TD pass to Coates to ice the game. Key plays on the drive were completions of +16 to L Bell and +13 to Coates. Steelers 31 - Jets 13.

(1:46 left. TB on the KO) - Jets managed to move from their own 25 to their own 46, where Fitzgerald was unable to convert a 4th & 10. Steelers took over on the Jets 44 and took two knees to wrap up the game.

Final Score: Steelers 31 - Jets 13.

Key Game Stats

Fitzpatrick was 25 of 38 - 255 yds, 1 TD and no interceptions. (Roethlisberger was 34 for 47, 380 yds, 4 TD's and no interceptions

Marshall caught 8 passes for 114 yds and 1 TD. POwell caught 6 for 41.

Henderson led the Jets with 8 tackles followed by M Williams (7), Miles (6) and D Harris (6)

Jets only converted 2 of 11 3rd downs (18%)

Jets held Steelers to 2.5 yds per rushing play (Jets averaged 4.2 ypc on rushing plays).

Jets Net Punting average was 28.2 (Steelers was 46.3

Jets were 1 for 2 in the Red Zone (Steelers were 3 for 4).

Turnover Ratio - Jets: Plus-1.

Team Stats to Date

First Downs - Jets 329 / Opponents 271

Third Down Conversions - Jets 93/229 / Opponents 77/239

Fourth Down Conversions - Jets 6/14 / Opponents 13/23

Offensive Yards - Jets 5,925 / Opponents 5,098

Rushing Plays/Yards/Avg - Jets 448/1,868/4.2 / Opponents 448/1,335/3.6

Passing Compl/Att/Int/Avg/Yds - Jets 362/604/16/6.9 - Opponents - 343/601/18 /6/7

Sacks - Jets 39 / Opponents 22

Field Goals - Jets 27/33 / Opponents 26/29

Time of Possession -Jets 31:20/ Opponents 29:21

Turnover Ratio - +6

Key Player Stats

Passing: Fitzpatrick - 335 for 562/59.6%/ Int %: 2.7/%/YPA: 6.9/Sacked 19/Rating 88.0

Rushing: Forte - NA. Powell: 70 for 313 / 4.3 YPA

Receiving: B Marshall (109 for 1,502, 13.8, 14 TD"s) Decker (80 for 1,027, 12.8, 12 TD's). Powell (47 for 388, 8.3, 2 TD's). Enunwa (22 for 315, 14.3, no TD's)

Field Goals - Folk : 13 for 16 (missed three betw 40 and 49).

Punting - Edwards - NA

Punt Returns - Decker 1 for 11. (Kerley was former Jet PR). Jets averaged 8.6 YPR vs. opponents' 12.7 YPR. Opponents had 2 returns for TD's - Jets none.

Kickoff Returns - Cromartie and Stacy were top PR's. (Jets averaged 20.8 per return vs. opponents' 23.8 per return)

Tackles - Harris (108), D Davis (90), Golchrist (82), D Harrison (72), Pryor (69)

Sacks - 39 Sacks. Wilkerson (12), Richardson (5.0), Harris (4.5), Mauldin (4.0)

Interceptions - 18 Picks: (M Williams (6), Revis (5) Glichrist (3), Pryor (2)).

Fumble Recoveries - Jets: 15 recovered (no player with more than 2). /Oppondents 13 recovered

Rosters/Match-ups

Jets Offense

WR....15 .B Marshall (BA)...89 J Marshall
TE......82 .Bostock..............88 Sef-Jenkins (BA)
LT.......78 Clady. (BA)..........72 Shell      
LG      77 Carpenter (A)......70 Dozier             
OC     74 Mangold (AA)......76 W Johnson (P)   
RG     67 Winters (A)
RT      71 Ijalana (A)............79 Qvale (P)    
TE      47 K Davis (P)..........84 Bowman (P)                                            
WR ....87 Decker. (A).........11 R Anderson (P)
WR     81 Enunwa (A)........17 Peake
QB     14 Fitzpatrick (P).....07 G Smith...............09 Petty.......05 Hackenberg
RB......22 Forte (A).............29 B Powell (BA)......26 Pope......

PFF ratings in parentheses (P = Poor, BA = Below Avg, A = Avg, AA = Above Avg, HQ = High Quality)

Cardinal Defense

LDE      93 Campbell (HQ) ....72 Stinson (P)
NT        98 Peters (A).............69 X Williams (P)......72 Pierre                
DT        95 Gunter..................92 Rucker (P) ..........97 Mauro (A)....90 Nkemdiche (R)
SLB     55 C Jones (AA).........57 Okafor (P)               
ILB       20 Bucannon (P) .......50 G Martin           
ILB       51 Minter (A)..............54 Bartu                
WLB    44 Golden (A).............96 K Martin (P)     
LCB     21 Peterson HQ)........29 Simon                
RCB    41 Cooper (BA)...........26 B Williams .........28 Bethel              
SS       36 Swearinger (BA)            
FS       32 Mathieu (BA)..........22 T Jefferson (HQ)

PFF ratings in parentheses (P = Poor, BA = Below Avg, A = Avg, AA = Above Avg, HQ = High Quality) 

Matchup: Jets Passing Attack vs. Cardinal Pass Defense
Chan Gailey is the Jets OC and respected in coaching circles. He favors spreading out the offense to widen the field and minimize the risks his QB's would otherwise have to take. Spread sets suggest quicker drops/greater reliance on timing. One scouting source describes Fitzpatrick as having a decent arm and a qunslicker's mentality, but also says he's overrated and questions his accuracy and decision-making (i.e. "A Brett Favre but with a fraction of the talent.")

Jets use Brandon Marshall as their "X-ISO" receiver (usually lined up wide on the weakside - making it risky to double him) and Eric Decker as their slot guy (who presents a threat over the middle and is adept in stack/motion sets and at locating openings in zone). Jets operated out of an empty backfield set on about one of every five snaps, with #4 receiver (Enunwa) lined up as a semi-tight end. The combination of Enunwa and Forte as receivng options makes short-pass defenses account for two receivers and can create matchup problems.

Card pass rushers finally got their groove back vs. Niners - C Jones and Golden represent the pass-rush book-ends but are also relied upon (with varying results) to contain the outside scramble or run. With the exception of Campbell (& even he is inconsistent in this area) I'd like to see Cardinal pass rushers keep their hands up to block Fitzpatrick's vision and mess up his throwing lanes.

Expect Patrick Peterson to battle Marshall all night long, leaving it up to Cooper and Mathieu (& possibly B Williams) to contain Decker, Anderson and Enunwa when the Jets spread things out. Expect T Jefferson to keep an eye on Forte out of the backfield.

Key Matchups: C Jones and M Golden vs. Clady and Ijalana. Peterson vs. Marshall. Jefferson vs. Forte. Cooper vs. Decker. T Mathieu vs. Enunwa.

Matchup: Jets Rushing Attack vs. Cardinal Run Defense
Primary objective of Arizona will (as it always is): Stop the run (or in this instance, Stop Matt Forte).

Addition of former Bear Forte (to replace Ivory) strengthens what was a Jets strong point going into the season (Jets racked up 1,68 yards on the ground vs. 1,335 for their opponents). It also helps implement Gailey's spread schemes. Forte is solid as a receiver out of the backfield, from the slot and on shorter outside routes.

Cards have proved they are capable of stopping the run, but that doesn't mean they've always been willing to execute consistently. Assuming their run-stoppers bring their A-game, we'd expect the Cards to sic Minter on Forte, have Campbell, Gunter, Peters etc. protact their gaps and establish outside contain. (Note - All too frequent times Cards get in trouble is when their defenders "freelance" and leave the inside or either outside running/scrambling lanes unprotected.

Key Matchup: Forte vs. Minter. Carpenter, Mangold Winters vs. Campbell, Peters, Gunter, Fitzpatrick vs, Mathieu.


Cardinal Offense

WR1    11 Fitzgerald (HQ)...13 Jaron Brown (BA)...10 Golden
LT        68 Veldheer (A).........75 Ulrick                    
LG       76 Iupati (HQ)...........73 Wetzel (BA)                      
C         53 Shipley (HQ)........70 Boehm                    
RG       78 Watford (P).........61 Toner 69                
RT........74 Humphries (A)
TE       .85 Fells (BA)............80 Momah (P)      
WR2    15 M. Floyd (P)........12 John Brown (A).....14 JJ Nelson        
QB       03 Palmer* (P).........05 Stanton (P)     
RB       31 D Johnson (AA)..38 Ellington................30 Taylor
TE        84 Gresham (P).......89 Valles

PFF ratings in parentheses (P = Poor, BA = Below Avg, A = Avg, AA = Above Avg, HQ = High Quality)

Jets Defense

DE......92 L Williams (AA).......98 Jar Jenkins (P)
DT.......99 McClendon (P)......93 Simon (A)
DE......96 Wilkerson (P)..........xx Thomas
OLB...48 Jor Jenkins (A).......53 Capatano (P)
ILB.....58 Henderson (BA).....50 Lee (P)
ILB.....52 .D Harris (A)............54 Carter (BA)     
OLB...91 Richardson (A).......55 Mauldin (A)........95 J Martin (BA) 
CB.....41 Skrine (A)................20 M Williams (P)....27 Roberts
CB.....24 Revis (P).................32 Burris (P)
SS......25 Pryor (P).................45 Miles (A)         
FS......21 Gilchrist (A)............39 Allen (A)

PFF ratings in parentheses (P = Poor, BA = Below Avg, A = Avg, AA = Above Avg, HQ = High Quality)

Matchup: Cardinal Passing Attack vs. Jets Pass Defense
Carson Palmer (back from concussion protocol) is expected to start Mon. night. Even when healthy, he's been prone to float his passes off his back foot under pressure and has lacked the consistency he had a year ago. Drew Stanton (who started last week and beat the Niners) is Palmer's backup. Think of him as, say: "85% of Palmer" (both in production and risk, though slightly more mobile).

Cardinal receiving corps is back to full health. While generally solid (& with the exception of the ageless Fitzgerald) this unit's batting average on contested-balls is nowhere nearly as high as it was a year ago. They'll be going up against a Jets secondary whose players are generally rated by PFF to be "Average" to Poor." (Note - though Revis is rated "Poor" by PFF, this rating probably factors in Revis's injuries and recent lack of production rather than how he'll figure to be over a whole season).

Cards are missing both starting guards (Wetzel and Watford are expected to replace Mathis (& probably) Iupati. Because of the way the Jets match up and scheme, this could present problems for the Cardinal passing attack:

Jets have registered 39 sacks (compared to 22 for opponents). Wilkerson leads the team with an impressive 12 sacks and figures to be a challenge for anyone (or everyone) on the Cardinal pass blocking front.

Bowles is expected to dial up more overload blitzes than he employed a year ago. He's said to like bringing pressure right up the A-gap. Absence of starters Mathis (& probably iupati (& their replacement by Wetzel and Watford) represents an area of concern - so expect BA to counter by keeping his RB back to pick up the inside blitz before possibly leaking into the flat.

Jets Front Seven said to be a bit vulnerable on the perimeter. Wilkerson is described by at least one source as the best pure defensive lineman in the NFL "not named JJ Watt." He figures to be a handful for Veldheer or Humphries. His DT buddy (Richardson) is just as explosive as Wilkerson but less physically imposing. Expect Bowles to move Richardson around in a "rover's" role. LB Deone Lee is used in the same way the Cards use Buccanon. Though bigger than the Cardinal $LB, there's some concern about Lee's lack of bulk (although that vulnerability is can be compensated for by Jets DL stopping the inside run.

Normally, the Jets would put Revis on their opponents' #1 receiver (That would be Fitz) but it's uncertain whether the top Jet CB will be healthy enough to go Monday night. Look for a motion "chess match" between Bowles and Arians (i.e. If Fitz goes in motion and Revis follows him, the Jets will probably play "man." Note - Revis is said to be a bit challenged playing "zone" from the slot, so Bowles will probably avoid (or disguise) that coverage scheme. Eexpect BA to probe the Jets early to see if the Cards can effectively run the ball - and, if so, expect to see a greater reliance on the run game in order to protect Palmer from pressure up the middle. If the Cards have trouble running the ball, expect them to stretch the field with multi-receiver sets in order to exploit mismatches in the secondary (or at least use the threat of the pass to set up the run). Note - We may see more Ellington as part of the passing game.

Key Matchups: Palmer vs. Revis. Fitz vs. Revis. Richardson, Wilkerson and Lee vs. Watford, Wetzel and Shipley or D Johnson (as a blocker)

Matchup: Cardinal Running Attack vs. Jets Run Defense
David Johnson remains ranked #1 RB by PFF. And he's earning that rating in a number of ways - running between the tackles or around the flanks, powering for extra yards after contact or catching out of the backfield (either as a screen receiver or running regular routes as an extra WR).

Jets are stacked inside, so expect the Cards to attack the more vulnerable Jet flanks by running D Johnson off tackle and outside the ends (At the very least, the threat of the run should give Palmer the extra time he'll need to locate and hit receivers.

The Cards got their running chops back in the 2H vs. Buffalo and vs. the Rams and Niners. Expect the Cards to rely more on their running game - but mainly to the outside.

Key Matchup: D Johnson vs. D Harris. Wetzel, Shipley and Watford vs. Wilkerson, Richardson, Harris and Henderson

Special Teams

Jets

K         02 Folk                         
P         04 Edwards                       
H        04 Edwards
LS      46 Purdum                       
KR      89 J Marshall                    
PR      89 J Marshall

Cardinals

K          07 Catanzaro                             
P          09 Quigley                                   
H          02 Butler                             
LS        46 Brewer                                 
KR       38 Ellington              
PR        12 Jn Brown

Matchup: Jets Special Teams vs. Cardinal Special Teams
You could make the argument that, in each of their three losses, breakdowns on special teams cost us W's. Week #1 featured a missed snap on a likely winning FG. Last week on a deep punt, Justin Bethel got poked in the eye and failed to cover Tavon Austin who then broke a long return ( with a horse collar penalty tacked on)to set up the winning Ram TD. (I don't remember what happened in Buffalo - I've been able to shut off that bitter memory).

Cards added Quigley to handle punting. His Net Punting Average was in the high twenties last week. Catanzaro is doing OK (though each FG and XP attempt remains somewhat of an "adventure"). John Brown is beginning to look more comfortable returning punts. We wish Andre Ellington would simply take a knee in the end zone, because he'll seldom if ever get past the 25 yard line when he runs it out.

Folk is Mr. Reliable as a FG and XP kicker. Don't know much about Edwards.

Key matchups: Campbell and Bethel vs. J Marshall.

Coaching
Ex Card Todd Bowles visits his old desert homestead.
This figures to be an interesting "chess match" between Todd and his former boss Bruce Arians. No doubt both coaches can get into one another's heads, and we can expect to see a lot of "point/counter-point."

One major point of difference - the two teams are built differently; for example Jets have a young QB/Cards have AARP member Carson Palmer. Jet defense is built from the middle of the front seven outward/Talent on Card defense is pretty much spread around the 11 positions. Cards are 6-deep in quality receivers. Bears rely pretty much on Marshall and Decker.

Medical
Cards - OG's: Mathis is on IR, and Iupati (ankle) did not practice. They will be replaced by Watford and Wetzel DT Ed Stinson did not practice. DB Justin Bethel and TE Darren Fells saw limited practice time. .

Jets- Revis (hamstring) not practicing but may give it a try. G Mangold (knee) and LB David Harris (hammy) not practicing. G Brian Winters (concussion), TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins, DE Muhammed Wilkerson and LT Ryan Clady had limited practice

How to Beat the Jets
With Decker said to be out, take away half the field in pass coverage by putting Peterson on Marshall. Stop Forte. Rattle Fitzpatrick with pressure and force him to commit turnovers. Conversely, protect Carson Palmer by running 50% of the time (Use the run to set up the pass) and dialing up quick timing routes. Take enough chunk-yard shots to keep the Jets secondary honest.
Focus on building an early lead (in order to keep Jets pass rushers guessing as to pass vs. run). Avoid Jets strength between the tackles by attacking the perimeters (with run, quick outs and screens). (Notes - If Revis cannot go, Palmer should be tempted pick on what is considered to be a shaky Jets secondary. This may be the week when Robert Nkemdiche gets his chance to shine).

Last Word:
This game may look like a "gimme" for the Cardinals but it isn't. There is a serious matchup challenge in the passing game with inside pass rushers -Wilkerson and Richardson - going up against replacement OG's -Wetzel and Watford. The game also figures to be a gut-check as to whether Card players learned from previous setbacks to avoid paying attention to press hype and not to take any opposing team lightly.

It's Monday Night Football, folks. And it's at our house. If Cards win. they're 3 & 3. If they don't, they're 2 & 4 (Big difference). Big early-season game (Bigger than it should have been). Doesn't get much bigger.


 
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