In My Opinion..
With all of the changes that the Ravens have made this season, Ray Rice, as expected, has been the offensive constant. Ranking 9th in the league for rushing Rice has put up good numbers in each of the three games whether it is on the ground or through the air; Even in the loss to the Tennessee Titans, he had 96 yards from scrimmage. On the other hand Joe Flacco is ranked 6th for total touchdowns, 12th in the new QBR through 3 games, and set a career high in pass yardage with 389, and a franchise record 553 total offensive yards against the Rams.
As Joe said, "We need to come out here, be aggressive and put it on teams. I think that's what we need to be a Super Bowl-caliber team." With the franchise quarterback basically saying that we need to put the ball in the air, and ray rice being as productive as he has always been, so which approach should the Ravens take?
The Jets have the luxury of saying that they have the best cornerback in the league, as well as a good supporting cast, and an ex-Ravens coach that we all know so well. The normally stout run defense was unusually porous against the Oakland Raiders rushing attack, and whether this game was an anomaly or not it was uncharacteristic of a Rex Ryan defense; if their run defense really is that bad, you have to assume that they are going to play up to their opponent on the national stage. Although Raider RB Darren McFadden had a ridiculous game of 171 yards, 70 of them came on one play, so if you take away that play and he finishes the game with 101, 2 yards less than what all of Jacksonville’s running backs rushed for, in other words the only good game the Jets rushing defense has had was against a struggling Dallas Cowboys’ offense. But that run did happen, and McFadden had a huge day for my fantasy team.
The best solution that I can come up with is take what they give us. Let’s test that run defense, see if that Raiders game was a fluke or not. This will set up the play action, Joe needs to get in a rhythm early, dink and dunk the ball down the field pulling their safeties up, and then take a shot on a mismatch. Darrelle Revis will most likely be on Anquan Boldin which puts Antonio Cromartie on Torrey Smith, and Kyle Wilson on either Tandon Doss or LaQuan Williams. This most likely means that ED Dickson is going to be covered by a linebacker or a safety. In my opinion is that ole’ Rexy is going to have a shadow on Rice, so in theory that will take up another linebacker. We all know that Rex is going to try to get in Joe's face and force him to make a mistake, how Joe handles this pressure will go a long way in determining how well our offense does come Sunday night.
Defensively, the Ravens have to take away the run, and they shouldn’t have a problem doing so, the Jets are ranked 25th, averaging just 82 yards a game. Ladanian Tomlinson still has some gas in the tank, and Shonn Greene has the ability to be explosive. The rushing attack should not be a problem for the ravens if Haloti Ngata can get penetration and take away the run up the middle then Jarret Johnson and Terrell Suggs can contain the edge. This will prevent LT from catching those screen passes that he loves so much
The Ravens revamped pass rush should continue to have success this week against the jets, especially if Nick Mangold isn’t healthy enough to play. The Jets have allowed 9 sacks so far this season including 4 last week against the Raiders. There is no doubt that the Ravens can get more pressure, although the Raiders pass rush isn’t a slouch by any means recording 10 sacks so far this season. In the Ravens attempt to get to Mark Sanchez, I would love to the safety blitzes that we haven’t seen since the preseason. Bernard Pollard is a very angry man, let’s let this dog loose! Sanchez won’t see this coming; this could turn into a big play for us. The Ravens may be thin at corner, but do not be so naive as to think that Ravens Defensive Coordinator Chuck Pagano isn’t going to blitz the hell out of Sanchez and try to make him beat them with his arm. If Chris Carr cannot play on Sunday, then this may alter our blitzing schemes to an extent because Danny Gorrer and Chykie Brown are going to be our 3 and 4 corners. We should put Lardarius Webb on Santonio Holmes to match speed, Cary Williams on Plaxico Burress to match size, and if Carr can go, put on him Derrick Mason. Dustin Keller is an emerging star, and since we are so thin at corner this means a linebacker will likely have the duty of covering the Jets TE who leads the team in receptions, and is tied for touchdowns. The only person I personally would trust in man to man on him would be Johnson, but in doing so are the Ravens willing to give up the edge that he contains so well?
Personally I think that the Ravens match up very well against the Jets. As a whole the Jets to me do not seem that intimidating, how the Ravens can counter their star players will go a long way. For instance, if Smith can get past the defense a couple of times, this will force the Jets to either play deep or put Revis on him which would give Boldin a mismatch. The play of the tight ends will be a huge part of each teams game plans, both teams will take the underneath routes to try to get in a rhythm.
I think this is going to be a defensive battle, but Ray Rice is going to be the ex-factor whether the Jets run defense shows up or not. Rex has never seen this Ravens offense, and that is just one more advantage that the Ravens have. Hopefully Cam Cameron and John Harbaugh can come up with a game plan that will completely catch the Jets off guard, much like the Steelers game. The Ravens have a lot of x-factors that the Jets haven’t seen!
Ravens head into the bye 3-1