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ProFootballFocus, Three To Focus On -- Texans @Jets
3TFO: Texans @ Jets, Week 5
Khaled Elsayed | 2012/10/07
Itís fair to say that 2012 hasnít quite worked out as expected for the New York Jets. After the hot start against the Bills came the all too familiar; defeats at Pittsburgh, as embarrassing a victory as youíre likely to see against Miami, and being throttled in their own house by San Francisco. Furthermore, theyíve lost their most important player on defense, their most explosive one on offense, and are having to deal with legitimate questions as to whether Mark Sanchez has it in him to lead the team.
Quite the contrast to a Houston Texans team that is the apple of the eye ofÖ well, everyone. Undefeated, theyíve swatted away all challenges as J.J. Watt does offensive linemen with an aggressive defense and strong-all-over offense.
Monday Night has the potential to get ugly. But why? And can the Jets stop it?
If youíve missed the first four weeks of the NFL season youíve missed one of the finest starts I can remember. The player responsible is, of course, J.J. Watt who currently sits atop our 3-4 DE rankings with a +28.7 grade which is twice as much as Calais Campbell who holds second place. Sometimes stats can distort, but when it comes to Watt they really only emphasize what the eye is seeing. With 17 combined sacks, hits and hurries combined with a further 12 defensive stops in the run game its easy to see why heís leading our Pass Rushing Productivity and Run Stop Percentage categories in our Signature Stats among his peers.
Simply put, he has been unstoppable.
So how can the Jets change that? Itís going to take the right side of their offensive line to step up in a way it hasnít looked like doing. Right guard Brandon Moore remains solid player, but with age starting to take its toll, he isnít the reliable force he once was. Heís given up six quarterback disruptions this year, while the man to his right, Austin Howard, has almost tripled his total at 17. Both men are likely to see a lot of Watt and it wouldnít be a huge surprise to see the Jets devote some extra man power via double teaming to try and slow the one man wrecking crew down. That could work, but the Texans defense isnít short on other players who can make plays. However you look at it, the impact of Watt looks like having a profound effect on the Jetsí ability to move the ball on offense.
Man to Man
Losing a player like Darrelle Revis for the year hurts. Itís something you canít possibly hope to get over. Itís definitely a scheme-changing event as he is the fulcrum in how the rest of the defense runs. Yet, it shouldnít act as a reason to ignore just how well Antonio Cromartie (+5.6) is playing this year. He currently owns our sixth-highest coverage grade of all cornerbacks and is allowing just 40.9% of passes thrown into his coverage to be complete. Thatís in large part down to the one pick and four pass deflections heís managed as he is playing as well as he ever has.
He gets a chance to show that on the national stage when he mans up with Andre Johnson. It would be easy to say that Johnson, with age and recent injuries catching up with him, is starting to slow down. It would be a little off base as well. With the Texansí running game working so well, and so often playing with a healthy lead, he just hasnít been needed as much as years gone by. Indeed, heís only 38th out of all receivers with 24 balls thrown his way, though if you look at his Yards Per Route Run figure of 2.5, youíll see a man with the ninth-highest number out of all wide receivers with at least 20 targets. Heís there when the Texans need him, and with the Jetsí defense (although they havenít shown it this year) capable of shutting a teamís running game down, this could be the game they turn to him.
If they do weíll get a chance to see if heís still one of the top receivers in the game, or if Cromartie is ready to make his case for being one of the best cornerbacks out there.
Remember when the Sanchez regime started back in 2009 with a crushing win over the Houston Texans? Matt Schaub was frankly terrible and you wondered if the Texans would ever get the player they hoped for when they handed over such a fine selections of pick to the Falcons.
Well things have changed drastically since then. In our quarterback rankings Schaub sits in the fourth spot while ďThe SanchizeĒ is down at 30th. While the Texan QB has completed 66.9% of his passes with a 7-to-1 touchdown-to-interception ratio, Sanchez is floating below 50% with a 5-to-4 ratio that flatters him. One looks in command of his offense, and the other looks like he could be demoted for Tim Tebow.
Weíve seen this before from Sanchez, but heís had something of a habit of responding to adversity with some of his less-erratic displays. For the Jets to stand any chance theyíll need him to deliver one of these on Monday Night Football. If not? Well we could be one step closer to Tebowmania, Part 2.