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They're a big favorite once again, can they live up to the hype?
The 2009 and 2010 seasons seem like a decade ago for the Jets who look nothing like the team that made back to back AFC Championship games. Back then the Jets won games with a bruising run game, stifling run defense, and by taking care of the ball. In 2010 the Jets ranked fourth in offensive rushing yards, third in rushing yards allowed, and were +9 in turnovers. So far in 2012, the Jets rank 24th in rushing yards on offense, 31st in rushing yards allowed on defense, and are -2 in turnovers. Across the field from them on Monday will be a Texans team that wins games in the fashion the Jets strive for, but haven't been capable of this season. If the Texans play their 'A' game, it could be over by halftime. The Jets don't have the talent to play with the Texans even at full strength; this game could get ugly without Darrelle Revis and Santonio Holmes.
Texans Offense vs. Jets Defense
Arian Foster is averaging 95 yards per game this season (his second best per game average) but is only averaging 3.7 yards per carry; the lowest average of this career. I believe most of the struggles in the run game have been caused by the change in the blockers in front of Foster. Eric Winston is a better run blocker than Derek Newton, Mike Brisiel is a better run blocker than either Caldwell or Ben Jones, and just as important they don't currently have a tight end that can seal the edge as well as Joel Dreesen did while with the Texans. Foster and the run game need a "get well" game where they can put up a big number, build confidence, and hopefully start to run more effectively each week. The Jets rank 31st in the league in rushing yards allowed (172.8 per game), 32nd in rushing touchdowns allowed (seven), 28th in yards per carry allowed (4.9) and tied for 30th place in 20+ yard rushes allowed (five). The Jets have given up big performances to the opposing running back nearly every week this season so maybe this is the week that Arian Foster finally breaks out with a monster game. In week one C.J. Spiller ran for 169 yards on only 14 carries, in week three Reggie Bush averaged over six yards per carry, and in week four the 49ers ran for 245 yards including 56 yards to backup Kendall Hunter on seven yards per carry. In their last meeting in 2010, Arian Foster racked up 143 total yards and scored two touchdowns. The Jets defense this season is not nearly as good as it was in 2010; they rank 31st against the run this season vs. ranking 3rd against the run in 2010. I thought last week against the Titans would be their get well week but they struggled; if they struggle again on Monday, they might have a major problem.
Over his last eight games, Matt Schaub has completed 66 percent of his passes and thrown for 12 touchdowns with only two interceptions. Six of those touchdowns have come over his last two games and his QB rating of 105.3 ranks second in the AFC. The Jets rank fourth in passing yards allowed with an average of 198 yards given up through the air over the first four games; but of course with the exception of their last game, that rank was earned with Darrelle Revis on the field. In week two Ben Roethlisberger completed 24/31 passes for 275 yards, two touchdowns, and no interceptions. Not monster stats, but good enough if the run game chews up yards and eats clock.
Texans Defense vs. Jets Offense
The Texans currently rank first overall in the NFL in points allowed, yards allowed, and first downs allowed. Their defense has made opposing offenses look bad all season long. However, there has been one weak spot on this defense and that has been against the run. The Texans rank 11th in rushing yards allowed (ranked third last year) but I don't think that number tells the whole story; they've given up 4.3 yards per carry this season which ranks 23rd in the league. The Texans have been able to keep teams under 100 yards rushing only because they've blown out their opponent and forced them to pass every down in an attempt to catch up. Despite being a bit undersized, Shaun Cody played very well last season, but it seems teams have made an adjustment. They're double blocking Cody, they're getting lineman up to the second level on the linebackers, and they're gaining big yards right up the middle. It shouldn't be a problem this week because the Jets running back Shonn Green is averaging just 2.8 yards per carry and the Jets will likely fall behind early on, but it needs to get fixed before they face teams that can hang with them like the Packers, Patriots, and Ravens.
They haven't played many great offensive teams, but regardless of their firepower, they're holding opposing teams under their average for total yards.
Against Houston - 275 yards, 10 points
Average Vs. Everyone Else - 428 yards, 25 points
Against Houston - 117 yards, 7 points
Average Vs. Everyone Else - 300 yards, 18 points
Against Houston - 375 yards, 25 points
Average Vs. Everyone Else - 391 yards, 30 points
Week 3 vs. Lions - 437 yards, 44 points
Week 4 vs. Texans - 325 yards, 14 points
Mark Sanchez has struggled this season and will likely be in for a long night on Monday. With the exception of Peyton Manning, the Texans haven't faced any elite quarterbacks but they've made those quarterbacks look much worse than they did in other games. Here's the proof:
Week One Vs. Houston - 219 yards passing, 55.6% completion, 0 touchdowns/3 interceptions, 39 QB rating
Week Two Vs. Oakland - 200 yards passing, 60% completion, 1 touchdown/0 interceptions, 91 QB rating
Against Houston - 53 yards passing, 36.8% completion, 2.79 yards per attempt, 62.8 QB rating
Other Teams (Colts & Vikings) - 207.5 yards passing per game, 55% completion, 6.92 yards per attempt, 93.4 QB rating
Against Houston (Week Three) - 50% completions, 6.35 yards per attempt, 83 QB rating.
Against Oakland (Week Four) - 78.9% completions, 8.89 yards per attempt, 130 QB rating.
I would have included Jake Locker, but the Texans knocked him out of the game during the first quarter. In four games this season, Mark Sanchez completed 50% or better of his passes only once, had a QB rating of better than 70 only once, and has five touchdowns to four interceptions this season. Point is, Sanchez is a bad quarterback already and may lose his job after Monday night. I'm not suggesting that Tim Tebow is a better quarterback, but if they get humiliated again, this time in prime time, they may be forced to make a move. I don't believe Sanchez has a chance to play well on Monday both because of the great defense he's facing and because he doesn't have any great receivers to throw to; the best of which (Santonio Holmes) will miss the game with a leg injury. Unless the Texans offense turns the ball over 3+ times, I don't see a way for the Jets to score enough to win this game.
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