Sunday, October 2, 2011

Jets face tall order tonight in Baltimore

The New York Jets will show what kind of team they have tonight when they visit the Ravens in Baltimore for a Sunday Night Football showdown. The Jets (2-1) look to bounce back from a loss in Oakland last weekend, though the Ravens aren’t exactly the easiest team to do it against. Baltimore (2-1) is coming off a blowout victory over the Rams, and the Ravens also took it to the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 1, though Baltimore did lose to Tennesseee Week 2.

“If we’re going to win this game, we better be at our best in all phases because if you’re not, you’re going to get beat,” Jets coach Rex Ryan told the media Friday. “What they did to Pittsburgh, they absolutely smashed Pittsburgh in all phases. We don’t want that to happen to us and we better be there.”

Ray Rice will be a handful

The Jets boast the 31st-ranked run defense in the league, thanks largely in part to getting destroyed on the ground by Oakland’s Darren McFadden last weekend. McFadden rushed for 171 yards and two touchdowns.

Rice, the Ravens’ primary back, is dangerous everywhere. He can run inside, has great outside speed and can kill teams if he gets the ball in space on short passes.

“The thing about Ray is he's a multi-talented,” Ryan said. “He's not just a great back when he's running with it, but he's a great receiver as well. There are times you can say if there's one thing he doesn't do well, and that's probably pass-protect, but all he does is turn around.

“If he gets beaten, he turns around and takes the ball, so that presents its own problems as well. But he's a great talent — 'Double R.' He's an inside runner, an outside runner, and he can catch the heck out of the football. He's a great back, a Pro Bowl back.”

The Jets did hold Rice to 1.4 yards a carry in their season-opening loss to the Ravens last year.

Holmes looks for continued success vs. Ravens

Santonio Holmes has seven touchdowns in his last eight games against the Ravens, which were all during Holmes’ time with the Steelers. Holmes had touchdowns in each of Pittsburgh’s three games during the 2008 season (playoffs included) when Ryan was Baltimore’s defensive coordinator.

“He’s been a Raven killer. I just go back to my nightmares, when I wake up in the middle of the night sweating, it’s because I think of 2008; the three losses in 2008. He had a hand in all of them,” Ravens defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano said. “They were all extended plays, scramble plays, where [Steelers quarterback] Ben [Roethlisberger] found him in the open and he created touchdowns. So, he’s a huge threat. We have to make sure we take care of him.”

Holmes hopes to improve on his so-so numbers of 10 catches for 131 yards and a touchdown so far this season. He caught only one pass last week.

Sanchez aware of Reed

Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez is up against a stout defense containing two of the best players ever in safety Ed Reed and linebacker Ray Lewis.

“I wish I had another set of eyes,” Sanchez, who addressed the New York media Wednesday, joked about going up against Reed. "He’s one of those guys who’s that good. He’s so smart and savvy in the back end there. He just kind of plays centerfield. Sure, he plays his scheme and knows his assignment, but at the same time, he has a real good feel for things.

“Same thing with Ray Lewis and [Terrell] Suggs and [Jarret] Johnson, all those guys. They’re some of the best players we’ll play all year. It’s going to be a good challenge for us and I’m excited about it.”

Sanchez should look to tight end Dustin Keller, the player he has arguably the most chemistry with on the team, as an outlet on mismatches.

“I think he’s one of the premier pass-catching tight ends in the National Football League,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh told the Baltimore media this week. “You know, you’re talking about a handful of guys, and he’s right there with them. He’s only gotten better. He’s a threat, especially on the crossing routes and downfield. He does it all, really. So, he’s going to be a big factor.”

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