Sunday, December 9, 2012

Gameday Deciding Factors: Jets at Jaguars


In the midst of an easy final stretch of the schedule, the New York Jets are facing their usual late-season do-or-die situation. A win improves them to 6-7 and maintains their minuscule hope in attaining a Wildcard beth for at least one more week. A loss could mean a plethora of depth chart adjustments next week.

The good thing is, the Jets are in Jacksonville to face an absolutely awful Jaguars squad. The Jags are 2-10 and decimated with injuries, missing running backs Maurice Jones-Dew and Rashad Jennings as well as receiver Cecil Shorts. (photo: Mark Kortum, Flickr)


Leash length. Jets coach Rex Ryan opted to go back to quarterback Mark Sanchez this week despite benching Sanchez last Sunday after a three-pick first half. Greg McElroy came in against the Arizona Cardinals and was serviceable, leading New York down the field on his first drive and throwing the would-be game-winning touchdown. It was the first time Sanchez has ever been benched, but will it be the last? He's supposedly on a short leash and could get pulled again if he has multiple screw-ups.

Run commitment. The Jets showed a little more commitment to the run last week, attempting 43 rushes and possessing the ball for more than 38 minutes. Gang Green will look to do the same against a Jaguars defense that is giving up 144 yards a game on the ground. Bilal Powell has been getting more early carries lately, with Shonn Greene being the grind-it-out-in-the-second-half back. That'll be a good formula against the Jags.

Henne and the Jets. One thing the Jaguars have going for them is their quarterback's history against Gang Green. Chad Henne, a former starter for the Miami Dolphins, is 3-1 against the Jets, throwing six touchdowns to just one interception in that span. That doesn't mean a whole lot now given his decimated skill position corps in Jacksonville, but it's worth noting that he has some confidence working against a Rex Ryan-defense.

Cumberland audition. As usual, Sanchez will have very little to work with in terms of pass-catchers. Tight end Dustin Keller, whose season has been plagued with injuries this season, will sit out again Sunday, making room for backup Jeff Cumberland, who hasn't been bad at all regularly filling in. Cumberland caught a touchdown pass last week and scored against the Houston Texans earlier in the season subbing for Keller. Cumberland, like Keller, is a free agent after the season, so he's trying to make the best of his audition time. Look for Sanchez to connect with him early and often.
A week in Jets posts at

Week 14 AFC East game picks: Jets at Jaguars

Henne and the Jets: Jag QB has good history vs. NYJ

Rex says owner didn't pressure him on QB decision

Around-the-Web AFC East power rankings: Week 14

Rex sticking with Sanchez shouldn't surprise anyone

Braylon Edwards' Jet-friendly day doesn't end well

Keller's ankle injury not as bad originally reported

Rex's non-decision on QB probably favors Sanchez

Ex-Jet Kerry Rhodes has field day vs. former team

Rex noncommittal on Sanchez, McElroy next week