Florham Park, NJ: After laying a goose egg in Denver last Sunday, the New York Jets look to get back in the win column with a new quarterback under center. With Josh McCown done for the season due to a broken hand, Bryce Petty will begin his second – and perhaps final – audition as franchise quarterback for the green and white. He’ll have to face the 15th-best defense in the league on the road.
Sunday marks the sixth time in franchise history the Jets will be playing at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, formerly known as the Louisiana Superdome. The Jets will look to do something they haven’t done since November 4, 2001 – win a game down south in The Big Easy.
Last time these teams faced, Chris Ivory rushed for 139 yards on 18 carries to power New York past the Saints at MetLife Stadium in 2013.
Here’s what you should watch for::
WHEN: Sunday, December 17, 2017 – 1:00 PM
WHERE: Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans, LA.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR:
Bryce Petty & The Heartbreakers: This will be Petty’s first start of 2017 after starting the final four games of 2016 and appearing in six in relief of Ryan Fitzpatrick. Similar to last year, this will be Petty’s shot to prove to ownership he is ‘THE’ guy for the franchise moving forward. With an anticipated high draft pick coming as well as Christian Hackenberg lined up behind him on the depth chart, this may very well be Petty’s final chance to prove his worth. The opportunity has never been wider for the Baylor product. Let’s see how he handles the Saints defense that is 21st in the league in third down conversions on defense, allowing opposing offenses to cash in nearly 40 percent of the time.
Balanced Attack: If anyone knows the turf and stadium down in New Orleans its current Jets offensive coordinator John Morton. Morton will have to design a balanced offensive attack against the Saints defense if New York wants any shot in this upcoming tilt. The Jets failed to get anything going last week in Denver, mustering up only 100 yards of total offense. They need a quick start, big gains on the ground from Matt Forte, Bilal Powell and Eli McGuire and big plays from Petty to Robby Anderson and Jermaine Kearse. Remember, the longer the Jets offense is on the field means Drew Brees will be resting on the bench. This will be a huge opportunity for the Jets to get their ground game going strong against a defense that is 31st in the league vs. the run, allowing almost five yards per clip.
The Big Breesy: Drew Brees is Drew Brees and he will continue to be Drew Brees until he retires. Follow? The Jets defense has a huge test against one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever put on a jersey. The green and white are not a strong road team and haven’t been in the Todd Bowles era. You thought last week in Denver was tough? New York has their work cut out for them against an offense averaging over 30 points per game on their home turf. Overall, the Jets are 3-2 in New Orleans with their last victory coming in 2001. It’s been a while but the keys to success on the defensive side of the ball revolves around the pass rush pressuring Brees and the rookie safeties that will be defending against the air attack.
Stop the Alvin-Ingram Two-Headed Monster: Before you think I’m crazy, I combined the two names purposely. The Jets allowed the Broncos to rush for 2.4 yards per carry – a very strong number. This week holds a different challenge, a more difficult one. The Saints hold the fourth-best rushing attack in the league with a two-headed monster in Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara. They rank sixth and seventh respectively in scrimmage yards. It will be important for the Jets to make the Saints one-dimensional. Stopping Brees is hard but if you have to deal with Brees, Ingram and Kamara, well, good luck.
X-Factor: Bryce Petty and Jordan Jenkins
Alright, Bryce. Let’s see what you can do. This will arguably be Petty’s toughest task in his brief NFL career: a road game against a playoff team in New Orleans. If he performs well, that may silence his critics (for a little). Jordan Jenkins has been an absolute monster on defense for this team this year and needs to continue his stretch against Brees and Co. Expect Jenkins to do his best to stop the run and get in the face of the legendary signal caller.
Prediction: Saints 37-13
This won’t be pretty. I won’t sugarcoat it. Petty will have a tough time getting the passing game going, especially if Forte, Powell and McGuire can’t get the ball rolling on the ground against the 31st-ranked rush defense. The Jets defense, which has looked broken the past three weeks, will have an even tougher time against the Brees and Michael Thomas connection as well as Ingram and Kamara. New Orleans has too many weapons. Jets inch closer to a Top 8 draft pick. Happy?
Joe Barone is a staff writer for JetsInsider.com. He can be reached on Twitter (@28JoeBarone) or via email (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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