New York Jets Flight Plan: Baltimore Ravens

New York, on the 21st anniversary of 9/11, is expected to be an even more emotionally charged environment than usual. The stadium is expected to be electric and passionate as the hard-nosed Baltimore Ravens come to town.

The Ravens are currently 6.5 point favorites over Gang Green. It’s a well-assembled and talented roster put together by one of the NFL’s most cohesive and well-run front offices.

Offensive threats

lamar jackson is the obvious first name that comes to mind when thinking of the Ravens offense. The dynamic quarterback has set a Week 1 deadline for a contract extension, but there’s virtually no chance he’ll stay out of the game. Jackson is the most dangerous quarterback in the league: just as deadly with his legs as with his arm. The former NFL MVP only played once against the Jets, where he threw for 212 yards and 5 touchdowns. He scrambled for an additional 86 yards on the ground.

Although Baltimore’s offense poses no major wide-receiving threat, the Jets will have to find an answer for the star tight end Mark Andrews. The Jets have struggled season after season to deal effectively with opposing tight ends. Andrews was a Pro Bowler and All-Pro selection last season, having posted 1,361 receiving yards. He had the most yards of any tight end and finished 5th in the league.

Defensive issues

Despite Jets pursuit, Baltimore landed young star safe Marcus Williams during the period of free agency. Williams posted an 84.3 PFF coverage rating in his final season with the Saints, as well as a 50% completion rating. He has unique center field abilities that can cause trouble for anyone starting at quarterback for the Jets, whether Zach Wilson is back in time or Joe Flacco gets the call. Williams will start next to rookie draft pick Kyle Hamiltonwhich solidifies a secondary that also has two All Pro selections in Marcus Peters and Marlon Humphrey starting at cornerback.

Long story short, this Raven’s secondary is really really really good.

Keys to Victory

When I was playing in college, before every game we would sit down as a team and discuss what offense and defense needed to focus on to secure the win. We do the same in these flight plans.

Defensively, Gang Green needs to contain Jackson. With limited options for pass catchers, Baltimore will rely heavily on the running game, both from their back and their starting quarterback. This match is won and lost with the performance of front 7. Recharged, healthy and with depth, the trenches must be a violent place next Sunday. Keep Jackson in the pocket and hit him when he gets close. EDGEs should contain their content and the interior should fill in their gaps. If all goes well, CJ Mosely should have a game of 16 tackles.

Offensively, keep possession of the ball. Especially with a recently injured Wilson or an aging Flacco, the Jets can’t afford to get into a shootout with the Ravens. There are plenty of new and young plays on this New York roster and we still don’t know exactly how they will react when the balls start flying. There will always be growing pains no one expects and plenty of “Welcome to the NFL” moments to go through. The name of the game is possession time.

Oh, and score points. I heard it helps.

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