DENVER - SEPTEMBER 19: US Military jets fly over the stadium as the national anthem is observed as the Seattle Seahawks face the Denver Broncos at INVESCO Field at Mile High on September 19 2010 in Denver Colorado. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
*** Upon Further Review was mainly a solo effort this week. It is a bit longer than usual but I strove to be thorough. As per usual, Brian has a thing or two to add ***
The (2-3) Denver Broncos return home to INVESCO Field to play host to the soaring New York Jets on Orange Sunday. Following a two-game road trip in which the club finished 1-1 and was decimated by injuries, the Broncos will try to regroup against another high powered running team. The (4-1) Jets have gone supersonic over the last month since their opening-night loss to Baltimore, but they will have a short week and an altitude change to deal with, as well as the Broncos Orange home advantage.
Weather and Conditions
Sunday's contest will be aired by KCNC-TV (CBS 4) at 2:05 pm MDT. Greg Gumbel will do the play-by-play and Dan Dierdorf will subject us to his rudimentary vocabulary by attempting the color commentary. The regional broadcast in your area can be found here.
The forecast for Sunday's game is pretty optimal for October in Colorado. To find the current update, go here.
|Precip: 10%Spectator Index: 10|
Wind Impact: LIGHT
W at 7.0 mph
The game will take place on an ideal playing area. INVESCO Field has a 100% natural grass surface made up of four different Kentucky Bluegrasses. The terrain is stabilized by a network of polypropylene fibers sewn vertically into the sod every 3/4" and is one of the best playing surfaces in Pro Sports.
The Broncos are hardly the only team in the league with players in Sick Bay. The Jets have lost a few players for the season too. QB Kevin O'Connell went on IR with a Torn Labrum. DE Ropati Pitoitua went to IR on Aug 26th, with a Left Achilles Tear and DT Kris Jenkins' year ended on Sep 15th with a Torn Left ACL. The Jets found a Plan B when the Baltimore Ravens exposed Trevor Pryce to the waiver wire. Rex Ryan quickly signed his former player and the league's #4 active sack leader to a contract October 1st. Pryce had somewhere between 15 and 20 snaps versus Buffalo and should be at full speed by Sunday.
All World CB Darrelle Revis has been fighting a Hamstring problem that's limited his playing time nearly as much as Knowshon Moreno's. He was injured in the first half against New England in Week 2 on a touchdown catch by Randy Moss. He was held out Weeks 3 and 4, then re-aggravated the injury Monday night. LB Calvin Pace returned Monday after missing four games with a broken foot. Both players will make the plane trip and be game time decisions.
The Jets Offense is ranked 4th in scoring with 27 points per game. They are 15th in Total yards with 337.2 per game. In passing yards, they are 25th (172.0) and the Jets have the best rushing unit in the league, averaging 165.2 yards a game. The Line has given up 7 Sacks, but the Offense hasn't turned the ball over. The Jets are 37 % on 3rd down conversions.
2nd year quarterback Mark Sanchez leads the Jets Offense. After throwing 20 picks last season, Sanchez has yet to throw an Interception in 2010. He has passed for 902 yards with a 55.1% completion rate, 8 TD's and a QB rating of 91.7. Veteran Mark Brunell is his backup and mentor.
Shonn Greene began the season as the Jets starting Running Back, but "Fumble-itis" afflicted him and he lost carries to LaDainian Tomlinson. Shonn has rushed 62 times for 280 yards, a 4.5 average, and 1 TD. LDT has 76 carries for 435 yards, a 5.7 average, and 3 TD's. Rookie Joe McKnight is the 3rd option. Tony Richardson and John Conner are the Fullbacks.
Dustin Keller is Mark Sanchez's favorite target in 2010. The 3rd-year Tight End has 21 catches for 268 yards, 12.8 yard average and 5 TD's. Ben Hartsock is the little known, but excellent blocking backup Tight End.
The Wide Receivers for the Jets are Braylon Edwards, Jerricho Cotchery, Santonio Holmes and Brad Smith. Edwards has 17 receptions for 297 yards, a 17.5 average and 3 TD's. Cotchery has caught the ball 16 times for 136 yards, an 8.5 yard average and 1 TD. Santonio Holmes, who just returned from a four game suspension, had 3 catches for 41 yards on Monday night. Smith has been used in the "Wildcat" and end-arounds. He has rushed 10 times for 83 yards and threw his first career touchdown pass in Week 4 against the Dolphins. Ironically, Miami got beat by their own pet scheme.
The New York Jets Offensive Line consists of LT D'Brickashaw Ferguson, LG Matt Slauson, C Nick Mangold, RG Brandon Moore and RT Damien Woody. Wayne Hunter is the backup Tackle and Robert Turner is the inside substitute. Slauson began the season as the starting left guard after beating out Vladimir Ducasse during the summer and he has the confidence of coach Rex Ryan. Mangold is a two time Pro Bowler and Ferguson joined him on last year's team. Damien Woody has 144 starts and 2 Championship Rings in his resume.
Defensively, the Jets are giving up 16.2 points per game (6th). They give up an 11th best 313.6 Total yards and 234.6 (23rd) yards through the air. The Broncos will face another team stout against the run. The Jets rank 4th, allowing an average of 79 yards a game. They have sacked opposing quarterbacks 12 times. They also have a +11 Turnover Ratio with 5 Interceptions and 6 Fumble Recoveries. The Jets are allowing opponents to convert 30/70 - 42 % on 3rd downs.
The Starters on the D-Line are NT Sione Pouha (21 Tackles) and DE's Shaun Ellis (18 Tackles,3.5 Sacks, 1 FF) and Mike DeVito (21 Tackles). Vernon Gholston and newly acquired Trevor Pryce fill in the rotation.
The Jets have very good Linebackers. Bart Scott (21 Tackles, 1 FF) and David Harris (32 Tackles) clog up the inside and Bryan Thomas (18 Tackles, 1 SK, 1 FF) and Jason Taylor (16 Tackles, 3 SK, 2 FF) take turns pressuring opposing quarterbacks. Calvin Pace has been injured, but returned to get 1.5 Sacks on Brett Favre on Monday night. The Jets' best pass-rusher still needs to get his timing down.
The Corners are Darrelle Revis (4 Tackles, 1 Pass Defensed), Antonio Cromartie (8 PD, 2 INT), Rookie Kyle Wilson (16 Tackles, 4 PD), Dwight Lowery (1 SK, 1 PD and 1 INT for a TD) and Drew Coleman (10 Tackles, 1 INT, 3 PD). Due to injury (Revis) and inexperience (Wilson), Lowery and Coleman will get plenty of playing time against the Broncos. Antonio Cromartie's debut as a Jet (Week 1 vs. Baltimore) was spotty, at best. Like Kyle Wilson, he was beaten several times by Anquan Boldin as the Ravens usually avoided Revis.
The Safeties are SS Jim Leonhard (28 Tackles, 2 PD) and FS Brodney Pool (10 Tackles, 1 INT, 3 PD). James Ihedigbo (8 Tackles, 1 SK) and Eric Smith (23 Tackles) back them up.
Nick Folk does the kicking chores for New York. He is 12 for 14 for 81.4% with a long of 61 yards. He has made all 13 Extra points. Miami blocked a 61-yard attempt in week 3. Tanner Purdum is the Long Snapping Specialist and Punter Steve Weatherford is the Holder. Folk's kickoffs land around the 5 yard line. He has only kicked one touch-back.
Steve Weatherford has punted 27 times with an average of 44.9 yards, a net of 39.7 yards. His longest punt was 61 yards and he has placed 12 inside the 20, five inside the 10 with one touch-back.
The Coverage Units are allowing 22.2 yards on kickoffs and 10.8 yards on punts. They haven't allowed a Touchdown and have faced Brandon Tate, C.J. Spiller, Roscoe Parrish, Percy Harvin and Greg Camarillo.
Jim Leonhard has returned 9 punts, Fair Caught another 9 and has an average return of 13.1 yards. Kyle Wilson has returned 8 punts, averaging 7.5 yards. On kickoffs, Brad Smith has returned 13 an average of 32.2 yards, with his longest being 86 yards.
In WEEK 1, the Baltimore Ravens showed the New York Jets' their own rendition of "Hard Knocks" with a 10-9 victory in the New $1.6 Billion Meadowlands Stadium. Wide receiver Anquan Boldin, Joe Flacco's newest toy, messed with the Jets defense for seven catches and 110 yards. Todd Heap added 6 catches for 72 yards. The Ravens' outplayed their former Defensive Coordinator's team, allowing 176 Total yards and holding the Jets to 1 for 11 on third downs. They limited New York to six first downs and kept them out of the end zone.
Boldin gained 65 of his yards on two passes against first-round draft pick Kyle Wilson. Baltimore rushed for only 49 yards, but they held the ball for nearly 39 minutes. The Jets ran for a total of 116 yards, with Ladainian Tomlinson contributing 62 on 11 carries. The Jets contributed to their own destruction by drawing 14 penalties for 125 yards.
New York had a 3-1 edge in the turnover department, but could only muster up 3 short Field Goals from kicker Nick Folk. Willis McGahee, who had a fumble earlier in the game, scored from the 1 with six seconds left in the 1st half.
New York sacked Flacco on Baltimore's first offensive play, forcing a fumble and the Jets converted it into 3 points. Antonio Cromartie picked off a Flacco sideline pass at the New York 3, managed to stay in-bounds and ran it back 66-yards to the Baltimore 31. But the Jets couldn't turn it into points.
Shonn Greene fumbled and Baltimore took it down to the Jets 28 yard line before NY stopped them. But Braylon Edwards ran into kicker Billy Cundiff on a Field Goal attempt and Baltimore continued on for McGahee's 1-yard TD plunge.
New York wasn't any better in the second half. A Nick Folk 48-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter made it 10-9, but the Jets wasted a 22-yard punt return by Jim Leonhard to the Baltimore 35.
Early in the 4th quarter, Jets punter Sean Weatherford pinned the Ravens at their own 2 yard line and the New York defense held them to a 3 and out. Jim Leonhard returned the ensuing punt 22 yards to the Baltimore 35, but the Jets could only get a FG out of it. That was New York's last chance, as the two teams battled for field position for the rest of the game.
The Jets turned it around in WEEK 2, beating the New England Patriots 28-14. Mark Sanchez went 21-30 for 220 yards and threw touchdowns to Braylon Edwards, Jerricho Cotchery and Dustin Keller. Tom Brady threw for 248 yards himself with two touchdowns and two picks. The Jets held the Pat's to a mere 52 yards rushing while gaining 136 yards on the ground themselves. CB Darrelle Revis injured his left Hamstring in the 2nd quarter after Randy Moss beat him single-handedly with a 34-yard (one-handed) touchdown catch.
The Jets couldn't pass a lick in the first quarter, but the Patriots used up the clock on two long drives in the first half. The Patriots took the early lead in the 2nd quarter as Tom Brady completed a 6-yard touchdown pass to Wes Welker. The Jets responded with Sanchez completing a 10-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Braylon Edwards.
The Patriots scored again with Brady finding wide receiver Randy Moss on a 34-yard touchdown pass. The Jets narrowed the lead with a pair of field goals, one in the 2nd and another in the 3rd quarter. The Jets took the lead when Sanchez completed a 2-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Jerricho Cotchery with 38 seconds left in the third quarter, and Edwards caught the 2-point conversion toss to give the Jets their first lead of the game at 21-14. The Jets extended their lead in the fourth quarter when Sanchez making a 1-yard touchdown pass to tight end Dustin Keller. Keller had seven catches for a career-high 115 yards. LaDainian Tomlinson had a nice 31-yard run during the drive, and it looks like he hasn't lost a step.
The Jets then ran the ball out to seal the victory.
The Jets visited Miami for a Sunday night game in WEEK 3. Mark Sanchez hooked up with his Tight End Dustin Keller for six catches, 98 yards and two Touchdowns in the 1st half of a 31-23 win against the Dolphins. the pair were unstoppable early, but got shutout in the second half. Braylon Edwards sat out the first quarter for disciplinary reasons, but his 67-yard catch-and-run in the third quarter put the Jets ahead to stay. LaDainian Tomlinson had a third consecutive solid game and got his first TD as a Jet.
Unfortunately, the pass defense was horrible. Chad Henne threw for 363 yards and Brandon Marshall (10-for-166 and a TD) repeatedly beat CB Antonio Cromartie. The saving grace was Drew Coleman's end-zone interception on Miami's last play, securing the victory. The Jets Run Defense wasn't quite as stout as the games with New England and Baltimore. Ronnie Brown averaged 4.9 yards per carry, but they did a much better job of stifling the Wildcat formation.
LaDainian Tomlinson rushed for 133 yards and two touchdowns to lead the New York Jets to a 38-14 victory over the Buffalo Bills in WEEK 4. Tight End Dustin Keller had a pair of touchdown catches 1:33 apart and the Jets ran their winning streak to three, all against their divisional opponents. LDT is showing that he's still got something to prove, passing Tony Dorsett for #7 on the All-time NFL rushing list. Not that the Bills' beat-up sieve could be recognized as a run defense.
The Jets had a total 273 yards rushing and controlled the clock over 40 minutes. They scored on their first three possessions of the third quarter, putting the game away less than four minutes after halftime. Shonn Greene added 117 yards rushing against the porous Buffalo defense. Brad Smith, out of the wildcat formation, added a 3-yard touchdown pass to Keller, who has five TDs this season.
The 0-4 Bills had 223 yards total on offense and quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick finished with a team-best 74 yards rushing. Fitzpatrick threw touchdown passes to David Martin and Steve Johnson to account for the Bills scoring. It was an ugly game to watch for Bills fans as they failed to get a first down on eight of 13 drives, and went 0 of 10 on third down conversions. The rebuilding Buffalo Bills appear to be in a downward spiral.
Dwight Lowery intercepted Brett Favre for a 26 yard touchdown with a minute and a half left in the game, and the Jets overcame their former quarterback's record 500th TD pass to beat the Minnesota Vikings 29-20 on a soggy Monday night. Favre also eclipsed the 70,000 career passing yards mark and passed Warren Moon for the most fumbles in league history. Nick Folk kicked five field goals for the Jets, two after fumbles by Favre.
Favre threw three touchdowns, including two to Percy Harvin. The 2nd one brought the Vikings within two points with 3:09 left in the game. Randy Moss finished with four catches for 81 yards, including a 37-yard touchdown late in
the third quarter over Antonio Cromartie. Moss was defended mostly by Cromartie despite the return of Darrelle Revis from a strained left hamstring.
Five minutes later, Favre hit Harvin for a 34-yard touchdown to make it 15-13. But the 2-point conversion was intercepted by Cromartie. Shonn Greene’s 23-yard touchdown run with 4:30 left in the game gave the Jets a 22-13 lead that appeared to seal the victory, but Favre still had plenty of time. New York’s offense struggled for the first time since Week 1, failing to get anything more than field goals, until late. Sanchez was 21 of 44 for 191 yards, and still hasn’t thrown an interception this season, although he came close a few times.
The problem was the play calling. Offensive Coordinator Brian Schottenheimer went away from the run and tried to get in to a shoot out with Favre. The plot let the Vikings back into the game and it nearly cost New York the win. Santonio Holmes played his first game with the Jets after being suspended the first four for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy. He finished with three catches for 41 yards. LaDainian Tomlinson had another solid game for the Jets with 94 yards rushing on 20 carries. Adrian Peterson rushed for 88 yards on 18 carries for Minnesota.
The Broncos will host the Jets on Sunday in just the second meeting between the two clubs in Denver since INVESCO Field at Mile High opened in 2001. The Broncos pitched a 27-0 shutout in 2005 in their lone previous meeting with New York at the Broncos’ current stadium. Denver holds a record of 9-7 all-time at home against the Jets, as well as a 16-14-1 record overall in the regular season against the club. In the last match-up between the teams, the Broncos prevailed 34-17 at the Meadowlands on Nov. 30, 2008. The last Denver Home loss against the Jets was on October 3, 1999 with a score of 21-13. The Broncos have won the last two meetings.
Vegas has the Jets favored by 3
The View from the Cheap Seats -- by Brian Shrout
My keys to soaring over the Jets.
Stop the run (a la what we did against Indianapolis and Tennessee) and force Sanchez to beat us. This will place most of the burden on the secondary to keep his completion rate at or below the 55% he has so far, and keep the passes in front of them.
Avoid ending up in 3rd & long scenarios. New York is allowing 43% conversions of 3rd downs. The Broncos need to take advantage of that.
Pass early, pass often.
Score in the 1st quarter (preferably more than once) NY has not allowed any 1st quarter points so far this year while scoring 20 themselves -- they've led at the end of 1 in every game except the NE game, and there the score was 0-0.
Exploit the shallow kickoffs from Nick Folk. Five extra yards each possession can add up to points for the Broncos.
THE BOTTOM LINE
The Broncos will attack with their 2nd leading Aerial assault to invade a statistically poor Jets pass defense. They could be facing a unit missing their best pass rusher (Pace) and their best Cornerback (Revis). The Jets will employ the "Hit them in the Face" method that is a Rex Ryan trademark. They will run with LDT and they will run with Shonn Greene. The Broncos will try to stop the run and force Mark Sanchez into a mistake or two. Offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer might be licking his chops with Santonio Holmes, Jerricho Cotchery and Braylon Edwards. He calls the plays for the Jets and you know Schottenheimer's don't fare too well against the Broncos.
The Jets will be facing a short week and traveling after hosting Minnesota on Monday night, so fatigue already was a potential factor heading into Sunday. That possible problem could be made even worse by the fact that the Jets will be visiting Denver (2-3) for the first time since 2005. Infrequent visitors to the Mile High City often have problems maintaining their stamina in the rarefied air. Oh yeah, don't forget the 2-hour Time Zone change. That sounds like a prescription for J-E-T Lag.